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Habitat Magazine Insider Guide



Continuity is the Goal

Enid Hamelin is a rarity: a co-op shareholder who has walked on both sides of this street. She served for 16 years – several as vice president – on a Greenwich Village co-op board that did not have staggered terms; she’s now vice president of a nearby co-op with staggered terms, where her three-year terms expires at the end of this year. She has mixed feelings about being forced to step down.

“There was great continuity at my first co-op,” Hamelin says. “Supers came and went, but the same treasurer has been in place for 30 years. Every time the mortgage turned over, he understood where they’d come from, decade to decade. He had an overview of costs and assessments, a better feel for where the building’s going to go based on where it’s been.”

At her current co-op, the continuity doesn’t come from long-serving board members. “One advantage to staggered terms is that new people get introduced to their neighbors and the workings of the building,” she says. “There are people on the board to educate these newcomers, and eventually they’ll educate the next generation of newcomers. It's like dominoes."

Another source of continuity in buildings with staggered terms, according to Hamelin, is service on committees – to work on landscaping, plan holiday parties, review cable Tv contracts. “you may no longer be on the board,” she says, “but committees involve you in the building in a different way.”

Hamelin is speaking from long experience when she concludes: “Continuity is the goal. There are two different styles, and the right style depends on the profile of the building.”

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