Condominium boards often run better with the help of committees. These committees can reduce the amount of work board members have to do themselves, get more residents involved in their community and ensure that specific activities are adequately managed. Examples of some typical committees are maintenance, architectural, social and grievance. When committees perform well, they can be very effective at getting specific tasks accomplished. On the other hand, a dysfunctional committee can quickly create problems for everyone in your community.
If you want to make sure your board committees are functioning as well as possible and doing the job they were created to do, follow these simple tips.
- Clarify committee responsibilities.
First and foremost, committees need to understand exactly what their purpose is. You can avoid confusion by spelling out the committee’s roles, specifying deadlines and requiring ongoing progress reports. Also be sure that your board doesn’t make contradicting requests.
- Educate members about different types of committees.
Many residents don’t understand that there are different types of committees, each with a different level of authority. Explaining these differences can reduce the likelihood that members will try to exert more power than they should.
The three types of committees consist of:
- Administrative committees, which are usually permanent. The roles and authority of these types of committees are specified within the condominium’s governing documents.
- Standing advisory committees, which are supervised by the board and act as board advisors. The board president or the board as a whole creates these committees for a specific, ongoing purpose.
- Ad hoc advisory committees, which are temporary. These are created by the board to manage a specific, short-term activity.
- Specify term limits.
Limiting committee terms to one year can prevent any one member from having too much influence. It’s also a good idea for the board president or the board as a whole to be empowered to appoint committee members so that they can easily remove problem members. This will need to be specified in your governing documents.
- Appoint board members to serve on committees.
If your governing documents allow it, have the board president appoint board members to committees. However, try not to have more than three board members serving on committees at any one time.
- Create accountability.
Have your committees keep written minutes that they must share with the board. This helps to keep the board aware of committee activities, establishes a record of the headway the committee is making and lets the board know if the committee is veering off course.
- Shake things up with new blood.
Recruiting new people to serve on committees is an important way to bring in some fresh ideas. Approach residents who seem eager to help the community or who have special expertise or a passion that is aligned with a particular committee purpose. Use your regular communication channels to announce committee opportunities (condo newsletter, website, emails, etc.).
- Make a big deal about committee members’ accomplishments.
A little gratitude can go a long way, so be sure to thank committee members publicly. Not only will your appreciation encourage members to continue working hard, it will also serve to inspire other residents to volunteer.
- Review committee policies and structures regularly.
Your committees may need some revamping as your community evolves. For example, you may find that a particular committee is no longer necessary or that you could use a new committee. Look over policies and structures at least once a year to keep your committees relevant.
A good condominium management company can review the effectiveness of your existing committees and make recommendations for improving their functionality. Find out more by contacting FirstService Residential
, Alberta’s leading condominium management company.