Habitat spoke recently with Don Wilson, president of the Blue Woods Management Group.
Co-op and condo boards have to meet once a month, but people are busy. How do you get everybody in a room together once a month?
In the old days, it was always a big problem because people's schedules conflicted, and it was very hard to get dates that worked for everybody. What we have done over the last few years is we've encouraged all of our boards to pick one day every month to meet, whether it's the first Tuesday of the month or the third Wednesday, and everyone books that date for the balance of the year. And that's the date that board will meet at 6:30 or 7 p.m., whatever time it might be.
No exceptions, unless maybe an occasional holiday sneaks in there, and we need to change it. But by and large it has worked out great. There's always a quorum. If one board member or even two board members can't make the meeting due to a vacation or something, we still send them our Management Report in advance of the meeting.
Describe this report, please.
It's usually more than one page, and it's a financial snapshot of where the corporation or condo association is at that point in time. Then it goes into all of the other projects that are ongoing to let the board know what's been done, what's being worked on, what we're waiting for, and so forth. So even if they're not in attendance, board members know the exact status of all of those things in their building.
If somebody absolutely can't make it – say they're in Turkey – is there any way to patch them in to get them involved in that meeting in real time?
Most of the time if someone can't make it, they will call in and participate in the meeting that way. Very often they call in on a free conference call, or occasionally they'll Skype into the meeting.
Having a set date every month for this meeting is also important to you, as a manager. You want to have the manager in attendance, don't you?
I think it's critical. When we come into a new building, we tell the board up front: "Look, if you're not meeting on a set date, we need to set one because it helps the manager do his job. He knows he needs to get bids by a certain date in order to present them at that meeting, which is going to occur on that set date." Things run a lot smoother. The other thing is that most boards meet in the evening, and they don't want to meet on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday – and neither do managers. So, we're limited to Monday through Thursday – that’s 16 evenings a month.
So in the end, it's all about planning?
It is. Setting that date is critical. And sending out the Management Report to all board members in advance is another critical piece.
Co-op and condo board business broken down into bite-sized bits - 2 stories each week. Read now on all digital devices.
A free digital resource for co-op/condo board directors. Published twice a month. Read now on all digital devices.