Familiarity with the Association’s governing documents is a State mandated requirement to serve on the Board. Getting through these documents can be a non-stater for many of us. The conflicts and discrepancies between the various documents can be maddening and are primarily attributable to the fact that our Covenants & Restrictions and our Bylaws are very poorly written, contained obsolete articles, at times violate the governing State Statute, not to mention they are riddled with typos. So don’t be intimidated! Whoever wrote them wasn’t smarter than you. It’s tedious reading of bad writing- do your best to plough ahead.
Start with FS720-with a few exceptions it governs in case of conflicts. In some instances, FS720 directs the reader to the Covenants and Restrictions for specific requirements left to the discretion of individual Associations; in others, it very specifically establishes the requirements.
Keeping in mind the following overarching goals of the governing documents is useful to get through them and to guide a Board member’s decisions:
- The Board has a fiduciary duty to the Association —> safeguard the Association’s interests
- The Board is accountable to the membership at large —> defendable actions
- The Board proceedings (meetings, decisions, documents) are available to all owners—-> transparent operation
- Records, records, records —> document Board’s actions
From a practical standpoint and to take some of the pressure off, let’s remember that we are a bunch of neighbors pooling our resources to get the grass mowed, the trees trimmed, the pool clean, the neighborhood enjoyable – that’s the kind of stuff we all do for our own property. It’s just more complicated when it’s split 110 ways.