By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
A guide for wannabe HOA community leaders (Satire/Humor)
In mandatory HOA-governed communities across the US, members have the opportunity to elect a board of directors to democratically lead their neighborhoods.
Technically, association members might not be electing their board, particularly if the developer still maintains an autocratic hold over the association, appointing all or a majority of its board members. But let’s ignore that inconvenient fact for the moment, and concentrate today’s blog on member controlled associations.
How to choose the right HOA board candidates
Because most owners and residents with voting interests are apathetic and stupid, it is critical for the incumbent board to choose candidates that are strong leaders who will take full control of the association.
If your association does not have an official nominating committee, meet confidentially with your chosen candidates, and ask them to volunteer when the official election notice is mailed to all members.
It’s a thankless job, so you want candidates who are motivated by power and control rather than the appreciation of malcontents and disgruntled homeowners.
The more aggressive, the better. Choose at least one candidate with a booming loud voice and a penchant for cussing – one who is not afraid to threaten common membership and follow through on those threats.
Look for the HOA neighborhood bully
Lifelong bullies and convicted felons have the perfect personality types for this role, and make excellent Association Presidents.
No wimps allowed. Wimps are losers.
You also want board members who will keep the common membership uninformed and complacent. So avoid blabbermouths and anyone who uses the word “transparency” in his or her candidate information summary.
Likewise, avoid candidates concerned about ethics, unless you want to listen to them preach at every meeting.
Motivated by kickbacks and deception
Opportunists are motivated HOA board members, especially if they can steer the association into inflated contracts with service providers. Some common examples: landscape or interior design services, insurance policies for the association, trash collection, exterior painting or roofing companies, accounting and audit services. These candidates understand the power and value of kickbacks, so that everyone on the board can share in the fringe benefits of taking on this unpaid, volunteer service.
If possible, round up at least one candidate with financial expertise, such as an accountant who is able and willing to concoct convincing annual budgets and financial reports that lead members and buyers to believe the association is in excellent financial health.
The know-nothing, say-nothing, do-nothing personality type
Alternatively, choose a mild-mannered, well-trusted stooge that you can educate in basic bookkeeping, to serve as board Treasurer. Mathematical aptitude and accounting knowledge not required.
No board would be complete without several placeholders. Look for candidates who will defer to the board President or Executive Officers, voting to second and approve every single motion at board meetings. After all, the issues can be discussed by email long before the meeting, and the decisions will have already been made before the formal vote is taken.
A team effort
If possible, avoid contrary board candidates that might challenge the status quo. They are not team players. It is best to present a united front to the few members who regularly attend meetings and serve as association watchdogs.
If member discontent is substantial, you might have to allow a token watchdog candidate or two. It gives the impression that the election process is fair and impartial, even if it’s not. Never fear. The majority of veteran bulldog board members will outvote the watchdogs every time. Besides, a minority board member will probably resign out of sheer frustration. Then you can appoint a more suitable board ally.
You can groom a few well-chosen members for future board service, by appointing them to standing committees such as the Covenant Enforcement committee or the Architectural Control committee. Then when a long-term board member “retires” from service, a new control freak will be ready to step in and fill the void. ♦