Board Resource Guide: Serving on the Board: What It's Really Like A Tell-All Tale

As any co-op or condo board member knows, serving on the board carries with it a responsibility to fellow residents and shareholders to make decisions in the best interest of the building. They don't leave their role as board members at the door after a meeting, and this can present a problem if neighbors pick inappropriate times to discuss building matters. Board members can end up devoting a great deal of their personal time to the position, essentially working for free. At the same time, protecting one's investment firsthand can be a rewarding experience for some. Maintaining a careful balance between the positive and negative aspects, and working in the interest of the co-op or condo is a key component of being an effective board member.

When Your Time Becomes Theirs

"It really depends on the building. I basically found that with the building that I owned in, which was a 10-unit, self managed co-op, any problems were handled basically by me," says Gene Keyser, who served as a member and as president of his Brooklyn co-op's board.

"During emergencies, it cut into work and personal time. About 30 to 40 percent of my personal time was devoted to waiting for contractors, interviewing contractors or meeting with other board members," says Keyser, who was the board president for four years, and currently remains a consultant to the board. "It was like having a job."

For Bob Friedrich, president of Glen Oaks Village in Queens, being president of the board means he deals with issues facing the largest garden apartment co-op in New York City. The community has 134 two- and three-story buildings with 3,000 units, approximately 10,000 residents, and an annual budget of $23 million.

"I devote a minimum of 40 hours per week to [board duties], more than my paying job," says Friedrich, who has been president for 10 years and on the board for 15 years. An accountant by trade, Friedrich is glad to have both the ability and time to devote to his various responsibilities.

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10 Comments

  • What is the duties of the finance committee? I like yor article as I am a newly board of director and would value your aanswer.
  • ManhattanCoopPresident on Monday, September 01, 2008 10:25 PM
    A shareholder can't get their apt sold in this bad mkt and they complained we are known as a no building. No pied a terre, no live/work, rental fee surcharge, etc. THerefore, we asked all shareholders to voice their opinions of each topic. The results are 56% for these policies.Does this constitute the board having to incorporate their views? In addition, they all said they wanted to be on the board to evaluate buyer packages only. Hence, this difficult seller, would now have all shareholders evaluating their buyer. THis shareholder is selling, does not live in the building, vacated their apt and want sto participate on the board to vote in a buyer. I am concerned legally for the board .How can it be possible to have board members participate in this capacity? Isn't is a conflict of interest to have 2 shareholders that are selling their apts on the board only to act in a capacity of approving buyer packages (each would represent their interest when their apt comes up for review)? Is there a way to enforce board members to not be invovled with application packages if they are selling their apt (conflict of interest)?
  • PLEASE ANSWER BACK WHEN ASKED A QUESTION IT'S SO IMPORTANT TO REPLY TO SHAREHOLDER
  • PLEASE NOTE: The "comments" feature of The Cooperator website is not intended as a means of asking specific legal or procedural questions -- it is meant as a forum where readers can discuss article-related issues among themselves. If you have a legal question, or a question about practices in your building, DO NOT POST IT AS A COMMENT AND EXPECT A RESPONSE. Rather, e-mail it to our editorial department directly and we will include it in the Legal Q&A section of our publication. Contact information for our editors can be found in our masthead above.
  • live on an island in hallandale ,fla.board members have boats so they take the only 6 available boating moorings for themselves.they have the spots for 6-15years and they keep the price low like 120.00 a year to moor your boat.what about the other 30 unit owners-1st come 1st serve rule?self dealing and mismanagement
  • What is wrong with this picture when the shareholder minutes of Board meetings do not agree with the reply you get from the board on the same subject?
  • Please, can someone please tell me, is it appropriate for the Condo Board President to 1st make the following statement to a fellow Board member in front of the other Board members: " you should not complain because you guys got the best deal in the whole building, I know because I saw the paper work." and then to make a statement in front of another unit owner about a financial discrepancy of an amenity we own and state it was paid for by "them" but we will be receiving a bill soon as well? Is that even legal?
  • As a board secy, does he/she provide the minute to each board member?, as well as retaining the original minuite in an official book book of record, and where can i find official rules pretaining to minute, and who get copies.
  • Is it common for the owner and a staff member of a condo's management company to serve on the board of directors?
  • can New Board ignore "House Rules" that exist as of prior date?