On November 1, I was elected to my community's homeowners association, as it was turned over from the developer to the actual members. I wasn't sure if I was going to actually run, and initially volunteered for the transition committee to get things started prior to election of the board, but there were so few people overall interested that I figured I'd give it a go in the HOA's formative years. I figure my experience managing budgets, delivering on stuff and even the government work early in my career might be a good fit. I don't know if I'll still be interested after two years, but it feels like a good idea to serve our community of 315 units right now.
There probably won't be much for me to write about beyond this, partly because most people wouldn't care, and partly because the board has only met one time, and it was a closed session with the attorney to iron out some legal things up front. This is the third place I've owned a home in an HOA. The first time was a joke, as the association had very little teeth and no interested leadership. The second time was pre-turnover in a build-out that spanned more than eight years (it still hasn't turned over), and that one seemed headed for mob rule by people who weren't good at anything. This one, honestly, seemed to be filled with reasonable people who wanted to do right by the community, and I think that's what we got.
HOA's are like little mini-governments, but this is about as close to politics as I think I want to get. I think legislative bodies (councils, commissions, boards, state and federal legislatures) are where most of the real work gets done, especially at the local level, so this at least aligns with what I see as the more valuable part of these governance structures. HOA's are actually non-profit corporations, which is a little weird, but they work similarly to school boards and county commissions in many ways. They need the members to approve rule changes, but otherwise have the discretion to set budgets, manage vendor contracts and such.
I'm the "at large" member, so mostly I just need to understand what we're discussing, contribute where I can and vote on issues. We're fortunate to have retirees who have been CEO's and even run association management companies. There are plenty of opportunities to learn from them about what makes a well-oiled HOA work. I look forward to helping run something that isn't technology related for a change.