New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Business of Management 2021

HABITAT

ARCHIVE ARTICLE

David Associates: Accountability

THE BIG PICTURE

Shareholders with personal agendas have no place in the boardroom. I’ve had the experience of dealing with such people; I remember one in particular who had a recurring leak that the co-op repaired several times. His opinion was that the roof needed to be replaced. He shared that thought with other shareholders, and that led to his being elected to the board.

BE SMART

There are many priorities that each shareholder does not necessarily know about. While they may be aware of what’s happening in the building, they may not realize how those jobs are actually planned. This shareholder in particular was hell-bent on having the roof replaced. It was explained to him many times that such work would be expensive to all the shareholders and that other projects took priority.

With a few board meetings under his belt, the shareholder gradually realized how difficult it was to make decisions about where to spend the co-op’s money. After six or seven months on the board, he began to realize that other things did take priority: elevators, boilers, and compliance with local laws. At that point, his opinion changed. Unfortunately, his neighbors were not happy with this development, and he needed to explain why the roof was not being replaced. So this is my advice to any shareholder who looks to become a board member because of a personal agenda: reserve that personal issue for a while, until you’re able to understand what really takes priority in the building. The board’s job is to do what’s best for the entire building – not just for the apartment an individual shareholder may own.

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