Stephane Dupont, the head of our collections department, is also an avid home brewer.  He recently brought several bottles of his India Pale Ale to share with the office, and so Friday evening found me with a frosty mug (per Stephane’s explicit instruction) and a Mad Men DVD.

The juxtaposition of beer with work, and the Mad Men DVD got me to thinking about how business is conducted today, versus the way it worked back in the 1960s.  According to Mad Men, men (because they were all men) would gather around a bottle of scotch and conduct business through the haze of cigarette smoke.  This wouldn’t fly today, but it seems some homeowners associations haven’t gotten the memo.

We’ve had association board meetings open with uncorking a bottle of wine.  Seriously.  While we believe that a congenial atmosphere and neighborliness are good things to encourage in the association context, boards must always remember that they are conducting business, not throwing a party. 

The board’s decisions can impact property values, assessment rates, and even the ability of an owner to keep his or her home.  These decisions should not be made lightly, and should not be made through a wine-induced haze.  A board member must review the information regarding the matter and make a decision in the exercise of his or her reasonable business judgment.  A board member should treat a meeting as though it were "real work" instead of a neighborhood get-together.

Of course, once business is completed, and the meeting comes to an end, it’s a great idea to get to know your fellow board members and neighbors.  At that time, it could be fun to open a bottle of wine, or maybe some of Stephane’s home brew!