The first meeting after election of condominium board officers can be harried. The transition can be very messy. Fortunately, most board members are elected to position on a staggered basis, so that at least two board members have had a year's worth of experience. That's assuming that those older members have not just served as board members in name only.
At this meeting transfer of keys, documents and files is important. But there's more. Ideally, the board members have been voted into office by the unit owners. The board members then decide among themselves who will be president, treasurer, secretary and who will be responsible for specific aspects of the business. Every one should commit to specific tasks based on their skills and capabilities. No one should be allowed to be a member who just attends meetings when they feel like it.
If there is a property manager that works on behalf of the board, that manager should be present at this (and all) meeting. But, it should be made very clear the board is responsible by law for the well-being of the association.
The board members need to agree when and how often they will meet. Because they are typically volunteers they may not be willing to juggle schedules very much but with something like 300 possible hours to choose from, there should be no reason that five people can't come up with 2-3 hours that are acceptable to all. Each one much be ready and willing to shoulder a fair share of the responsibilities that lie ahead, understanding that when they don't others on the board will have to pick up the slack.They're committed to a team effort. It's a team effort all the way.
Ok so the new board is ready to rock 'n' roll….not so fast!
What about understanding of procedures, policies, priorities? Do they understand that they have undertaken a fiduciary responsibility to the association and all the unit owners? Say what?
That's right, for the next 2-3 years (whatever their term) the board members individually and as a whole have a fiduciary responsibility to the association and all the members. They are required to deliver the highest standard of care of the assets of the association, putting aside all personal agendas to work set aside their personal agendas to work on behalf of the whole.Put in every day language the board members are required to work diligently to: :
- Avoid conflicts of interest
- Act in the interest of the entire association rather than their own personal interests
- Provide oversight to assure that all association business is transacted legally
- Make decisions to protect the assets of the corporation on behalf of all unit owners
In this capacity, handling the association's business, it's up to those board members to follow and uphold the Illinois Not for Profit Corporation Law (if applicable), The Illinois Condominium Act, Condo Decs and ByLaws, Rules and Regulations, Policies and Procedures.
OK, so now they have a fair start. What's the responsibility of the unit owners? They don't run the business. While they're not responsible for making decisions, if they are good stewards of their investment they should be paying attention to how those board members perform their duties. They should actively support the efforts of the board and demand that the board function responsibly. They should stay informed so that when it comes time to elect new officers in a year, they can choose new officers responsibly – and, better yet, run for office, taking their turn at the helm.