The drawbacks of serving on a board are well known. For one thing, it’s a lot of work. Hours of work, of poring over spreadsheets, of talking to property managers and vendors and residents and tenants when you could be watching the big game. And what compensation do you get for all your blood, sweat and tears? Not a penny. Up front, that’s a lousy deal—labor and emotional investment with no reward.
Then there are the social aspects. You’re a trustee on the board, so you have power –or, at least, you’re perceived to have power.
People treat you differently. Some of them recoil like you’re Darth Vader. Others polish your apple, in hopes of future as-yet-unnamed favors or special treatment. And some, upon seeing you in the lobby, innocently retrieving your mail, seize the opportunity to grouse, complain and bellyache over anything and everything that might be wrong with the property –or what they believe is so.
And then there are the risks. While insurance does insulate a board memberfrom most sticky situations, short of fraud or gross negligence, serving as a board member does expose you to litigation more than, say, not serving as a board member would. The fewer subpoenas in your life, the better.
Serving on the board is a difficult job to be sure. And yet people all over New England, in every community association in the region, willingly populate the boards of their HOAs. Why do they do it? Has “The God-father” muscle man Luca Brasi put them up to it, made them an offer they can’t refuse? Are they doing penance, atoning for some fiduciary sin? What possible benefits can there be to taking such a thankless job?