The Benefits of Being on the Board Pressure and the Perks

Being on a board of a condo or co-op is no picnic. There are tons of decisions to be made, disputes to settle, finances to keep track of and a chance of being sued for a slip-up. So why do so many people decide to serve on a board—some for years at a time? Even though it's easy to lose sight of them under the pressure and responsibility, there are benefits to being on a board.

Blame the Board

Let's face it, being on the board can be a tough, thankless job. If anything isn't going the way someone thinks it should, it's easy to just blame the people who are perceived to be in charge, even if that isn't really the case.

"You get a lot of negative feedback from the shareholders," says Mona Shyman, vice president of the Federation of New York Housing Cooperatives & Condominiums (FNYHC). "The majority of people who live in a co-op feel that they are renters, that the board is their landlord."

In fact, many shareholders forget that the people who are on the board are subject to all of the same decisions that are made on behalf of the building, continues Shyman. "They feel like the board is raising my maintenance but the people on the board are going to be paying the same thing that you are. So when they are raising it, they are raising it for themselves also."

"It's an unappreciated job," says Manuel Cartagena, board director/president at Gouverneur Gardens Housing Corporation in Manhattan. "No matter how much you try you always have people who will complain about something. There's shouting. People don't always agree."

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6 Comments

  • I am new to being on a board. Not knowing fully what to expect although I knew that it would be a lot of work involved. Having this website is like going to school. It offers so much information. Its the best thinig that I found. This will totally help me in trully understanding all that I will have to go thru and will help me
  • I AM ON THE BOARD AND I HAVE HEARD TWO OF THE BOARD MEMBERS TALK ABOUT ME I REALLY DON'T CARE FOR THEM AT ALL ANYMORE. HOW DO I GO SIT IN A MEETING KNOWING I DON'T CARE FOR THEM BUT I STILL WOULD LIKE TO BE A BOARD MEMBER.
  • I need help, I am new to condo and home ownership, yet I have been the board president for almost a year. Our Board is 2 people, we cant find anyone else to be on the board. Is it still a board with only 2 people?
  • I'm one of four new people on our Board and I find it an excting challenge! Communications is my platform and using my experience in the Media has really come in handy as Secretary. We have another who has 30 years in the Construction field, and one with 10 years of banking experience and we all make a great team. We've worked well together trying to solve problems in the neighborhood. One reason I think we've been successful is that we set aside our personal agendas and took time to know every neighbor and understand what their needs were. I came in with a "servant" mentality and will give my all. If you're in it for any other reason than making a difference in the community, then don't even consider being on the Board, because it's not about *you*, it's about the neighborhood. I won't run again because I think everyone should have an opportunity to serve.
  • I amLois Lamothe formely a Board Member, Vice-President and have been for a year. I have another year to go, but I have been asked to step up to being a President as the other one is leaving, and her term expites in Aug. of 2012. How much more work is it to be a President? I like it ok, but as you say there will always be people who don't agree with you, but they could attend to come to the meetings. Ok, thanks.
  • Is it ethical for a Director and officer of a BOD also be the chairman of the Finance Committee that produces our annual budget?