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A Best Practice: Using your CAM as a Buffer for the Board

Posted by Jane F. Bolin, Esq. | Nov 08, 2017 | 0 Comments

Your association board should be delegating to the Community Association Manager, not trying to do it all themselves.

Ideally your community association board is responsible for the strategic initiatives and rules for the community, and the CAM (Community Association Manager) has the tactical responsibility to carry those out. A good CAM has a breadth of knowledge including contracting, insurance, physical plant maintenance, government relations, and the training and talent for resolving problems tactfully and fairly. 

If your CAM is one of your trusted advisors – and optimally he or she is – then there are things the board should be delegating to the CAM and not doing themselves. Assuming you have clearly defined the role and responsibilities of the CAM, one of the key roles the CAM should play is being a buffer between the board and the unit residents, the board and other trusted advisors and vendors, and board members who don't get along.

There are three main ways which a CAM can act as a buffer for the board:

At board meetings

CAMs can either run the meetings or help the board run the meetings. The CAM can be the buffer to step in to keep the meeting flowing. Their professional capacity enables them to mediate and moderate discussions with residents. A CAM can also run the meeting if you don't have a strong, knowledgeable board, or there's dissention within the board.

For residents

Your CAM should be the point of contact for community residents. “I like to counsel board members to use their CAM to create a buffer that says, ‘I'm not available for my neighbors at any time just because I'm a board member,” says PeytonBolin founder Jane Bolin, Esq., in her book, Mastering the Business of Your Association. There should be clear systems and processes for how residents' issues and emergencies should be handled. “You have a maintenance issue. If it's not an emergency, fill out the online maintenance form on our website. If it is an emergency, call this number.” Board members should not be available 24/7 to handle resident issues. It's not best practices to have owners available and exposed in that way, and if that is the case, either the role of the CAM has not been well-defined or the CAM is not right for that board.

With other trusted advisors and vendors

A third area where the CAM can act as buffer with other trusted advisors such as CPAs and attorneys, as well as with vendors such as contractors, landscapers, pool service, security, and utility companies. Keeping the everyday functions and updates for a community can be time-consuming, and a CAM can provide the objective project management that's needed to make sure all projects run smoothly, on-time and on-budget.

For more breakthrough guidance on how to best manage and master your community association, download Mastering the Business of Your Association today, or contact our expert attorneys for a free consultation.

About the Author

Jane F. Bolin, Esq.

Founding Member, Managing Partner


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