Read any of the major business publications or websites and you’re bound to find articles on the importance of delegating. It’s one of the most fundamental skills for a successful business owner to have. A simple Internet search finds scores of tips for CEOs and smaller entrepreneurs alike on how to delegate more effectively. Running an association isn’t quite like running a Fortune 500 company, but the concept of delegating tasks works just as well with a board of directors for a homeowners association as it does for a titan of industry or finance.
A Committed Effort
Boards of directors are small teams of volunteers with a lot of work to do. They often need help and that’s where delegating to a committee comes in. A committee is a group of volunteers that focus on a particular issue at hand. They are run as a mini-board, where a chair is elected, topics are discussed and minutes are reported. They take those minutes to the board. How many committees an association has and their responsibilities will vary from property to property, as will the committee size. Most commonly, the larger the association, the more the amount of committees the board will create. Ultimately, it’s the board’s responsibility to create the number and type of committees and help to define their purpose.
Strong, well-organized committees are a boon to a busy board and manager. “We put together a large capital expenditures committee when we were obtaining financing for a roofing project and we needed $600,000 for an expansion on the clubhouse,” says Bill Lopina, principal owner and CEO of Accenture Management Group, LLC in Joliet. “The committee of residents facilitated the design drawings, changes, financing, you name it from top to bottom. Then they brought the recommendations to the board as to what was most effective and most crucial.”
“What kinds of committee an association has depends on their community structure,” says Randy Grimes, director of portfolio management at FirstService Residential in Chicago. “Some larger associations have committees for roof replacement, decorating, architectural review, and a house committee that reviews personnel and rules. There are other smaller committees too, such as welcoming committees that deal more with the community relations of the building.”
Other committees can also include a communications committee that shares news and events with residents, nominating committee that interviews prospective residents, maintenance committee that inspects the property and keeps track of any maintenance and improvements needed, and a neighborhood watch committee that makes sure the property stays safe and protected.