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DO WE REALLY NEED COMMITTEES?

Joanne L. Willoughby, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, Association Services of Florida


Print ArticlePrintEmail ArticleEmailEDITED Fri, 19 February 2010 01:04:50 EST

Definition of a Committee: A committee addresses specific issues of the association and then provides recommendations to the Board of Directors.

There are two (2) types of committees: standing and ad hoc.
Standing Committees exist indefinitely or until the Board decides their purpose is no longer needed. Standing committees have ongoing and often repetitive tasks to accomplish. These committees are established as a requirement of the Association Documents
Ad-Hoc Committees are established and appointed by the Board of Directors for a specific purpose or a planned project. These committees are usually terminated after the task is accomplished. Ad-hoc committees are formed by a board resolution. This resolution will state the committee’s powers and responsibilities.  
A sample draft for a Policy Resolution to appoint committees to the board can be obtained from your association manager.
The powers of the committee are limited to research, investigation, obtaining proposals, and submitting a written recommendation to the Board of Directors.  Normally only the ACC/ARB (Architectural Control) committee is allowed to make decisions for the Board. All other committees are in an advisory capacity only. The Board is not obligated to take the committees recommendations.
Committees contribute to building a sense of neighborhood and community involvement. It is also advisable to focus on the special interest of the different age levels, as this draws various segments of the community together.
Committees are often overlooked assets to your community. Besides benefitting the board by assisting in the work load, committees are an excellent training ground for future board members.
No matter which type of committee is developed, it is important for the Board to establish operating guidelines, which include an outline of their responsibilities. It is better for the Board to be pro-active and put together a well formed plan rather than be reactive and put something together on the fly. The outline should read as follows:
  • Purpose and parameters of the committee
  • Structure, how many persons and who
  • Tasks and Responsibilities
  • Goals and Objectives
  • Reporting structure
  • Meeting Schedule
  • Budget, if applicable.
 
Some examples of committees are:
Document review and revisions                                  ACC/ARB                              Education
Research and development                             Maintenance Oversight                       Financial/Cost Control
Social and activities                                        Security           /Safety                         Communication
Media (newsletter, website and flyers)                       Landscape                               Welcoming/Hospitality
Rules and Regulations                                                Grievance/fining                     Nominations for Board
Neighborhood events/watch                           Pool/Clubhouse                                   Community Relations                        
It is usually more effective if the Board or the Board President chooses the Committee Chairperson and the chairperson appoints who will sit on the committee with them. In this case the committee is more apt to be productive and to make decisions together.
The choice of the chairperson is crucial; the correct chairperson will produce a successful committee, thru their leadership.
The strength of an association lies in the effective volunteer efforts of its members. Ultimately the Board is responsible for its volunteers but in most cases if a mistake is made the committee members when appointed through a resolution will be covered under the Association’s Directors and Officers Insurance Policy.
With ongoing support and follow through, a properly structured committee process can be beneficial to the board of directors, the manager and members of the community at large.
 Association Services of Florida provides community association management and developer services throughout Florida. Should you desire additional information about committees and/or board orientation workshops please contact Joanne at jwilloughby@associaflorida.com or (800) 714-3514.

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