May 2017 - The Sharper Focus - HOA Board Edition
Thank you for reading our newsletter. The goal of this newsletter is to touch on general industry news and helpful topics that may help you in your role as an HOA board member.
Every Association is different in their type, size, scope, and how things are organized and established via the Governing Documents. There are, however, a number of universal topics common to all Associations. We hope you will find this newsletter a valuable source of information!
Sharper Scramble -
Inaugural Appreciation Golf Tournament
Mark your calendars and join us for the first of what we hope will be an annual appreciation golf tournament -
Friday, July 28th
Boulder Pointe Golf Club - Elko
Best of all,
there's NO cost to you!
Registration starts at noon with a shotgun start at 1 p.m. Golf awards and celebration dinner to follow around 6 p.m. If you aren't a golfer, you are welcome to join us for dinner.
As a Board member and valued client, we thought a day of fun with the Sharper family would be a wonderful way to say, "thank you."
If you would like to join us, please contact Matt Froehlich by calling (952) 224-4777 or by emailing email@example.com
Registration deadline is June 30th.
Board Tip: "Tabling" an Agenda Item
The spectrum of how thoroughly a Board of Directors follows parliamentary procedure and applies Robert's Rules of Order at their meeting varies greatly. Most associations are pretty informal and use the typical "motion, second, discussion, majority vote" on decision making matters. That might be the extent of it. Some are quite lax and don't even officially call a meeting to order. Alternatively, a few take it to the extreme and want to emulate England's House of Commons.
There are many, many layers of structure and subtleties to Robert's Rules of Order. After all, it's a 669-page book! The reality is most Boards really only need to apply about 5% of what the book has to offer. One of the important components, however, is tabling motions. It is important to know the difference between "tabling" and "postponing" resolutions or motions a Board may be facing. "Let's table that item" can casually be heard and agreed on at meetings, but there is a significance and protocol that should be followed to be operating "correctly." If an item is placed on the Agenda under New Business, it should be acted on. If the Board is not ready to do so, they have a couple of options.
1. Table. If the Board is not ready to vote - be it a lack of information, a sensitive topic people need more time to process or deliberate, or other urgent matters came up - a member may make a motion to "table" the item. The motion needs a second. It is NOT debatable/open to discussion. And then it needs a majority to carry the motion. The important point to remember; however, is that it must be re-addressed at the NEXT official meeting.
2. Postpone. If the Board is not ready to vote and if there is uncertainty on when it will be ready, then a motion should be made to "postpone until ______ (fill in the blank)." Herein lies the major difference between tabling and postponing; postponing can be defined, but tabling is at the next meeting. Postponing requires motion, second, it CAN be debated/discussed, and a majority vote to carry.
Regardless of how strictly your Board follows Robert's Rules, the distinction between tabling and postponing is an important one. Think of it this way, if a homeowner sees an Agenda listing a specific New Business item up for resolution, your Minutes should accurately reflect the result, or deferred result (tables or postponed) so they can be assured you're acting within procedure. It is also a great reminder for how to manage your "Old Business" vs "New Business" to ensure you are moving things along and bringing matters to conclusion.
Overcoming Decision Making Paralysis
There is nothing more frustrating for members, managers, and even homeowners than a Board that is collectively stuck in the mud, endlessly spinning their wheels deeper in the rut of indecision. Rest assured, it is a common condition. If it is not a recognized medical disorder, it should be!
Perhaps it is a large construction project, a delicate homeowner situation needing resolution, a complicated budget crisis, or maybe a vendor change. Many things are thrown at Boards - and frequently it is difficult to get to a point where you are ready for the all-important motion to vote.
There are three things that may help you as an individual Board member, and as a collective group.
1.) Accept that you will never have 100% satisfaction from stakeholders. Being on the Board means making tough decisions that are best for the Association. Don't let chronically complaining Cathy dictate construction projects. A needed special assessment can't be derailed because it will break broke Bob's bank account. Accept that designer Debbie doesn't do blue and won't like those new shutters. The sooner you can accept that unanimous acceptance is rare, if not impossible, the sooner you can move on to make the necessary decisions.
2.) Realize that Board consensus can be difficult to achieve. And accept that it is OK. Naturally, the more complicated the topic, the more likely you are to have varying opinions. It is good to hash it out by considering all angles, but at eventually you've got to call the vote. This brings us to our final point.
3.) Have a good facilitator in the group. There is nothing more important to group dynamics than for someone to take on the role of task master. Perhaps it is the President acting as the Chairman. Sometimes it is the Community Manager, a neutral party, who helps facilitate the meeting along. Whomever it may be, a group needs this person! Their primary skill should be recognizing when a debate is over, or just plain unproductive, and then calling the subject to a vote for resolution. All too often decisions get "tabled" for the next meeting. If it gets "tabled" once - you may as well just move on entirely. You're probably stuck on the two points mentioned above and will always be there.
Consider these remedies for decision making paralysis and hopefully you can be a more productive Board that makes decisions and moves forward with your Association's projects and initiatives!
Construction Chat - Concrete Conundrum
There's no doubt that one of the more expensive common components to repair/replace is concrete. Sidewalks, patios, steps, footings, driveways, and driveway aprons - concrete is everywhere! If you have ever bid out concrete work, you know it is surprisingly expensive to replace. However, what other options exist for repair?
If you have concrete that is cracked, you can try caulking. It's tough, however, to get caulk into most concrete cracks. If you have chipped off corners, you can try patching, but it never looks quite right as you can never "match" concrete. If you have significant spalling or scaling going on, such as a garage floor, you can try skim coating. Repairing deteriorated or compromised concrete is a tough endeavor.
One concrete issue that can be effectively addressed, however, is the leveling of good concrete. If the concrete structure is sound, corrective measures are worth it. Sometimes the issue is a sunken sidewalk section, creating a trip hazard. Or perhaps you have a patio slab that is sloping towards the building and directing water to places it shouldn't go. Mudjacking is one concrete corrective measure that can be worth it.
Mudjacking is a way to lift and stabilize existing concrete. It is typically done by drilling 1.5" holes in the existing concrete slab and then hydraulically pumping a grout material under the concrete slab. The grout then spreads out and fills cavities and voids thus putting the slab back into its original position. Sometimes it can be done from the side and no drilling into the concrete is necessary.
If you're looking at doing concrete work and the structure of the concrete seems sound, mudjacking can be a worthy investment to prolong life and provide corrective issues with concrete.
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Need Help Renting and Managing a Townhome or Condo?
Think Advantage Home
A sister company to Sharper Management, Advantage Home helps homeowners and investors manage their single-family residences.
Since your Association is already affiliated with Sharper Management, renting your home through Advantage would have extra benefits you wouldn't find in another property management company. Those benefits include:
- A thorough understanding of Associations
- Information sharing regarding governing documents, rules, and regulations is efficient between Sharper and Advantage Home - Advantage is literally right down the hall
- The Sharper Management maintenance staff is already familiar with your Association's property
- Our emergency response team is fast and effective
If you or someone you know is interested in renting their townhome or condominium, have them contact firstname.lastname@example.org.