New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Business of Management 2021




When Your Co-op / Condo Is in the News It's Critical to Get Your Side Told

Frank Rathbun in Board Operations on July 13, 2012

New York City

Boards in News Must Get Your Side Out
July 13, 2012

Can some residents be unresponsive? Yes! Irresponsible? Absolutely! So why give them added credence by taking the functional equivalent of the Fifth. If you've made sound decisions — if you've acted in good faith to meet your fiduciary responsibility to your residents — you should be able to support your actions with facts and perspective. Critics are more than happy to speak up, in some cases pushing the limits of credibility.
Faced with even the possibility of negative media coverage, you need to plan a thoughtful response:

  • Talk to board members and solicit the advice of your professionals, such as your property manager, management company, attorney and accountants.
  • Convey the decision-making and business principles necessary to govern your community.
  • Explain how your actions support the best interests of the community as a whole.
  • Go into every interview with three to five clear and concise message points that will resonate with a lay audience, and don't hesitate to repeat them

Yes, there are risks. You may be misquoted. Your statements may be taken out of context. And you'll be lucky to get equal space or airtime. But, more often than not, you'll get something. Most importantly, you've tried. If nothing else, in the eyes of your residents and general public — not to mention public policy leaders — you were willing to stand behind your actions, your board and your community.
As Woody Allen once said, half of life is just showing up.

Frank Rathbun is Vice President of Communications and Marketing for the Community Associations Institute. This is adapted from his article at the National Board of Certification for Community Association Managers' (NBC-CAM) "CMCA Corner Blog."

Illustration by Marcellus Hall

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