Q. There is a movement on our association Board to delegate a number of tasks to committees. I have talked to several of my friends who are on Boards in other communities, and none of them seem to have a consistent approach with respect to committees. What is your position on committees and how are they properly utilized?
A. Committees can be very helpful to the community if they are formed and operated in proper fashion. The most common committee in an association is the “architectural review” committee, but we often see committees that assist the Board with finances, budgets, legal matters, landscaping, amenities, access control and social gatherings. The first decision the Board needs to make when considering a new committee is whether the committee will be only advisory, or whether the committee will make decisions on its own. Generally, the president of the association has the ability to appoint advisory committees, but the Board as a whole will need to properly vote when forming a committee that will make decisions. An “architectural review” committee will typically stand on its own, and it is also critical to remember that committee meetings must be run similar to Board meetings if the committee is to going to make a decision involving association funds or approve exterior changes to property. This means that the committee should post a proper notice of the meeting, open the meeting to members and take proper minutes. At the end of the day, committees can ease the burden on Board members and are generally a good idea in busy communities, but the Board should make most if not all major decisions for the association.