It is common knowledge that homeowner associations have a board of directors, but the exact roles and responsibilities of the board are often misunderstood. Simply put, the board is responsible for running the association, occasionally with the assistance of an HOA management company. While the board may consist of 3-7 members as a whole, typically only 3-4 of those members will hold offices. Each of these officers has their own job to do and responsibilities to the community. Today, we’re hoping to shed some more light on each of these roles, how they relate to each other, and how they serve their community.
The president of an organization is often its “face”. They are expected to have the final say in most decisions and are generally responsible for any actions taken. However, that does not meant they do everything alone. In community and homeowners associations, effective presidents most of their time acting as facilitators and communicators among the other officers. This means they need excellent communication, leadership, and management skills. It is their job to ensure all members of the board have an opportunity to weigh-in and that decisions are always made with the best interests of the community. The president should never act on their own, and always supports his or her board.
The HOA board president takes on many administrative duties such as preparing meeting agendas and presiding over meetings while being sure the agenda is followed. Additionally, they should sign all contracts and other legal documents pertaining to the association, and co-sign all checks alongside the treasurer.
The primary role of the HOA board vice-president is to support the president and stand-in when they are unable to attend meetings or fulfill certain duties. While not always an essential position, a vice-president is a huge asset to boards that have them.
On many boards, the vice-president is delegated some specific task by the president that isn’t specifically covered by another officer. For example, they may be responsible for securing bids for maintenance projects or act as a liaison with the management company. If you choose to organize your board into committees, the vice-president might also serve as the chair or representative of the president to one or more of these committees.
In small communities, the role of the vice-president may seem redundant. However, larger boards and communities will appreciate having the position on their boards. Having an extra hand to fill in when needed is extremely important when there is lots to do and not enough time to do it. An effective vice-president is flexible. Much like the president, they should be a strong communicator and able to manage multiple projects at once, but they are also ready to pick up slack as soon as they are needed.
The HOA board secretary is more than just someone who takes minutes and delivers notice of meetings. They are also responsible for all association records such as homeowner information and maintenance history. Many associations are required by their governing documents to make these documents available to homeowners upon request. An effective secretary should be well-organized and able to quickly produce any documents required as soon as they are requested. Additionally, the secretary works closely with the president to develop meeting agendas. Most secretaries also write and send the neighborhood newsletter to keep the company up to date on happenings and general association information.
Treasurers handle all monies of the association, both incoming and outgoing. They are responsible for collecting dues and issuing payments to vendors as needed and approved by the board. At the end of the fiscal year, they should schedule and assist with an audit of the association books with a CPA as well as preparing the annual budget and income and expenditure report for the rest of the board. The treasurer will work closely with the management company for accounting services and financial reports.
The responsibility of the treasurer should not be taken lightly. Poor management of association funds could create distrust and conflict within the community. Therefore, the treasurer should be well organized, trustworthy, and responsible.
Board Education to Better Serve Your Community
Understanding how you fit into your HOA board and what you are responsible for as an officer goes a long way toward having a strong association and vibrant community. Many HOA boards choose to pursue continuing education to improve their effectiveness. Often, this sort of board education is provided by HOA management companies like Cedar Management Group. Beyond education, management companies also offer a number of other services to the community, including handling maintenance requests and financial services. If your community could benefit from this kind of support, consider contacting Cedar Management Group online or by phone at (877) 252-3327.