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Spring Training: Community Policies
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Minnesota Community Living March/April 2012

Spring Training: Community Policies

By Gene Sullivan, New Concepts Management

There’s nothing like the baseball season opener – especially with our very own Minnesota Twins outside in their nearly new ball park. For most of us, we look upon a game that is made to look easy, not only because of the athleticism of the players, but because of the hard and grueling practices that take place before the season starts.

Ask any athlete and they will quickly tell you that a huge reason for their success is reviewing and practicing the fundamentals of the game, so when they are in that tough spot, they are able to quickly react and execute perfectly. It is this same commitment and discipline by both Board and Management that allows all Association Members to see their communities run smoothly.

With so much on a Volunteer Board’s plate, it can be easy to assume that once you have decided upon a course of action for any policy and procedure at the property, one can move on without having to give it much thought again. However, it makes good sense to review your polices on a yearly basis. What would some of those policies be?

  • What work at the property is still under warranty? Identify those items and the contractor(s) who did the work. Do they have an emergency number and contact to call when something fails? This allows you to call upon them to guarantee their work and ensures that those precious dollars of the association go further and on other needed issues.
  • Have all preferred contractors been identified? It makes sense to have the proper protocol in place and work being accomplished by those who know the intricacies and eccentricities of the property in order to have work done in an efficient and cost effective manner.
  • Does the Association have a policy in place for those situations where at first you don’t know whether the repair is a Homeowner or an Association issue? It is impossible to determine sometimes with afterhours and weekend calls; who is the responsible party for a matter until someone goes out to inspect the issue?
  • When this occurs, is it the policy of the Association to pay for the initial discovery? Or is it the policy of the Association to say to Homeowners, "If we send someone out initially and a matter is found to be your responsibility, you will have to pay for that contractor and their time.” And if it is the latter of these two that is the
  • Association’s policy, have you reminded your homeowners of this on a regular basis so they are not surprised when they are charged for the call?

When any Association Board works to clarify and communicate their community’s policies and procedures on a regular basis, they will begin to see the following benefits:

  • Board Unity, because everyone is on the same page. Veteran Board Members are reminded of proper protocol, while new Board Members go through a proper and thorough orientation.
  • Decisive Action; time is not spent asking the question "what are we going to do?” Instead, the property manager is empowered to act on behalf of the Board’s wishes, allowing more, not less, to be accomplished.
  • Happy Community, because everyone understands what is expected of one another and how things are accomplished.

Associations, like ball clubs, when they are running smoothly and professionally, become the type of organization that everyone wants to be identified with.

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