Managing Staff in a Co-op or a Condo Life Under the Big Top

 If the board of directors is the Barnum & Bailey of the cooperative or condominium, the manager is the ringmaster. The  board finances the show and books the talent, but all eyes are on the manager.  

 “Everything falls on you,” says Don Skupinsky, managing agent for several buildings in New York for Orsid  Realty. “You are the guy, the gatekeeper. You’re running the show. And in order to do that there are lots of factors involved  that might keep the building from moving smoothly.”  

 For “factors,” read “people.” Managers learn early in their careers that keeping buildings running smoothly  is mostly about managing people—particularly staff, because especially in financially-trying times, which  require maintenance increases and assessments, owners want to feel the service  in their building is good and employees do their best with whatever resources  the community has.  

 New Cop on the Beat

 Hopeful that they will bring better skills and new ideas to the community,  residents are usually happy to see a brand new manager. “The building staff,” however, observes Skupinsky, “is always very nervous because I’m coming in as there as their boss. They never know what is going to happen.”  

 The new relationship is likely to be challenging for the manager as well. “Often the staff hasn’t been watched for many years and have gotten set in their ways,” explains Skupinsky. “And those ways may not be acceptable.”  


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  • Our Managing Agent, while very factually knowledgeable on various building related matters, seems to have little interest in management of staff. He does not seem to be aggressive when it comes to assignment of responsibilities through the super, hiring of new personnel when needed. All instructions related to staff matters seem to originate from the board. Regretably, your article does not stress true top-down management. Who is a "manager", for instance. Are you referring to the Managing Agent? Your article is not clear. This does not help matters.
  • Awesome article by Steve, right on the money! I really regret not listening to him and voting for the gym in the buliding I live in. Many people have called me a long haired, greying moron....I am starting to believe them!