Building Communities Through Committees

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Creating a Committee

To begin the committee selection process, it is advisable to hold an open meeting describing the types of committees available and their purpose. In order to guide each committee, a board member should hold the committee liaison position - - thus, serving in an advisory role to the committee. It is recommended that the Board promote social events for general membership and to build a sense of neighborhood and community involvement. It is also advisable to focus on the special interests of different age levels, as capturing the interest of one segment of the community often draws others.

Getting Started

Once committees get started on their assignment, one can encourage greater community participation by holding public meetings that are posted well in advance. Encourage volunteers, recognize them and reward them whenever possible. In order to accomplish this task, it will take participation from board members, the manager, and homeowners alike. It will also take some active marketing and promotion by everyone else involved in association affairs. Since a portion of what the association must do every day is viewed by some as negative, there should be a focus on the many positive aspects of living in and being a member of a community association.

When a board has a strong committee structure, it can save the association a wealth of time. Instead of requiring that the board as a whole be an expert on every issue, directors can delegate areas of research and responsibility to appropriate committees. During tenure as a board member, one should expect to serve on at least one committee as well. This is a very important responsibility. Committees do much of the legwork and much of the consensus building that helps a board make good decisions. Remember: C ommittees are time-savers. Board members should not undermine their efforts by insisting on retracing whatever path the committee members took to reach their decision!

Committee Reporting

To help ensure that the board will focus on the result of the committees' efforts (and not on the process by which they reached their conclusion) consider using a basic committee report form. Such a document is easily created and gives the board the information it needs to act on a committee recommendation without a prolonged discussion of the committee's work.

The committee chairperson is usually charged with completing the report form and giving it to the property manager, who then includes it with the agenda packet for the next board meeting. Board members read the report, have the chance to ask any questions before the meeting, and are ready to vote when the item comes up! What a way to spread the workload while accomplishing more than ever!

Source: Association Times
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