Should Board Members Receive Compensation?

This question is posed to me again and again:  why, if a board member spends his/her personal time to do association business, cannot he or she be compensated for that time?Both ORS 94 and 100 provide that the bylaws for an association should include any compensation for the directors.  In my experience, though, the bylaws as written do not allow for any compensation to directors (that is, renumeration for their time and effort).  So why, if ORS 94 and 100 do not outright ban compensation to directors, do the documents almost always do so?  I believe that the primary reason that HOA and condominium board of directors are not compensated for their time is due to the fiduciary duty each director is obligated to observe.  Directors owe fiduciary duties of fair dealing, good faith and loyalty to the association.  If directors are getting paid for their time, then there is a question about whether or not they are acting in good faith or only in their own self-interest.What if a director is not compensated in cash directly but instead in some other form?  Even if the board members are simply not required to pay their dues, this is indeed compensation and I would argue is in direct violation of their fiduciary duty.  After all, that lack of income will result in a budget shortfall, and allowing a known reason for a budget shortfall is not acting in good faith.

I’m sure some will argue as to why any owner would want to serve on the board without compensation.  The reason, besides the annoying answer that “It’s the right thing to do,” is that board members get to make 95% (or more) of the decisions for all owners in their community, and those that serve on the board should be motivated by knowing they are making the best possible choices for the benefit of all members of the association, including their own.  Serving on the board is also the absolutely best way for an owner to understand the inner-workings of the association and seeing the struggles and challenges to be faced.  All owners should take a turn at serving on their boards at some point during their tenure in that community.  It does mean giving up some free time, but having a properly running community can be well worth it.

So compensation for board members?  Unlikely.  Owners should serve on boards for the experience and to keep their community running smoothly and properly.  Seems like that should be compensation enough, no?