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New Council? How to Make the Transition as Smooth as Possible

Typically, council transitions happen after elections at an Annual General Meeting. Voted in by strata owners, new council members volunteer to take on the duties of the council and the great responsibility that comes with it. Knowing the weight of the role, it’s important the transition of old board to new council is as smooth as possible. We asked those with first-hand knowledge for tips to help make the transition a success. Here’s what our two experts had to say.

Set goals.

“Go over each council member’s goal for the year and create a general roadmap for the strata. It lets people get to know each other and their objectives for the community and ensures everyone is on the same page.”

- Haley Murphy, CMCA®, AMS®, General Manager, Prescott Companies

Elect only a fraction of council members at a time.

“When talking about council transitions, the best thing a strata corporation can do is make sure the strata's bylaws provide for staggered terms (in which only a fraction of council members are elected each time instead of all at once). Doing this will allow for continuity during the transition and time for the experienced council members to guide the new council members.”

- Emily Ramirez, CMCA®, AMS®, PCAM®, Director of Community Management, Colorado Association Services

Keep a council binder.

“A council binder—either physical or electronic—includes a summary of expectations, all the governing documents (amendments, policies, bylaws, and rules), the current budget, Contingency Reserve Fund (CRF), key vendor contracts, board minutes from the last 12 months, and copies of the insurance policies. Having this information available helps new council members understand the community and will aid in making decisions.”

- Emily Ramirez, CMCA®, AMS®, PCAM®, Director of Community Management, Colorado Association Services

Get informed.

As a general rule of thumb, new council members have the responsibility to educate themselves about the strata corporation. Know what the provincial law says about the type of community in which you live. Listen to the advice you receive from your strata manager and other professional consultants. Check with your strata's legal counsel on matters outside your field of expertise. Make your decisions based on good business judgment, not what you think the owners would like to hear.

Keep these tips in mind before your community transitions to a new council for an easy approach to the often stressful process.