What is a Member at Large
If you read our article "HOA Board of Directors Roles and Responsibilities," you are already familiar with the President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer's roles in your HOA's Board of Directors. However, the role and duties of "Members at Large" might not be as self-explanatory. In this article, we will answer the questions: What is a Member at Large? How are they selected, and by whom? What are some of their duties? And, is there a difference between Member at Large and Director at Large?
Director at large meaning:
Members at Large are members of an HOA who act as additional voting members of the Board of Directors and have most of the same rights and powers other directors do. However, they do not fulfill any of the officer roles on the Board, nor are they tasked with the same duties. The number of Members at Large in an HOA will vary from association to association. Based on what each association's governing documents dictate and also depending on the number of Board Members required or needed to function properly, some associations might have one or two Members at Large in addition to their officers; other community associations might not even have this position at all.
How do Members become Members at Large?
- They are elected through Board Elections. Most governing documents include provisions whereby the membership elects a given number of directors, who then determine among themselves which directors will serve as officers, usually including a President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Among the elected, those who do not become officers become Members at Large. Elected terms can vary from HOA to HOA. Always check your governing documents.
- They are directly appointed by the Board. It is also very common that the Board of Directors agree to have a member of the HOA join them, not as an officer, but as Member at Large. This person will serve the association within a set of guidelines provided by the Board and in accordance with the association's bylaws. This is usually the case when a member has expertise and experience in a field that can be of benefit to the Board or to the association as a whole. For example, a homeowner who works as an architect might be appointed Member at Large to provide support and guidance to the Board as they work on a remodeling project for one of the buildings in the community.
- They are demoted from their role as Board officers. It is possible that the President or any other officer serving on the Board of Directors is removed from their role by other directors through a vote. However, this will not remove them from the Board completely. Instead, they would become Members at Large. Because this person was elected by the entire membership, the only way to remove them from the Board entirely is for a majority of the membership to vote them out.
What are the duties of a Member at Large?
The main role of a Member at Large is to provide support to the Board of Directors and to act as an intermediary party between the Board and the rest of the membership. Their duties and responsibilities will vary and will most likely be determined by the association's current needs. Naturally, they will be asked to attend all Board meetings in order to stay up to date with the association's activities and to have a clear understanding of the community's goals and plans. They will also be encouraged to participate and share their knowledge in order to inform and educate other members of the Board. Additional duties and responsibilities, such as participation in special projects, overseeing committee activities, or providing mentorship to other members, will be assigned as needed by the Board.
What does "at large" mean? "At Large" means the position has no specific assignement, and duties can vary.
Is there a difference between Member at Large and Director at Large?
In this case, the term Member and Director are used interchangeably. Therefore, there is no difference between a Member at Large and a Director at Large.