Shortening the Board Member Learning Curve

For those who live in community associations, board membership should be viewed in the same vein as a civic duty.  An effective board of directors is essential for the financial and administrative wherewithal and stability of every community association, so all unit owners who are able should volunteer to serve at least one term to contribute to their community’s overall success.

Some association members have the mistaken perception that the responsibilities of serving as a director are too complex and demanding for their capabilities and skill sets.  While it is a serious commitment in terms of time and attention, board membership should not be viewed as being too daunting of an undertaking for the average unit owner.

The key to success for practically every board member lies in their use of the most effective professional and educational resources that are available.  Of course, this should begin with relying on only the most experienced professionals such as attorneys, property managers, accountants, insurers, etc., but that is just the start.

The Florida Legislature, in its recognition of the importance for board members to become educated and gain access to vital informational resources, enacted a law several years ago requiring that new board members become certified within 90 days of their taking office.  The law establishes that they may do so by attending an educational course that has been certified by the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation, such as the board member certification seminars that are offered by our firm on a regular basis, or by signing an affidavit certifying that they have read the respective Florida Statutes, along with their association’s declaration, articles of incorporation, bylaws, and rules and regulations.

RBlanch seminar 1-17-11 photo 1Needless to say, the educational seminars are by far the superior option for board members to effectively gain a true understanding for everything that the position entails.  They cover all of the basics of community association governance and the laws that are involved, and they also touch on many of the most common problem areas that boards typically encounter.

In addition to attending a certification seminar, board members also have countless online resources that are replete with all of the most vital information for associations.  The Community Associations Institute, which is the largest organization representing community associations in the world, offers a great deal of helpful articles and guides at www.caionline.org.  Also, this blog is one of the leading sources for information for community associations in the state, and we encourage association members to enter their email address in the subscription box at the top right in order to automatically receive all of our future articles.

To stay abreast of new laws and concerns that affect a wide-range of community associations, board members should also attend expos and events that are aimed at community associations and their members, and they should read publications such as Florida Community Association Journal and others.

A wise move for many of those who are considering board service is to first begin by taking part in their association’s meetings and perhaps serving on one of its committees before moving on to seeking election for a board seat.

By serving on their association’s board of directors, association members are answering the call of service to their community and their fellow neighbors.  With the help of all of the most effective resources that are available to directors, they can do their part to help ensure the long-term financial and administrative wellbeing of their community.