Monthly Archives: August 2011

High Performing Board Practices _ Atlanta Homeowner Association Management


The public debate on boards often focuses on catastrophic failure. In many cases, the boards actually meet the standards and follow the right policies, but were not committed enough and left to ask the right questions.

Exceptional boards center around four key concepts or practices: READ MORE…

From: http://ping.fm/n0MBj

High Performing Board Practices


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The public debate on boards often focuses on catastrophic failure. In many cases, the boards actually meet the standards and follow the right policies, but were not committed enough and left to ask the right questions.

Exceptional boards center around four key concepts or practices:

Strategy
This includes being mission-driven, using strategic thinking, and maintaining of sustainable resources.

Responsibility
This includes having  compliance with integrity, being results-oriented, and promoting a spirit of transparency.

Building relationships
This includes developing a constructive partnership between the home owners and the board, ensuring revitalization, and implementing intentional board practices such as thinking about the board’s size, structure, and meetings.
Dynamic
This includes fostering a culture of openness to ensure that all voices are heard, respective practice when making decisions, and demonstrating continuous learning through guidance, education beyond the boardroom and self-evaluation of the board as a whole and the members of the Board.

The true essence of an exceptional board is in the way members of the board and homeowners are interrelated to create something much richer and more powerful than anyone can create one.

When thinking about each other’s participation differently in the meeting, you want to make sure you understand why. It is not just because of better conversations; it is because they have better information and ask better questions which lead to more robust discussions, more authentic debates, and better decision making.

By strengthening our Boards, we will have stronger organizations, and in time much stronger communities. HOA Board leadership is critical to serving the public good and the impact of our State and Country.

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Smooth Budget Planning for Your Association


Your association has a budget? If so, how is it prepared? Is it even followed? Here, we offer tips for creating a budget process that works well for most associations.  Learn the basics first . Begin the budget process by … Continue reading

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No Quorum = No Vote = No Foul !


Quorum may be the most important term in Robert’s Rules. It means the minimum number of members of a group or organization who must be in attendance at a meeting in order to conduct any official business. No matter how … Continue reading

CAUGHT IN THE ACT: ENFORCING PROTECTIVE COVENANTS WHILE THE VIOLATION OCCURS _ Atlanta HOA and Condo Association Reviews


One of the greatest challenges for a community association board of directors is enforcing the community’s protective covenants. Protective covenants are a wonderful tool for communities that wish to maintain an established quality and character. To help maintain this quality and character, an association’s declaration of protective covenants typically contains a provision requiring property owners to seek and obtain approval from the association’s board of directors or architectural control committee before making any exterior changes to the property. In the event that a property owner makes exterior changes to the property without first seeking and obtaining approval, the protective covenants usually include a number of enforcement tools such as fining, self help and the right to seek a court injunction.
Unfortunately, at some point most associations are faced with a situation where fining and/or self-help just can’t do the trick because the violation is still in progress when discovered. For example, imagine coming home from a long and draining business trip. The only thing on your mind is getting home and relaxing on the front porch and enjoying the familiar sights of your community. As you pull in your driveway you almost collide with the light post when you notice the largest, most horrific structure you have ever seen in your life. As you get out of the car you realize that this monstrosity is a partially-constructed, three-car sheet metal garage located at the edge of the property line and directly facing your porch. You soon learn that the owner failed to submit a property modification request and did not obtain approval before beginning the construction of this garage. You immediately call the president of the board who assures you that a violation letter will be sent demanding that these owners immediately cease and desist all construction and informing them of the violation and imposing a $25 per day fine –of course, the owners will, per the declaration, have 10 days to appeal before the fine actually becomes effective. Click the Link to Read More from Riverside’s Blog…

From: http://ping.fm/wNfeC

Build a Successful Board for Your HOA, POA or Condo Association


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WHO SHOULD BE ON THE BOARD?
The board should be composed of a diverse group of individuals who are interested in working toward the organization’s mission and have the particular skills that will help to contribute to a well-run organization. For instance, you may want to seek out people with financial, marketing, or legal backgrounds. You may want to consider bringing on someone with an entrepreneurial
background, or someone who is proficient with emerging technologies. You may
also want to recruit members who have influence in the community, work at similar types of organizations, or are representative of the community you are serving. Having this collective knowledge from the beginning will help you make informed decisions. You will also find that as your organization matures, your board composition needs may be very different from those of your founding board. The role of the board tends to change over time as the organization
develops and matures. Early in an organization’s life, the primary need for the board may be individuals who are prepared to give a great deal of time and energy. Later, you may find that as paid staff are brought on, the board focuses primarily on the governance functions of the organization and is less involved with the smaller details of bringing the organization up to speed.
HOW BIG SHOULD THE BOARD BE?
Boards can vary in size from three to more than 50 members.  Each state has regulations that determine the minimum size of the board, but the optimum number of people who sit on the board should be determined by the needs of the organization. Assess the list of tasks that the board needs to accomplish and plan your board around the jobs that need to be done. There should be enough meaningful tasks for the board to accomplish without leaving board
members feeling overburdened or uninvolved.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD THE BOARD MEET?
As with the size of your board, the number of board meetings each year should be determined by the work that needs to be accomplished. For logistical and practical reasons, larger boards often meet less frequently, leaving much of the work to the board’s committees.
Regular attendance at board meetings is one of the individual responsibilities of board members. Your organization’s bylaws should include an attendance policy that clearly states the number of meetings that can be missed by an individual board member before he or she is asked to leave the board. Develop an annual schedule of meetings determined a year in advance. Circulate clear and thorough information materials, including an agenda, to all members
two to three weeks before each meeting. Maintain complete and accurate minutes of all meetings, and keep meetings brief and well focused. An organization’s bylaws should also state the number of board members required to constitute a quorum. Without a quorum, the board is unable to conduct its official business.
WHAT KIND OF TERM LIMITS SHOULD BOARD MEMBERS SERVE?
There are no hard-and-fast rules for determining board members’ tenure. Many organizations
do, however, limit members to two consecutive terms and require a hiatus of one year before a
board member may be reappointed. Many organizations also stagger terms of service so that
one-half or one-third of board members are elected every one or two years for terms of two to
six years. Such policies encourage institutional renewal because a board can profit from the
experience of veteran board members while welcoming the fresh perspective that new members
offer. Board members on hiatus can remain active in committee service or serve in an
advisory capacity. Term limits are a painless mechanism for rotating inactive or ineffective
members off the board. These policies should be written into the organization’s bylaws.

Ten Ways for Your Homeowners or Condominium Association to Save Money and Increase Cash Flow � Atlanta Professional Association Management


Money Saving Solutions for Atlanta Homeowners and Condominium Associations

Atlanta, Georgia–If your Atlanta community association is worried about making ends meet in this economy, you are not alone. But a little creativity and hard work can mean the difference between your Association being able to stay within its budget or falling behind in its bills. Here are ten things you can do right now to increase your Atlanta community association’s cash flow…MORE!!!!!

From: http://ping.fm/eyUVH

Achieving Quorum at a Homeowners Meeting


Governance – Meetings

How many times have you tried to hold a formal meeting of the members of your community association, only to find that homeowners not enough attended the meeting or sent on their behalf to meet the quorum requirement to carry held a meeting legally? More often than not, the statutes of the community did not offer alternatives, if a quorum is not reached, so you face to call another meeting and another perhaps even more – in a desperate attempt to elect board members and ratify the decisions taken at previous meetings where a quorum is not reached. On the other hand, maybe his lawyer has reported that the time has attempted the call and met the notification requirements, continue to the agenda with the exception of matters requiring a vote and try again quorum next year.

In the “unofficial” meeting, you can take a straw ballot of those present to fill vacancies on board or let the majority decide to allow existing management to continue its term has expired / renewed until finally met a quorum. However, if you are facing the grim challenge of spending money and time to reconvene the meeting until the magic number present in person or by proxy is reached, perhaps some of the suggestions below will help you go to the top of the first quorum.

  • Vote by ballot or other electronic voting system. (If allowed by you By-Laws)
  • Place signs at each entrance courtyard on the meeting detailing the location and time of the meeting. (Courtesy Officer may be necessary if the community will be abandoned)
  • Hold a raffle to encourage the submission of proxy and the state is not necessary to be present to win
  • Door prize pool from the area requested or Internet merchants
  • Distribute coupons for free services from area retailers
  • Ask a business owner to sponsor the meeting / party
  • Distribute awards (plaques, certificates, plant, gift certificate) to recognize volunteers
  • Invite a speaker of interest – political, police officer, the contractor
  • Conducting the meeting of the celebration of another year of success or another “Birthday of the Association.” The meeting itself becomes accessory to the party to look to the future.
  • Establish annual themes, cities, countries, travel, games
    Provide entertainment like a magician, comedian
    Provide babysitting
    Provide foods (sodas, snacks, sandwiches)
    Expand the meeting to a pool party and barbecue
    Hold a potluck dinner
    Send multiple mailings and reminders – detail the cost of each shipment and a rental hall to promote proxy. presentation – use flyers, postcards, newsletters and bulletin board / mail cluster publications
    Send prepaid postal proxies, including the option for quorum purposes only
    Form of Annual Meeting Committee charged with achieving a quorum
    Have the Annual Meeting of the owners called Committee representatives have not returned
    Hold the meeting in a comfortable / “cool” location or a restaurant? Neighbors Community Club?
    Provide transportation to meeting place outside the site
    Include a serious problem / controversial on the agenda
    Advertise attendees can sign the petition important for City / County / State / Federal Government / Agency / Department / whomever
  • Ask attendees to bring donations for charity (canned goods, clothing)
 
If you implement one or more of the above, you have a better chance of encouraging enough homeowners, whether electronic or on behalf attended the meeting to reach that magic number of quorum. When that happens, as the song says, “Do not worry – be happy.” That achieved a quorum and, hopefully, the meeting passed without any problem, and was a positive experience. Now it’s time to start preparing for next year. . .

Consent Agenda: A Tool for Improving Nonprofit HOA Governance


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More often, members of the nonprofit board are the meetings that are filled with the subjects at least interesting and challenging at least. Many Council members and key executives difficulties to board meetings valuable to the organization and the people present.

A consent agenda can turn a board meeting at a meeting of minds around things that matter most. A consent agenda is a set of items that vote, without discussion, as a package. It differentiates between routine matters that needs no explanation and more complex issues that need examination.

The main purpose of a consent agenda is to liberate the meetings of the board of the administrative details, repetitive conversations, and attention misdirected. The main benefit is better government. Consent Agenda the Board to delve deeper regularly on strategic issues instead of receiving a pass superficial a lot of problems.

Negotiation not Litigation for Your Homeowners, Atlanta Homeowner Association Management


Without a board, a community association would cease to function. Many organizations are challenged to find enough volunteers to serve on the board, as some owners are afraid of being sued or becoming involved in a dispute with a contractor or, more worryingly, a neighbor. Some councils believe they must sue in the beginning instead of trying to solve a problem amicably. I believe that negotiation is the first action that all cards must be considered for resolving disputes association. MORE…

From: http://ping.fm/mrbOV