Delegate, Delegate, Delegate The Importance of Board Committees

 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  who focus on a particular issue at hand. It is run as a mini-board, where a  chair is elected, topics are discussed and minutes are reported. Committees  then 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 committees  the board will create. Ultimately, it’s the board’s responsibility to decide on the number and type of committees and to define  their purpose.  

 According to Jeff Martin, president of Foreside Real Estate Management Inc. in  Portland, Maine, committee chairs are appointed by the president of the  association. “Committees should be approved and overseen by the board of directors,” Martin said. “It is the board’s responsibility to assign the scope of the work the committee will undertake  and what information the board is requesting from the committee so that the  board can make informed decisions for the community.”  

 In many cases, committees will have a board member assigned to act as a liaison  between the two entities. “I think it’s beneficial to have one member of the board be [on the committee]. He [or she]  doesn't necessarily have to be the head of the committee—but on the committee—just so they can give an idea to the committee as to what the board maybe  expecting, and maybe give an idea of what is typical when you’re dealing in a board-type setting,” Hugh D. Shaffer, CPM, PCAM, CMCA, senior vice president of the Condominium  Division at G & G Management, LLC in Newton, Massachusetts, says.  

 Strong, well-organized committees are a boon to a busy board and manager and  offer residents an opportunity to get involved in their community. Aside from  the usual suspects—budget, landscape and maintenance committees—committees can also include a communications committee that shares news and  events with residents, nominating committee that interviews prospective  residents and a neighborhood watch committee that makes sure the property stays  safe and protected.  

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