Get 2 months of free community web site hosting from Community123.com!
Sunday, April 22, 2018
Get 2 months of free community web site hosting from Community123.com!


SBCA: Free education for HOAs and condos on satellite placement issues.
(National Trade Organization)
Helping HOAs, condos and property managers with satellite placement issues since 1986.
Only members have access to all features.
Click here to join HOATalk for Free! Members click here to login and access all features.
Subject: After 20 years: Should I stay or go?
Prev Next
Please login to post a reply (click Member Login on the menu).
Author Messages
BradB7


Posts:22


03/21/2018 11:46 PM  
A long post, but I really, really need some help deciding what to do.

My story: 20 year board member for a large condo development who has been president for the last 6 years.

When I became president our community was in terrible condition after years of inaction and neglect by an incompetent board and property manager. After I became president the incompetent board members either moved or resigned and I recruited some new members. I then spent my years as president fixing all of our problems. I hired a new management company and drew up a 5 year plan to rebuild the community. I got the dues raised so we went from very little money in our reserve account to a record setting amount which was then used to fix everything from the roofs down to the parking lots.

Under my guidance, we went from the worst maintained property in the area to the best. I did everything: Planning all the projects, hiring the vendors, managing the work. The end result after 5 years of my work was our property values have almost tripled and we still have a healthy reserve account and our dues are the lowest of competing condo developments.

Everything was great until 2017. There are two other board members, who do nothing, but at least they voted to approve my property improvement projects. We have had two unfilled board positions for years, and I started hearing rumors that two of our residents were planning on joining the board at the annual meeting.

These two residents have attended HOA meetings for years and are the most incompetent, ignorant, selfish, uneducated residents I know. They know nothing about construction, landscaping, property management, legal issues, or finances. They know nothing, don't want to learn anything, and won't learn anything. At board meetings during homeowner forum all they would talk about is what they want done for them.

Last year they both joined the board at the annual meeting. One of them is bad, but the other one is the absolute worst.

Before they joined, I tried to recruit some neighbors who I knew would be good for the board. They all refused. Guess what? If good people won't join the board then bad people will, and they did.

The new board members are proceeding to gut all the good work that has been done. The two old board members are now voting with them on every one of their motions. When we had our budget planning meeting the worst new member made a motion to approve a 2018 budget that will leave us with a $30K deficit in our operations account. All of the board members except for me voted for this budget disaster, despite my pleas that it would cause huge problems and our property manager advising that it was a big mistake.

Out of about 400 residents, no homeowners attended the budget meeting, and none attended the budget ratification meeting.

Now that we have a budget shortage, they are fixing it by hiring the lowest bidder for projects. We have vendors we have worked with for years who do excellent work for a good price. The new members don't care about quality, references, customer service, or experience.

Recently, we had a project where there was a $100 difference between the bid from our experienced vendor who has done excellent work on the property for over a decade, and a no-name bidder with no references. The board voted for the low bidder, who then did shoddy and incomplete work. The new board members were patting themselves on the back for saving the community $100 out of our $600K annual budget.

Here is my problem: In April my term as president ends. The worst new board member is going to run for my position. He is the main one gutting the budget and wanting to get rid of all our experienced vendors. And here is the ultimate irony: The community loves him. He has everyone fooled, so he will be able to get a big turnout to vote for him.

Do I run for re-election when there is a good chance I will lose? The real kick in the gut is that although I am the one who turned our community around and tripled the property values, no one knows or cares. All the homeowners think "the board" magically made everything happen when the reality is the other board members did nothing and I did everything.

The way I see it, I have three options:
1) Don't run for re-election, and go away and never be heard from again as my community is destroyed.
2) Don't run for re-election, but become a "watchdog" or reporter for the community and report on board activities as my community is destroyed.
3) Run for president knowing that there is no way I can get the voter turn out like my opponent can, and lose.

And here is the other big thing: Even if I run and somehow get re-elected president, I will be on a board where the other members are all voting with the new board members and against my advice and experience. Is this really the sign that I should not run for president again? What would you do in my position?

Our board terms are for three years and there won't be another open board position again until 2020. We have monthly meetings and on average no one shows up so the board does what it wants. When there are residents at the meeting it is usually one or two, who then sit and say nothing as the new board members do what they want.

Thanks for your help and insights.

TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:15577


03/22/2018 12:03 AM  
Brad,

I completely understand your position.

See my recent thread, as it has some good advice on it:

Subject: Deciding if I should just resign

JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:3904


03/22/2018 12:43 AM  
Posted By BradB7 on 03/21/2018 11:46 PM


The way I see it, I have three options:
1) Don't run for re-election, and go away and never be heard from again as my community is destroyed. Along with your property values which have increased. Is that really what you want?
2) Don't run for re-election, but become a "watchdog" or reporter for the community and report on board activities as my community is destroyed. It is much harder to be a “watchdog” from the outside vs the inside where you have access to all information. Keep in mind some HOA BOD’s try to deny owners access to records they have a right to view. Do you want to place yourself in that potential position with the direction others are trending?
3) Run for president knowing that there is no way I can get the voter turn out like my opponent can, and lose. CHIN UP ... that attitude will get you what you are thinking. Potentially you need to go around to your neighbors with the proof of what you have accomplished and the reasons you should be elected. You have the choice of sitting back and letting your hard work go to waste or standing up and fighting to regain what is in the best interest of all the owners. However, the ultimate choice will be yours.

And here is the other big thing: Even if I run and somehow get re-elected president, I will be on a board where the other members are all voting with the new board members and against my advice and experience. Is this really the sign that I should not run for president again? What would you do in my position? I potentially would not roll over and take it in the shorts. You would not believe in my last HOA how I so wanted to give up because I was so TIRED of constantly fighting against a developer. If I had given up I potentially could have lost $60,000 to $80,000 on the value of my home. We took on a Federal Government Grantee who potentially had deep pockets in a lawsuit and received back the majority of what they took from us via an illegal CCR amendment. I spent 6+ years in a living hell fighting for my property rights and the property rights of the Federal Grantee’s clients who also ended up being violated on certain items. What would have made my day would to have been a fly on the wall when new owners started copying the Grantee’s essentially government BOSS on their home issues (YEP ... I had his direct email address). That Grantee pretty much shit bricks when they were caught red handed with MORE underhanded activity. The point is no matter how tired and frustrated you are ... keep in mind what might be the alternative and is it worth the potential apathy?

Thanks for your help and insights.



MikeK22
(California)

Posts:16


03/22/2018 12:46 AM  
Hello Brad,

I feel for you and can relate. Heck I wanted to raise our fees 20 dollars a month for the first time in 16 years and even my wife through a fit. The reality is that most people don't care about the HOA as long as nothing major happens to them personally which is why you can get some really bad boards and lack of turn out from residents. We have to beg people to join the board and ours only has 3 people.

If I was in your position, I would probably stay on the board and not run for president. If the bad board member is running for president then I would expect that his seat would be vacant. You never know what might happen to the other board members (move, die, etc) and would want to be in a position to influence change if something changed. Let the other guy be president but just continue to have the 4-1 votes until it becomes clear that something needs to change.

The other option which is a bit more drastic would be to move. If you are sure that they board is going to destroy your complex and probably raise fees then it might be better to get out while you can. You would hate to see all of that equity disappear.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:1972


03/22/2018 12:50 AM  
How do you "run for president" exactly? Don't the owners vote for directors (a/k/a board members) and then the directors vote amongst themselves to elect the officers (president, secretary, treasurer, etc.)? Do the owners actually vote for officers? That would be an unusual situation, although not unheard of. Regardless, even if your board voted for the officer positions it probably wouldn't make a different if the other board members are arrayed against you.

If there's really no one else who will side with you - either on the board or supportive unit owners - then you're in a tough spot. It sounds like you've accomplished a lot in your years on the board. I think the best you can hope for is that people wake up and smell the coffee after a few years of mismanagement. At that point you might be welcomed back with open arms. Selling your unit and moving out is aan option. Not a great one, but when the majority is doing stupid stuff and making bad decisions you've got to take a hard look at all of your options. Good luck.
AugustinD


Posts:792


03/22/2018 6:44 AM  
When one does not have a like-minded majority with whom to serve on a board, and those actually in the majority are incompetent and ignorant bullies, I think it is time to admit that one does not have the numbers and move on, for the near term.
DouglasM6
(Arizona)

Posts:680


03/22/2018 11:26 AM  
One thing to remember when you're serving as president is that the decisions being made are not yours. You are not the only one "to blame" for the outcomes of the decisions of the BOD.

Only you can decide it you want to run again or not. Losing an election happens. If you don't want to run simply because you feel you may lose, then resign. However, if you want to run AND win, copy and paste exactly what you posted about, with a few changes of course, then distribute it to all of the members telling them that even though you're being outvoted and the changes are happening that you do not agree with, you will continue to serve with the best interests of the community if nothing more than a watchdog.

Good luck. I really hate seeing people who care get treated badly and I feel that's what is happening to you.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5090


03/22/2018 4:10 PM  
Geno's question baffles me too: All Owners in your HOA vote for board officers?? Your Bylaws say that?

On one hand, you say the Owners are crazy about the jerk. and on the other, you say they're totally apathetic. If they love him so much, why don't they attend meetings?

With Geno, I think if you feel you can at least put the brakes on some of the more excessive behaviors of the board, and that different roles doesn't bother you too much, I'd say stay on the board.

When directors are elected, which I assume is April, list your accomplishments on the candidate statement that goes out to Owners and don't be modest! Don't list back too far--emphasize your more recent achievements.

I have the same decision to make after what will be 12 years, but not till October. The same thing is happening on our board as on yours and with a recent resignation, I'll be outvoted on many topics. As advised to you, for the rest of my term, I''m going to urge neighbors to attend and voice their opinions during open forum. But I don't know if they will. Our current president is disliked and so attendance has dropped a lot.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:15577


03/23/2018 3:33 AM  
Rather then debate Officer vs Director, I thought I go back on track to the original question.

I provided a link to my earlier thread because I thought it would help.

The main reason I chose to run for reelection was to keep an eye on the money.
Being on the Board allows me the opportunity to point out the financial limitations, the financial options and to make sure that the majority doesn't spend money they don't have.

SueW6
(Michigan)

Posts:255


03/23/2018 12:16 PM  
To paraphrase an old saying:

If one board member calls you a horse's behind, ignore it.

If the majority of board members call you a horse's behind, turn around and see if you are wearing a saddle.

You have served honorably for 20 years. Most likely, the 'youngsters" have come in and have a different attitude about improvement spending. They are not on the same wave length as you have been for 20 years.

Sell and move or Step back and enjoy your retirement.
DouglasM6
(Arizona)

Posts:680


03/23/2018 1:31 PM  
Probably a "one and done".
BradB7


Posts:22


04/06/2018 5:37 AM  
Thanks to all who took the time to read my first post.

I read all the replies and I am honored by all the people who took the time to respond and offer me advice. I have made the decision to quit the board after 20 years. My last meeting will be the annual meeting at the end of this month. I just can't stay on the board and be out voted 4 to 1 any longer.

During my 20 years I brought extensive financial, legal, and management experience to my community, but no one cared, especially any of the other board members who I had to fight for two decades to get anything done. At least I can say that my community is in great shape physically, legally, and financially when I leave the board, along with property values that had been tripled.

My community is part of a much larger Master Association, and my contact with the MA says I executed the biggest property turn around he has ever seen, and he has been dealing with communities for over 30 years. He deals with board members from many, many properties and he said that I am the type of board president that he wished all of the other properties could have. That was nice to hear.

So, very soon I will no longer be a board member, but I am still going to be involved with the board. Stay tuned for a future post where I will explain what my next move will be to keep my community from falling apart.

Thanks again to everyone who helped me out with advice. The people on HOAtalk are amazing!

TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:15577


04/06/2018 6:54 AM  
Brad,

Congrats on the work you have done for your community.

You have served well and others now have the watch.
You did your best to train them.
They will use what you intended to teach, even if they don't realize it came from you.

As others have said to me, don't look back. Move forward and enjoy your family, friends and life.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:7170


04/06/2018 2:47 PM  
My theory has always been "There's always a BIGGER fish". Your goal as President should be to create that "Bigger" fish. That is what I did in my HOA. When I decided to leave (even though did NOT like the new board), it was that had achieved so much. It also involved that there was no longer the "Apathy" factor. My last day when we elected the new board, there were questions why there wasn't more board positions. (We had actually changed them from 7 to 5 years previous due to apathy). Must of been one of the largest turn outs we ever had for an election/meeting.

So in the end, you want to be "eaten". It's just is it going to be by the "Sharks" or the "Bigger fish"?

BTW: Stay on the board if you can. You will be needed. Just step back until that need arrives. It's time to back out and leave the room.

Former HOA President
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5090


04/06/2018 5:10 PM  
It's excellent you accomplished so much, Brad. I'll be paying close attention to your next moves since I think I'll be doing the same thing in October after 12 years. I hope you find a way to maintain all of the gains that your current board seems oblivious to and perhaps it doesn't even comprehend. Maybe they don't appreciate the insights & experience you have to offer, as it also seems with Tim's board.

But many of us here will and are eager to learn. Onward!



SueW6
(Michigan)

Posts:255


04/09/2018 11:26 AM  
Right person at the right time.

It doesn't always stay that way.

Thanks for your service!
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:15577


04/09/2018 2:47 PM  
Posted By SueW6 on 04/09/2018 11:26 AM


Right person at the right time.

It doesn't always stay that way.




Sue,

Thank you for posting that.
It actually illuminates a lot of things for me.
It's likely what others have been saying to me in different way that simply didn't get through my thick head.

ND
(Florida)

Posts:189


04/10/2018 6:26 AM  
I've been following this post and Tim's posts closely to glean as much advice as I can. I am in a similar position as both of you. I feel I have accomplished a lot (not quite what you have accomplished), but I am worn out and beaten down.

I have been on my Board since 2010 and I put my house up for sale a short time ago because I need to separate myself completely.

For me, that's the only way I think I can mentally and physically deal with no longer being on the BOD. Given my history and knowledge of my HOA, I'm not the type of person who would find it easy to separate myself from the BOD and still live (quietly) within the HOA (unless I had faith in the people who take spots on the BOD). Unfortunately, there are only a couple of people I would trust, and they won't join the BOD. For me, it would be more stressful, agonizing, and discouraging to be on the sideline and watch as the hard work I put in over the years and the HOA as a whole begins to fall apart. Things I did with specific intent could unravel and result in harm to the HOA and my own property values. I suppose things could actually turn out better than when I was on the BOD, but so far nobody has stepped up and put in even a fraction of the time, effort, interest, and expertise as I have . . . so I'm not holding my breath.

In response to your actual post though, I'd offer a 4th option . . .

4) Stay on the BOD as Pres or other Member and work toward a recall/re-election, replacing the bozos currently on the BOD with individuals you know to be trusted and capable BOD members.

You've spelled out some of your BOD resume/accomplishments for us, but have you ever done that for your own community? I find the same that you have that overall homeowners attribute everything that happenes to this amorphous blob called "the HOA". They don't understand and don't care to learn the difference between MC, BOD, Officers, and Membership or that BOD individuals have varying degrees of ability, devotion, and accomplishment. When something goes well, "the HOA" receives little praise and thanks, but when things go poorly, "the HOA" is to blame. I've found that unless you pat yourself on the back and make sure people know what you personally have accomplished, they simply don't understand and don't really care as long as they aren't made to pay more $.

If you haven't done so, I think you need to ensure your HOA is well aware of all that you have personally accomplished for the HOA and for them individually over the years. Suggest doing it in matter-of-fact sort of way and not come off as bragging. Should be sort and succinct (unlike my reply to your post) because people also aren't interested in reading more than a page. But because most may not fully understand your individual contributions, they cannot make informed decisions. If you establish a better relationship with much of the community, you may get them to buy-in to your agenda of recalling the BOD and replacing with your team.

Would take a lot of work to do that, but you've been at it for 20+ years already. Good luck to you in whatever you decide . . .
Please login to post a reply (click Member Login on the menu).
Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > After 20 years: Should I stay or go?



Get 2 months of free community web site hosting from Community123.com!



News Articles Provided by: Community Associations Network
News, articles and blogs about condos/HOA's

Only members have access to all features.
Click here to join HOATalk for Free! Members click here to login and access all features.







General Legal Notice:  The content of forum messages are from the posting member and have not been reviewed nor endorsed by HOATalk.com.  Messages posted by HOATalk or other members are for informational purposes only, are not legal or professional advice and do not constitute an attorney-client relationship.  Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.  HOATalk is not a licensed attorney, CPA, tax advisor, financial advisor or any other licensed professional.  HOATalk accepts ads from sponsors but does not verify sponsor qualifications nor endorse/guarantee any sponsor's product or service.
HindmanSanchez Legal Notice:  (For messages posted by HindmanSanchez) This message has been prepared by HindmanSanchez for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Members of HOATalk.com should not act on this information without seeking professional counsel. Please do not send us confidential information unless you speak with one of our attorneys and get authorization to send that information to us. If you wish to initiate possible representation, please contact an attorney in our firm. Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in the state of Colorado only.

Legal Notice For Messages Posted by Sponsoring Attorneys: This message has been prepared by the sponsoring attorney for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Readers of HOATalk.com should not act on this information without seeking professional counsel. Please do not send any sponsoring attorney confidential information unless you speak with the sponsoring attorney or an attorney from the sponsoring attorney’s firm and get authorization to send that information to them. If you wish to initiate possible representation, please contact an attorney in the firm of the sponsoring attorney. Sponsoring attorneys that post messages here are licensed to practice law in a specific state or states as indicated in their message signature or sponsor’s profile page. (NOTE: A ‘sponsoring attorney’ is an attorney that is a HOATalk.com official sponsor and is identified as such in the posted message or on our sponsor page.)

Copyright HOA Talk.com, A Service of Community123 LLC ( Homeowners Association Discussions )   Terms Of Use  Privacy Statement