Bringing Peace to the Community

By Lanier Coulter, Esq.

Published December 25, 2013

  

One of the most common complaints a board will hear during annual meeting season is the lack of communication between the board and the members of the community.   Too often, association members feel that they have no voice in major events affecting the community and that they are often uninformed or misinformed about decisions of the board.  As a result, the board gets bombarded by owners who are quite vocal about their frustrations.  One way to head this off at the pass and to perhaps even prevent such community discord is through the promotion of communication between the board and the members.

  

There are several means by which a board can promote communication with the membership and combat community apathy and divisiveness.  Probably the most effective means is to establish a communications committee that is charged with creating and distributing newsletters and/or the community website.  Even if the newsletters are quarterly, just simple updates on community projects and issues can often help allay some of the frustrations of the members.

  

Another means of communication is a central web-address for the board. As we all know, serving on a board is often like a part time job in addition to a board member's full time job. However, being accessible to answer member questions and concerns can go a long way in helping to prevent discord in the community.  By having a central email address, the directors can take turns in answering incoming emails and questions.

  

Townhall meetings are also important, especially where an association is faced with a major project or assessment.  Even if ultimately the decision and authority rests with the board to proceed with the project or assessment, by involving the owners in the actual process and keeping owners informed, in most cases, it gives a venue where owners are connected and also are more understanding of the thought processes and the necessity behind the project or assessment.  Dropping major news on the membership without background information normally will backfire.

 

 By taking the time to implement one or more of the foregoing means of communication, a board can go a long way in establishing a good relationship with the association members.


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G. Lanier Coulter, Jr. - owner/founder of the firm. He is a 1998 graduate of Oglethorpe University and a 2001 graduate of Emory University School of Law, where he was the recipient

of the Attorneys' Title Guaranty Fund Award.  

 

Lanier is a member of the state Bar of Georgia and the DeKalb County Bar Association.  He is the author of "Don't Wait Until it's Too Late, Statutes of Limitation and How They Can Affect Your Association's Rights" which appeared in Georgia Commons, a Publication of Community Associations Institute of Georgia, Inc.  

 

Lanier practices primarily in the area of community association law.  Lanier assists associations in interpretation and enforcement of their governing documents (covenant enforcement and collection of assessments) and in the negotiation, financing and execution of major renovation and rehabilitation projects.  He is an instructor of continuing education courses for community association managers and attorneys, including, "Dealing With Difficult People," "Problem Solving for Planned Communities," and "Condominium Law." 

 

Currently Lanier serves as a member of the Amicus Committee the Community Association Institute and a member of the Legislative Action Committee for the Georgia for Chapter of the Community Association Institute.  He was the recipient of the 2011 Rising Star Award in the CAI-Georgia Chapter.

Contact Lanier at: glc@coulterlawfirm.net