Filling a Vacant Seat on Your Association Board?
1. What do your documents say?You’ll be looking for three sections in your association’s Bylaws. These are ‘Terms of Office’, ‘Nominations’, and ‘Vacancies’. These three sections draw out the protocol for filling a vacant seat on the association board, starting from the beginning. Sometimes, it is difficult to decide on where the replacement member’s term begins. This document helps determine if it is the vacated member’s lifetime term or until the next scheduled election.
2. Take your time.This process is just like hiring someone at a new company. The new member should have some previous experience on a board since they are filling a vacancy, and this transition should not be rushed. Despite the short amount of hindrance this will cause until a replacement is found, it will be worth it. Finding a new member without proper vetting can lead to another turnover and be hurtful to the board’s esteem.
As always, transparency is important, especially when it comes to discussing a new vacancy. This should be communicated to the community members as soon as possible. If there is pushback or unrest from community input, you can look at your documents to see if the board can appoint someone themselves, considering it’s a short-term appointment. However, communicating this vacancy could be to your benefit because it can let the another board member to nominate another great candidate or candidates, making the process even easier.
3. Carefully plan your communication.
4. Set expectations.Having a set list of requirements can be extremely helpful when evaluating a board member vacancy. You can come up with this on your own or with the help of your team, but it should include the qualities you are looking for in a replacement. For example, think about the person who is leaving. Did they have specific positive traits that you would like to see in the next candidate? Are there qualifications the entire board has that should be considered? While a candidate may not check all of the boxes, use your best judgement to appoint someone who will have the same dedication to serve and sense of fiduciary responsibilities as the other members. Save yourself the headache and appoint someone who fits the bill based on their qualifications, and not who they are connected with.
5. Select the best person.Select a community member who has a genuine interest in serving or brings a new skill set or fresh perspective to the board. Reaching out to members who ran for the position in the past could give you the comfort of knowing they have a genuine interest in the job.
Simply put, you may have a few potential candidates in mind who have a sincere interest in serving the residents of the board. Consider all matters and see what each person could bring to the board specifically. A good sign is if someone has previously ran for the position, as this shows a genuine interest in the job.
While a vacancy on your association board can create challenges, follow the steps above to yield a quality appointee.