Is there anybody in this world who likes sitting through meetings? Too often they seem pointless, endless and directionless. But they’re part of co-op and condo life, an important part in fact, so if you’re a board member or property manager, it’s best to accept them and make them as useful and worthwhile as possible.
In general, boards meet once a month to discuss issues like maintenance, building improvements, expenditures, and unit-owner or shareholder concerns. If a meeting is run well, this can all be completed usually within one-and-a-half and three hours. It takes some effort, but by being prepared, working together and sticking to the agenda, meetings can be kept relatively painless.
How well a meeting is run is based, in large part, on the board members themselves. The first key is to be prepared.
Before any meeting, a board member is going to have some paperwork to read through: The agenda, proposals for bids, letters from shareholders, anything that is going to need the board’s approval. In today’s world of e-mails, fax machines and cell phones, communication is easier than ever. So it’s easier to get paperwork to a board members, and for board members to communicate any concerns they have with the management company prior to the meeting.
“Along with the agenda, I make sure everyone has a copy of the minutes from the last meeting,” says Andrew Hoffman of Clarendon Management in Manhattan. “I make sure they have any documentation of things we’re going to be discussing beforehand so that they can thoroughly review any documentation, bids, a letter from a shareholder, things that need approval. Anything that needs to be discussed that is a piece a paper, you don’t hand it out at the meeting for the first time—you give it to the board at least 24 hours before.”