No decision should be made in haste… especially when so few decide what happens to so many.
Recently there was some controversy surrounding a poll that was taken by the board regarding trash pickup in the townhomes. I received a few emails, read messages on Facebook, took phone calls and even saw a letter distributed to all of the townhomes in response to the poll. I was very pleased to see so many people getting involved and voicing their opinions about an issue. I was disturbed though when many of those members voiced worries that a decision was being made by the board without taking time to examine the issue. I felt compelled to take the time to reach out and explain how this board chooses to implement decisions.
Some decisions are easy. We have encountered the situation before and addressed the issue and established a policy or standard for making the decision. For instance… if you were to look at an approved or denied architectural request you might see that it is signed â€œLisa Barnes for Rob Smithâ€. This might lead you to think Lisa at Hawthorne approved or denied the request or that I approved or denied your request alone. The reality is I only pass along the boards approval to Lisa, who then signs the request on my behalf. (Saving me the trouble of printing, signing, scanning and emailing forms). In many cases, in order to slash the time required to get a response to an architectural request, I will send an approval or denial without consulting the board. In those cases I am merely applying past board approval or denials to a situation which has occurred multiple times. I do not consult the board every time someone requests a satellite dish on the back of their roof line, the board has already stated that is an approved request.
Other decisions require more thought and research. An example would be a request to add a sunroom to a home. This might require checking the CCRs and bylaws for any rules which would apply, an examination of any previous requests of a similar nature, a conversation with the homeowner to verify the type of work to be done and ensure compliance with any CCR requirement, and then a decision. In a case like this the board would pass the request on to the Architectural Committee. The Architectural committee would meet and discuss the request, follow through with the investigation and then report their findings and opinion to the board. The board would then discuss the recommendation of the committee and call a vote. This process can be longer, but ensures a more well rounded decision.
In the case of something like the townhome trash pickup, or anytime a drastic change in the standards and expectations of the members might occur, the board of directors may choose to hold a vote for a more detailed investigation. In the case of the townhome trash service we examined several options. The board requested an opinion of the options from the townhome committee. The townhome committee, the board member assigned to the townhome committee, and the block captain for the townhomes decided to poll the residents and owners of the townhomes regarding valet (curbside) pickup as opposed to the dumpsters. Some of the townhome residents were left with a feeling that the poll was a voting process to decide what should be done. I can assure you that the board considers the opinions, wants, and needs of the membership extremely valuable… but we also recognize that in some cases we have a more broad picture of the many different working parts of our community.
After the polling is complete and the townhome committee has come to an official opinion they will pass that information on to the board. The board will then meet and discuss the findings. Members of the board will weigh the options along with their own findings and cast their votes. The board will then present their decision to the membership.
Â Because of our bylaws there are very few decisions the board of directors can not make on our own. We are trusted by the membership to make sound decisions on a day to day basis with no interaction. The bylaws do not require meetings, votes, polls outside of the annual member meeting. The only vote provided by the bylaws is the one to elect a board of directors. Our board feels a one time a year meeting with very little interaction throughout the year is a mistake. We prefer open and honest discussion with as many members as possible. Please understand that the board of directors will always listen to the membership, either as a whole or individually.