Maybe it was a bad day at work, the dog had an accident on the carpet or a disgruntled call was received from the school principal; whatever the reason, there are times when the last thing a condo association board member or resident wants to do is attend a board meeting. Lack of enthusiasm doesn't make these meetings any less crucial and necessary, however, nor does it mean that community members who halfheartedly drag themselves to the common room to conduct association business won't find the energy to squabble, hurl insults, and derail the proceedings once they get there.
That being the case, it often falls to the association manager or the managing agent to keep things civil and the proceedings moving forward. Here are a few ideas to help make meetings as painless and productive as possible.
What Are We Doing Here?
A big first step toward maintaining order and giving structure to any meeting, whether it's a board-only session or an annual gathering of everyone in the building, is to put the meeting's goals and objectives in writing.
“Sometimes meetings run too long or get contentious because the board or manager isn’t prepared properly,” agrees Thomas Chilenski CMCA, president of Cedarcrest Association management in Fairfield. “Maybe one or two board members want to review every possible situation, positive or negative. Sometimes that’s a good thing, but most of the time it’s a waste of time. The most important thing is you must have a solid agenda, and the agenda has to be followed.”
Christopher Murphy, senior association manager for the Jersey City-based MEM Association management , agrees. “Meetings can often get off track when there is not a clear posted agenda for the meeting. A detailed meeting agenda should be posted in advance of the meeting detailing the items that will be discussed,” he says. “Items not included on the agenda should be tabled for later discussion. Additionally, promptly distributing approved meeting minutes of previous meetings can help to prevent redundant issues being brought up.”