Committees are an essential part of an association. Committees are a way to bring association members together with similar objectives and relevant expertise who may otherwise not have a method to gather information and coordinate actions.
Two of the main advantages of a committee are the broad perspectives that are brought to the group by the committee members and the sharing of responsibilities.
An association committee is a deliberative assembly that is subordinate to the association’s Board of Directors. Committees are formed by the Board of Directors and generally have at least one Board member chairing the particular committee. The chairperson organizes a committee meeting through an agenda, which is usually distributed in advance.
The committee chairperson is responsible for running the meeting. This responsibility entails keeping discussions on topic, recognizing committee members to speak and calling for votes after a debate has taken place. The committee chairperson appoints a committee secretary to record minutes of meetings.
Committees may meet on a regular basis, often weekly or yearly, or meetings may be called irregularly as the need arises.
There are generally two types of committees that Associations establish: Working Committees and Standing Committees. Working Committees are established to accomplish a particular task or to oversee an ongoing area in need of oversight that is temporary in nature. Board Nominating Committees are working committees because of the temporary duration such as the upcoming annual meeting.
Generally an association will have up to five Standing Committees. Standing Committees are permanent in nature and have regular meetings and/or duties. An association’s Standing Committees are usually Architectural, Legal, Financial, Communication and Social. Many times two of these committees will be combined into one.
Architectural Committee: The Board of Directors appoints the Architectural Committee to provide guidance on the architectural standards for the association. These standards include the enhancement, preservation and safety of the association. This is accomplished by the Committee submission process of review and approval of all plans. The Committee also tracks and monitors the enforcement of architectural standards that are in process.
Legal Committee: The Board of Directors receives guidance on legal and financial risk from the Legal Committee. This committee reviews and recommends rules and regulations related to the association. The committee may also track and monitor rules violations. When Boards of Directors feel their governing documents need to be updated or changed, this Committee would be charged with the task of making recommendations. This Committee is also charged with the responsibility for reviewing insurance policies and insurance claims. The objective of this Committee is to reduce potential legal and financial risk to the Board and the Association as a whole.
Financial Committee: The Board of Directors appoints a Financial Committee to provide guidance on the financial matters facing the Association. The Board Treasurer usually chairs this Committee. This Committee proposes the annual budget and monitors the financials throughout the fiscal year. This Committee oversees the outside accounting firm’s annual tax preparation and filing, the annual audit of the Association’s financials and any reserve studies and resulting reserve funding. When necessary, this Committee would address any financing issues with regard to bank loans or special assessment issues. The objective of this Committee is to improve the overall financial well being of the Association.
Communication Committee: This Committee can be the liaison between the Board of Directors, any Committees and the Association membership. This Committee is charged with keeping the Association membership informed about the activities of the Association. Communication methods such as newsletters, websites and general notices can be the responsibility of this Committee. The Communication Committee is responsible for recommending improvements to the methods by which information is distributed to the Association and received by the Board of Directors and Committees and how it is followed up on by these responsible bodies.
Social Committee: The Social Committee suggests, oversees and reviews activities, social events and the welcoming of new members. In working with the Board, the Committee is responsible for establishing and improving the sense of community. WDPM
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