Every community association needs a clear, concise code of ethics. These codes help protect the community and provide guidelines for leaders and board members.
Community Association Institute put together Principles for Community Association Success. We've highlighted some key information from that resource guide in this article which is part 3 of a 3 part series. Part 1 covered Rights and Responsibilities of Homeowners which can be found here, and Part 2 covered the Rights and Responsibilities of Community Association Leaders which can be found here. To see the original document from CAI click here.
When you are drafting a code of ethics, there is a lot to consider. Take a look at the most important elements that you should include in your community code of ethics.
What Should Board Member Do?
- Regardless of your personal interests, you should always strive to serve the best interests of the entire association. This includes using sound and reasonable judgment when making decisions and using all available information and resources to reach the best possible conclusion.
- Always perform your duties without bias for or against any groups, businesses, owners, and non-owner residents who live or work in the community.
- Act within the boundaries of your authority as defined by law in your association's governing documents. Always disclose any personal or professional relationships with people or companies who currently have or could have a professional relationship with the association.
- Open and fair elections are crucial to the long-term health and vibrancy of your association. Make sure all elections are conducted properly and that they are well-publicized within the association.
- Always speak with one voice as a board of directors. Board members and leaders may disagree on certain issues, but supporting all board decisions, regardless of your personal opinion, will help unify the leadership as well as the community.
What Should Board Members NOT Do?
A good code of ethics for your community will also include things that board members should not do.
- First of all, board members should never use their position or decision-making authority for personal gain, including attempting to gain advantage over another owner or resident.
- Board members should not spend association funds for their own use, and they should never accept gifts (both direct and indirect) from owners, residents, contractors, or suppliers.
- Board members will never make unauthorized promises to anyone, reveal confidential information, or advocate any activity that violates the law or the governing documents of the association.
- He or she will never misrepresent known facts on any topic that involves association business, no matter how seemingly insignificant.
- While community members have a right to information involving the board's decisions, if a meeting of the board is properly closed or held in executive session, board members are expected to never reveal this information.
- It should also be said that members should not reveal information on any association owner, resident, or employee that was obtained while conducting association duties.
- Never harass, threaten, or attempt to control other board members, property owners, residents, or employees of the association. As a board member, you are there to serve your association, so always act the part.
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