Most co-op and condo residents have taken part in at least a few annual board elections, and perhaps, they’ve even served on committees, or volunteered on behalf of their building in some other capacity. But those who’ve never taken a serious interest in the administrative aspect of their community may not really understand what it is that each officer on their building's board actually does.
Generally, the board of a condo or co-op building is composed of residents who volunteer their time and talents to help run their community and protect the investment it represents. Their responsibilities range from attending board and resident meetings to maintaining important documents and dealing with building staff, management, and other service providers. Boards are also obliged to respond to changes in the economic environment, the membership base, and the physical and financial status of the building.
Acting objectively on behalf of one’s own home isn’t easy. “It’s important when you are a board member not to get stuck on trivial matters and stick to the big issues,” says one co-op board member, who lives on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. “You also need to think beyond your personal opinion and ask yourself `if this is good for the building, not just you as an individual. You are there representing everyone.”
Boards usually contain four officers—the president, vice president, secretary and treasurer. The president is the chief executive officer and has many responsibilities. Typically, they call the meetings of the membership and of the board, prepare the agendas and lead deliberations.
“The president is basically the person who runs the meeting—they are in charge of opening it and they make the motion to close it,” says Steven Birbach, chairman of Carlton Management in Glenwood Landing and a licensed real estate broker in New York and New Jersey. “They are the person who ultimately signs stock certificates and proprietary leases. Other than that, the job is really to oversee and chair meetings. That’s the most important thing.”