It's Good to Be the President (Sometimes)

It’s not a thankless job, necessarily—every once in a while residents will express their gratitude, if the elevator ride is sufficiently awkward—but it is a moneyless one. It’s also a hefty part-time job at best, and can at times take upwards of 20 hours a week to do. And forget about taking a vacation.

So what—other than masochistic tendencies and/or megalomania—possesses people to serve as board presidents?  What exactly do these selfless toilers do, to distinguish themselves from the other board members anyway?  What makes good presidents good—and bad ones bad?  And why, if the job is really so terrible, do people serve as presidents for so long?

The Motives

There are many reasons shareholders seek the presidency of their board.  Some are eager to serve, others are eager to lead, and still more do it because someone has to and no one else will.

Donna Klein, president of 314 West 56th Street Owners Corp. in Manhattan, assumed the presidency last October.  She felt that her real estate background—she was the executive director of the New York Association of Realty Managers (NYARM) for 18 years, among other things—would be an asset on the board.

“Also, my home is my largest investment, and I wanted to keep an eye on it,” she says.


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  • As a fellow president, I can relate to the difficulties of being president. Thank you for your insights on learning the process. One of the most difficult tasks is to learn to delegate responsibilities and keep participation from others up. When it comes to committees, what is your opinion on board members wishing to participate yet have their apartments up for sale and no longer reside in the building? Isn't this a conflict of interest and if so, would it be a board decision to not allow them on such a committee or a building vote?
  • Where can I find a job description for president under NY corporate business law?