The sudden departure of one of your board members is never an ideal situation for your homeowners’ association (HOA). It could affect productivity, create confusion and it can worry residents. But sometimes, your HOA simply can’t avoid it.
There is no reason a vacancy on your board needs to create problems if the remaining board members manage the situation correctly. With the right approach, your HOA can quickly find a suitable replacement with minimal disruption. Here we provide six steps that can make the process run more smoothly.
1.  Check Nevada statutes and your association’s governing documents.
Do you need to hold an election or can your board appoint someone? How long will the new person be able to serve? State laws and governing documents will answer these questions and define how you should go about filling a vacancy.
Unless your governing documents require a vote by homeowners, Nevada law (NRS 116.3103(2)(c)) allows an HOA board to appoint someone if a position becomes vacant. The appointed person can serve for the remainder of the previous member’s term or until the next regularly scheduled election, whichever comes first. (To learn how to hold an election, read more here.)
2.  Don’t settle.
You are on the board because you want to make a difference and you take your responsibilities seriously. Make sure the prospective member understands the fiduciary responsibilities that come with the position and is as dedicated to service as you and the other board members are. Give yourself an opportunity to vet candidates so you appoint the right person.
3.  Consider how to inform residents.
In most cases, it is best to be candid about a board member’s departure. If getting input from residents will create issues that are not in the HOA’s best interest, you may want to exercise some discretion. On the other hand, a dedicated candidate may decide to step up to the challenge or be nominated by another resident if you let the community know about the vacancy. Gauge the potential impact before you decide which way to go.
4.  Take your time—but not too much time.
No doubt, you are feeling some pressure to fill the vacancy, especially if you have an upcoming meeting. Still, you shouldn’t rush to appoint someone. First of all, you want to make sure you are appointing the right person. In addition, a sudden appointment can cause problems within your community. Residents may feel blindsided and resent being left out of the decision-making process.
In some cases, it may be necessary to appoint a member quickly for a short term (less than four months). This can actually be a positive step since it enables you to try out a potential new member prior to the next election. However, make sure to check your HOA’s governing documents first since they will dictate the process for appointing members and may limit short-term appointments.
5.  Make a list of candidate requirements.
What makes someone an ideal board member? That depends on your HOA and the current needs of the board. Making a list of candidate requirements will help streamline your process. That way you can efficiently gauge each prospect’s qualifications based on a consistent set of criteria.
6.  Select the best person for the job.
Don’t make the common mistake of appointing someone to the board just because you are friends. Selecting an HOA board member who has a genuine interest in serving or who brings a new skill set to the mix is a much better reason. Consider someone who ran for the position and lost the election by a narrow margin or who is often volunteering to help out the community. With this kind of appointee, you are assured of working with someone who truly cares and who will be supported by a large number of residents.
Although an HOA board vacancy can feel like it creates some complications, following the steps we’ve outlined here can help you navigate your way through the process in a way that yields a quality appointee and a happy community.

For more strategies on how to fill an HOA board vacancy, contact FirstService Residential, the leading community management company in Nevada.
Monday October 10, 2016