HOA Insights: Common Sense for Common Areas

053 | HOA Board Heroes: What it Takes to Be a Great Board Member

May 13, 2024 Hosts: Robert Nordlund, Kevin Davis, Julie Adamen Season 1 Episode 52
053 | HOA Board Heroes: What it Takes to Be a Great Board Member
HOA Insights: Common Sense for Common Areas
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HOA Insights: Common Sense for Common Areas
053 | HOA Board Heroes: What it Takes to Be a Great Board Member
May 13, 2024 Season 1 Episode 52
Hosts: Robert Nordlund, Kevin Davis, Julie Adamen

Meet Paul Danielson, a true HOA Board Hero mastering the art of community leadership! Learn his impactful strategies!
✅ Is a Reserve Study right for you? 👉 https://www.reservestudy.com/

In this episode, we spotlight Paul Danielson, an exemplary HOA board member from Cienega Seabreeze. With a background in farming and management, Paul brings unique skills to his role, enhancing property care and democratic decision-making. Discover how Paul's dedication and innovative approaches help manage rising costs and maintain community harmony. Join us as we delve into his journey, exploring the challenges and rewards of being a volunteer board member committed to community excellence.

Chapters from today's episode:

00:00 Introducing HOA Merch Shop!
00:31 Stop keeping low dues! 
02:41 Ad Break - Community Financials
03:13 Meet Board Hero Paul Danielson
04:50 Term Limits, board elections, and what it’s like serving on a board in Paul’s HOA 
8:52 Having agendas in a HOA 
10:59 Funding Paul’s HOA 
12:10 What Paul’s biggest challenge and what was his biggest impact he left on his HOA 
14:10 How costs of things effected Paul’s HOA

Podcast Links:
Full Episode List
Watch On Youtube

Engage in the conversation!

Call our 24/7 voicemail line at (805) 203-3130 or send an email or voice memo to podcast@reservestudy.com

Nominate yourself or a Board Hero you Know!
Board Hero Nominations

Free Zoom backgrounds
Available in our Boardmember Merch Store!

Connect with Hosts on LinkedIn

Julie Adamen
https://www.linkedin.com/in/julieadamen/

Kevin Davis, CIRMS
https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevin-davis-98105a12/

Robert Nordlund, PE
https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-nordlund-pe-rs-5119636/

Support Our Sponsors

Association Insights & Marketplace
https://www.ourfipho.com/

Association Reserves
https://www.reservestudy.com/

Community Financials
...

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Meet Paul Danielson, a true HOA Board Hero mastering the art of community leadership! Learn his impactful strategies!
✅ Is a Reserve Study right for you? 👉 https://www.reservestudy.com/

In this episode, we spotlight Paul Danielson, an exemplary HOA board member from Cienega Seabreeze. With a background in farming and management, Paul brings unique skills to his role, enhancing property care and democratic decision-making. Discover how Paul's dedication and innovative approaches help manage rising costs and maintain community harmony. Join us as we delve into his journey, exploring the challenges and rewards of being a volunteer board member committed to community excellence.

Chapters from today's episode:

00:00 Introducing HOA Merch Shop!
00:31 Stop keeping low dues! 
02:41 Ad Break - Community Financials
03:13 Meet Board Hero Paul Danielson
04:50 Term Limits, board elections, and what it’s like serving on a board in Paul’s HOA 
8:52 Having agendas in a HOA 
10:59 Funding Paul’s HOA 
12:10 What Paul’s biggest challenge and what was his biggest impact he left on his HOA 
14:10 How costs of things effected Paul’s HOA

Podcast Links:
Full Episode List
Watch On Youtube

Engage in the conversation!

Call our 24/7 voicemail line at (805) 203-3130 or send an email or voice memo to podcast@reservestudy.com

Nominate yourself or a Board Hero you Know!
Board Hero Nominations

Free Zoom backgrounds
Available in our Boardmember Merch Store!

Connect with Hosts on LinkedIn

Julie Adamen
https://www.linkedin.com/in/julieadamen/

Kevin Davis, CIRMS
https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevin-davis-98105a12/

Robert Nordlund, PE
https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-nordlund-pe-rs-5119636/

Support Our Sponsors

Association Insights & Marketplace
https://www.ourfipho.com/

Association Reserves
https://www.reservestudy.com/

Community Financials
...

Robert Nordlund:

Hi everyone, I have a special announcement to make. As you know, the mission of our podcast is to affirm, inspire, and motivate HOA board members. One way we hope to do that is with the launch of our new board member merch store. As a gift to boards who are meeting online, we're offering dozens of free and fun zoom backgrounds, designed specifically with you in mind, we've provided a link to the new store in our show notes, please check it out.

Paul Danielson:

You know, all of the prices for everything has gone up. I mean, property taxes are going up, insurance is going up. Utilities are up. It's just hard to stay ahead of all that stuff because it's so it's gone so costly sets COVID They need to be able to present to the association that we need to raise our dues to cover these expenses.

Announcer: HOA Insights:

Common Sense for Common Areas, exists to help all 2 million volunteer board members nationwide have the right information at the right time to make the right decisions for their future. This podcast is sponsored by for companies that care about board members, association insights and marketplace, association reserves, community financials, and Kevin Davis Insurance Services. You'll find links to their websites and social media in the show notes.

Robert Nordlund:

thankless job, what comes to your mind when you hear those two words. Having served on the board of my condominium association for several years followed by decades of experience in this industry. There's one job that without a doubt deserves to be at the top of the list and elected volunteer HOA board member. So as a regular feature of our weekly podcast is one episode a month devoted to sharing the stories of real life unsung board heroes. In Our Eyes a board hero was one of the 2 million elected volunteers who are worthy of recognition for simply performing a thankless job. Well, if you match our definition of a board hero or know someone who does, please reach out to us. Our contact details are provided in the show notes. Well, welcome back to Hoa insights common sense for common areas. I'm Robert Nordlund. And I'm here to share the story of an unsung board hero named Paul Danielson if you missed meeting any of our other board heroes, you can find them easily on our website, Hoa insights.org on our YouTube channel, or by subscribing to Hoa insights on your favorite podcast platform. But before you hear Paul's story, let me introduce you to one of our sponsors.

Russell Munz:

Is your HOA or condo self managed and you don't want to work as hard volunteering. Are you full managed and looking to save money? Are you looking to split the accounting from a manager's role for better service? Like community financials handle the monthly accounting for you? We collect dues pay bills produce financial reports include portals and help with other support services, all while providing awesome service. We'd love the opportunity to help you make your community accounting stress free with our industry leading systems and expert team. Visit our website community financials.com to learn more.

Paul Danielson:

My name is Paul and I have served as a volunteer on the board of Cienega Seabreeze incorporated for two years when I am not wearing my board member hat I am traveling, maintaining and operating the grounds of our complex three words I would use to describe the job a democracy, fairness and diplomacy. The main story I'd like to tell is I believe in the democratic process and do not go to it go into any meetings with an agenda.

Robert Nordlund:

Cienega Seabreeze is a 55 and older mobile home community just outside Pismo Beach, California. As you just heard Paul served on the board of Siena Seabreeze for two years holding the position of board president. The property is about 50 years old with its own streets, clubhouse and pool and is 100% owner occupied. Now while it's not unusual for a mobile home community to be governed by a homeowner's association, the parks they're situated in often have a private owner. We asked Paul to tell us more about the history of Siena Seabreeze and how the community came to be governed by an HOA.

Paul Danielson:

The park was built and started construction in 77 1977 was completed in 1978. It was originally a privately owned Park. However, when it was fully rented the residents that made an agreement with the two guys that all admit that if they decided to sell they would have the first right of refusal, and that's how it became owned by the residence.

Robert Nordlund:

The board of directors at Siena. Seabreeze comprises seven total board seats which includes Paul's current position as member at large. We decided to ask Paul if the board had term limits. Here's what he had to say,

Paul Danielson:

you didn't have a term limit, you could, you could act as president, vice president or whatever, for a long period of time. If you were reelected, so there was no, you know, you're not gonna serve for two years, and then you're off for four years, and then you're out, you could continue to serve, there were no term limits.

Robert Nordlund:

As many of our listeners know that ease of getting elected to the board can vary wildly from association to Association, some board members are determined to hold on to their seat, and others are constantly searching for someone to replace them. And some boards even face a lot of difficulty filling up all their board seats. For this reason, we asked Paul, if it was easy to get elected to the board, Cienega Seabreeze, as well as for more details on their election process, oh, it's

Paul Danielson:

very easy, you know, they you got to put your name and a hat, you know, you signed up for it, you do a little statement of you know, little bio, and then they have a vote, they actually have a ballot, and you write down the names of the people you want to serve, that's when the incoming board, then you get together and sit down and talk, who's going to do what and who's going to be president, vice president, who's going to be in charge of the RV, who's gonna be secretary treasurer, that sort of thing. So you, you agree to run for the board, and then the board decides what position you're going to be in. And it's kind of a split vote. You have three members, you're voting for this year and four members next year, we

Robert Nordlund:

ask Paul, what first motivated him to join the board of directors, as well as what was motivating him to stay involved with the association.

Paul Danielson:

My previous experience before we moved there, farming and maintaining a farm and working in management are different things. And so I could see that my skill set was really needed there. And so that's what made me volunteer to do things, I'd seen things that weren't done correctly, and I could correct them and, and move forward. I had I had some help. I had someone that would take care of all the technical zoom meetings, and all of that sort of thing. And another person that would take care of all of the typing, memos going out that sort of thing. So I could conduct meetings. And all of those side things were taken care of. for me.

Robert Nordlund:

We next asked Paul, what his favorite and least favorite parts of serving on the board were

Paul Danielson:

the least was probably notifying residents that they would deficiency. That was my least the favorite. conducting meetings. While I was conducting the meeting, I could make it short and sweet. Yep, all of the points that I wanted to be made made, and then get on down over with it. I can conduct very short break quick meetings, very productive. That was mostly successful on my part, because we could take care of everything that we needed to take care of. Now, sometimes the meetings go two and a half hours because they can't agree on anything. And that really is trying and it's very disappointing. It was

Robert Nordlund:

refreshing to hear that Paul, like several of the board heroes we featured in prior episodes has enjoyed the meetings that he conducts at the association whoever as we just heard the meeting seemed to be taking a lot longer and aren't as productive compared to when Paul was leading them. This prompted us to ask how board meetings are conducted at Siena Seabreeze Inc, especially since post COVID. Many boards have adopted an entirely virtual model for their meetings. Here's what Paul had to say.

Paul Danielson:

Now it's it's held in our clubhouse. It's all attended publicly, however, we do also offer a zoom link because we have absentee owners, so they can actually go on the meeting via zoom.

Robert Nordlund:

In a previous answer. Paul appeared to have some reservations about how the board Sienaga Seabreeze is currently operating. So we decided to ask him if he thought the association was well run.

Paul Danielson:

I don't think it is well run right now. I think there's too many agendas. Unfortunately, I think some board members that are on the current board have an agenda that they would like to pursue. And I don't think in a democratic society, that is something that should be addressed. Just because you have your own opinion doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be adopted. You can present in all of your thoughts, and then it's voted on. And sometimes it's you get us sometimes you do not.

Robert Nordlund:

It's certainly unfortunate whenever the ideas and agenda of a single board member disrupts the democratic process of the entire board. We then ask Paul, if there was any particular project that Sienna Seabreeze board had agreed to focus

Paul Danielson:

on redoing the rules and regulations. I think that needs to be done and I think they're doing that well. To give you a little insight, the partner sets, it's owner occupied, we maintain the park, we hire a landscaper, and we hire someone to do the pool. And we hire a, an accountant, once a year, quarterly, that sort of thing. So all of the maintenance in the park or all of the operation is done by volunteers. Well, the word the term volunteer means it's something you're voluntary, where you're not required to do that. They're trying to change the language in the rules and regulations that say that that's not a volunteer, you must participate in maintaining and operating the park. That's what keeps our operating expenses low, because we don't hire any a lot outside labor. They're trying to change that word, volunteer to something else. I don't know how successful they will be. But that's what they're attempting to do.

Robert Nordlund:

As someone who regularly visits communities to provide reserve studies and funding recommendations. I was very interested in asking Paul, if he felt the association was well funded. Here's what he had to say, Oh, yes,

Paul Danielson:

there is a board that is elected or appointed. That works with the reserve study chairman, and he works closely with the reserve study company. And we all get together and go over everything. And it's pretty effective. I have some responsibility to make sure that everything is kept up, running and in good shape. You couldn't get there if you didn't have those funds. So let's make sure we keep those funds there and use wisely. It certainly made

Robert Nordlund:

me happy to hear that Paul's association was dutifully following their reserves any recommendations. However, even when their association is well funded board members can face numerous challenges during their tenure, such as having to spend their free time to maintain the property or even mediating a disagreement between board members and residents. We asked Paul, what the biggest challenge was he faced as a board member

Paul Danielson:

in the maintenance of the bark, maintaining parking equipment that was most challenging and most rewarding both, I was looking for someone that was qualified to do that sort of thing. And no one in the park was qualified to do what I was doing. So I felt comfortable doing it myself, keeping in

Robert Nordlund:

mind that Paul is now acting in a far more limited capacity on the board, we asked him what he felt was the biggest impact that he left on the community.

Paul Danielson:

Good, I could maintain the entire integrity of the park and I had good communication skills with other members in the park that had skill sets that were not following my skill set. And I could get everyone to work together on it, I still can get the people who are have the skill sets. And I can give you an appropriate example. We have a flood control area to the back of our park, which is you know, we have some pumps and that sort of thing. If we have difficulties back there, we got people in the park, who are retired electricians, union electricians, so I can get the electrical work recovered. We've got some mechanical people who understand pumps and that sort of thing. So we can get all of that stuff up and running and, and in being maintained properly, so that we don't have a problem. And even though I'm not necessarily on the board, I can get them all together. While

Robert Nordlund:

Paul voiced some critiques about how the association is run, it was clear that he felt that the board was doing a pretty good job overall, we asked him for one piece of constructive feedback that the board psionic Seabreeze could implement in the future. If

Paul Danielson:

the association property is damaged. I think the person that damages it, or the entity is responsible for it and needs to make whatever amends to correct the damage. Well, let's say they were our lightful or they run over a mailbox, they should be possible they should fix the like or fixed mailbox. That doesn't always happen. As we got closer to the end

Robert Nordlund:

of our interview with Paul, we decided to ask if there were any external factors or events occurring in the world that were dominating the conversations during board meetings. Here's Paul's response,

Paul Danielson:

cost of living. You know, all of the prices for everything has gone up. I mean, property taxes are going up. Insurance is going up. Utilities are up. So it's tough to figure that fees that are going to change. We've done a number of energy saving events. I mean, we put in a pool heater and we put in LED lights and that sort of thing. It's just hard to stay ahead of all that stuff because it's so it's gone so costly since COVID. We need to look at cost of living built in cost of living raises in our dues, they need to be able to present to the association that we need to raise our dues to cover these expenses.

Robert Nordlund:

Finally, while we often ask our board heroes to share some advice to the board members watching or listening to this program, we decided to give Paul the opportunity to share a single piece of advice that he would like to impart to the board at Cienega Seabreeze. Try

Paul Danielson:

to rework that volunteerism. Think about the people who live there. You know, they're trying to get everybody involved. But I want to want since, you know, we've got 70 residents who are looking to who have looked in retire, and they're wanting to live in paradise from now on. And now they're trying to get this the 70 residents who want to be retired and live in paradise, to being fully involved in the operation and maintenance of the park. And that's just not in their forte. That's where I was saying people have agendas. They need to put that agenda aside and think about what everyone's trying to do.

Robert Nordlund:

Who wants to publicly acknowledge Paul for performing a thankless job? Well, we hope you gain some HOA insights from Paul's story and that it helps you bring common sense to your common area. Thank you for joining us, and we look forward to another great episode next week. And remember, if you match our definition of a board hero, or know someone who does, please reach out to us, our contact details are provided in the show notes.

Announcer:

You've been listening to HOA Insights: Common Sense for Common Areas, you can listen to the show on our podcast website, Hoainsights.org, or subscribe on any of the most popular podcast platforms. You can also watch the show on our YouTube channel. Check the show notes for helpful links. If you like the show and want to support the work we do, you can do so in a number of ways. The most important thing that you can do is engage in the conversation. leave a question in the comment section on our YouTube videos. You can also email your questions or voice memos to podcast@reservestudy.com Or leave us a voicemail at 805-203-3130. If you gained any insights from the show, please do us a HUGE favor by sharing the show with other board members that you know. You can also support us by supporting the brands that support this program. Please remember that the views and opinions expressed by the podcast do not constitute legal advice. You'll want to consult your own legal counsel before making any important decisions. Finally, this podcast was expertly mixed and mastered by Stoke Light Video & Marketing. With Stoke Light on your team. You will reach more customers with marketing expertise that inspires action. See the shownotes to connect with Stoke Light.

Introducing HOA Merch Shop! 
Stop keeping low dues! 

Ad Break - Community Financials
Meet Board Hero Paul Danielson
Term Limits, board elections, and what it’s like serving on a board in Paul’s HOA
Having agendas in a HOA
Funding Paul’s HOA
What Paul’s biggest challenge and what was his biggest impact he left on his HOA
How costs of things effected Paul’s HOA