Being on a board of a condo or co-op is no picnic. There are tons of decisions to be made, disputes to settle, finances to keep track of and a chance of being sued for a slip-up. So why do so many people decide to serve on a board—some for years at a time? Even though it's easy to lose sight of them under the pressure and responsibility, there are benefits to being on a board.
Even long-serving board members: those individuals who get elected and re-elected term after term and have been in office since the Truman administration—enjoy giving back to their community and protecting their most important investment. There are, however, pros and cons for boards that have several long-term members on board.
Accentuating the Positive
Perhaps the biggest benefit of having a cadre of seasoned board members overseeing one’s condo or co-op community is the fact that they have unparalleled institutional memory. “Veteran board members provide a level of experience and understanding as to the needs, expectations, and limitations of a building,” Seth Kobay, president of Majestic Property Management Corp. in Great Neck, says.
“They typically have a firm understanding of the co-op’s finances, have been through annual budget preparation and have been involved in financial decisions, both large and small. This understanding and knowledge is vital when future discussions of a building’s needs are involved. Long-time board members also understand a building’s infrastructure and the role of building personnel. They are aware of compliance issues and requirements and how this will affect future performance,” Kobay says.
Steve Osman, president and CEO of Metropolitan Pacific Properties, Inc. in Astoria, agrees. “You can't replace that kind of experience. Obviously, the day-to-day experience with the board member, whether refinancing major projects, knowing the constituency and the shareholders in the building is a great help to management.”