Tom Soter in Board Operations on January 4, 2016
Your building is unusual in that you have two shareholders’ meetings a year. How did that come about?
We decided – and this was a very long time ago – that as part of being transparent with shareholders, we should explain the budget, especially any increases. We have what's technically an informational meeting. At that meeting, which is always in the first week of December, we discuss the budget at length. It sometimes can get a little contentious when you raise the maintenance, but if you know why you've done it and you had a good basis for making that decision, then you explain it the best you can. That's why we don't really have a lot of shareholder issues – because we're up front, and if somebody asks a question, we answer it as completely and as honestly as we can.
The worst thing you could ever do – and politicians should realize this, but they still don't – is not understand that the cover-up is a lot worse than the crime. You can't cover up. It's just not good.
It's important to really listen to what the people are saying.
It's extraordinarily important to listen to what people say to you. There is a tremendous free-flow of ideas and I've been very, very lucky to have really good people on the board with me as president over the past, what is it, almost 14 years.
It also helps that we have a great managing agent. Kaled Management is great, but specifically our managing agent, Jodee Sarisky, is fantastic. With our old managing agent we had three-hour board meetings, now they are only an hour.
What do you think is the most challenging aspect of being on the board?
To make decisions that are right for the building. One philosophy of mine – and it should be every board member's – is that you always need to take a step back from your own personal agenda or view, and then you have to to think of the big picture. There are 128 units in this building, and you have to think for 128 instead of 1. That's something that every board member needs to do.
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