On a base level, character traits reflect whether a person is ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ Likewise, a board is comprised of a group of individuals who collectively become one ‘character’ charged with steering their community in the right direction. Determining whether a board is good or bad is based on its approach to communication, management and conflict resolution.
The Good Stuff...
“Boards are populated by owners or shareholders, and they are just people who happen to live in the building,” says Ronald Steinvurzel, principal at the White Plains-based Steinvurzel & Levy Law Group. “They could be lawyers, accountants, teachers, elderly retirees or doctors. So the demographic on the board is the demographic of the neighborhood. Board members are either part of the solution or part of the problem.”
As a result of respective demographics and regions, how well a board is equipped to handle the business of their own property involves plenty of variables. On average, the best boards are open-minded team players with strong communication skills. (For more on this point, see our article on ‘The Best Boards: Going Above and Beyond’ elsewhere in this edition of The Cooperator. -Ed.)
“Successful functional boards need persons who work in tandem, work well as a team, are well-organized and have different areas of expertise to offer,” says Robert Silversmith of the New York City-based Silversmith & Associates Law Firm, PLLC. “Boards should openly and amicably communicate with all board members as a collective group.”
Whether a board member has tenure or is new to the position, self-edification is an essential ingredient for consistent success. Senior board members can be a great asset to new board members in this respect, but all board members must understand the governing documents of their particular community, as well as take an active interest in staying informed about legal and legislative issues that might come to bear against their building or association.