While a board and management take on the lion's share of responsibility for maintaining a building or community association, it certainly helps to have some extra hands on deck to keep track of smaller details. While by no means mandatory, the forming of standing committees to oversee certain constant aspects of association business (landscaping or events, for example) or ad hoc committees focused on shepherding through one single project (like a facade renovation) can go a long way toward alleviating the burden for the board or management. As a bonus, temporary participation in a committee can whet one's appetite for getting involved in a deeper sense, whether it be on a permanent committee or as a member of the board.
Of course, committees are only effective if they're run efficiently and given proper oversight. Property managers tend to have a measured view of what makes for a successful committee, and can usually provide the guidance necessary to ensure that committees have the support and mandate to complete their tasks successfully.
Valuable at Any Size
Admittedly, a smaller association might struggle just to fill the seats on its board, and as such, staffing committees may be pretty far down the list of things to worry about. But regardless of size, whenever possible, committees can provide a solid value-add to an association, especially if board members are effectively working a second (unpaid) job trying to keep the association running smoothly.
“In my experience, committees are incredibly helpful to an association,” says Jacqueline Abraham, a regional director with Lieberman Management Services in Chicago. “Creating ad hoc committees to assist the board with projects such as revising rules and regulations, or remodeling the common spaces, are invaluable. There is a great deal of planning involved with certain projects that can be a challenge for board members to undertake in addition to their regular duties and personal obligations. Committee members act in an advisory capacity to do the leg work to gather information and present it to the board to assist with decision-making. Typically committees are comprised of community members that have a specific interest or background that is relevant to the project at hand. For example, a resident interior designer might volunteer to be part of a committee for a lobby redesign.”
“Committees, regardless of the size of the condo or cooperative organization, can be a great asset to the community,” agrees Karen Jahn, a property manager with Heritage Management Services in Somers, New York. “The committee should be given a specific scope of its project with firm deadlines. The community benefits from a committee with fresh ideas and, if the committee members are well-chosen, possibly some expert advice.”