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Subject: Difficult Board Member
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DanielM12
(California)

Posts:21


05/13/2019 9:52 AM  
In January, we had our annual election. All directors are up for re-election at the same time. We were short one director, so there was a spot open. A homeowner (we'll call her LK) wrote herself in and got 2 votes. There were two other write in candidates, but each only received one vote. LK was elected to the Board.

In December, Ms. LK was the subject of a disciplinary issue - her two cats were complained about by several different residents. One cat was urinating and defecating on personal property; the other acted aggressively toward people and dogs while being walked in the common area and got into two different homes. One of the owners who had their personal property urinated on by Ms. LK's cat informed the board that she attempted to discuss the matter with Ms. LK, but did not feel "heard" by Ms. LK. When it happened again, this owner decided to report it to the board. The board sent a violation letter to Ms. LK about all the incidents; she was incredulous. We heard the usual "the crazy dog people are out to get me" and "you can't tell me what to do, this is my house" and "there's nothing wrong with cats roaming around." Then we received a third complaint about one of Ms. LK's cats being aggressive towards other pets (dogs) while on leash in the common area, which involved the owner of that dog having to put his body between the cat and his dog when the cat lunged at them both and ended up attaching itself to his pant leg in an attempt to get to the dog!! The board felt this was enough, and decided to schedule a disciplinary hearing in January.

When Ms. LK was elected to the Board, she immediately began a campaign to paint me (president) as the one coming after her because, she claims, I don't like her. The Board held the hearing, heard her evidence and asked two witnesses questions. At first she said she was home, but did not see the incident, but later admitted to being visited by animal control, said she definitely leaves both cats out over night "all the time." Then said the board knows these are her cats and that she leaves them out all the time. We warned Ms. LK that pursuant to the CC&Rs and Rules of Conduct, she had to control the animals, and if she failed to do so we could remove the animal(s) from the property. The board never discussed or contemplated removal of the cats from the property. We were hoping the threat was enough to change the behavior. We were queued up with counsel's opinion - our city has an ordinance against animals roaming at large in condo complexes, like ours, while our CC&Rs do not explicitly say "no cats" in the common area, counsel's opinion is that we were well within reason to require this owner to keep her cats inside or closely monitored or on a leash while in the common area. Ms. LK turned around and created a "the Board president is changing the rules so that all cats have to be on a leash" PR campaign, when that wasn't true. We never contemplated changing the rules; we were just interested in restricting her cats' behavior.

At the February, March, April and May meetings Ms. LK has been disruptive, rude, and in violation of our meeting code of conduct. During open forum, she always signs in to speak and she re-litigates the issue starting all the way back to December when I started to mount this campaign against her, she has her "cat" people with her (they all walk in together, leave together after open forum is done). It's a real mob mentality. At the conclusion of the February meeting, Ms. LK threatened me. As she departed, and even though it wasn't on the agenda, she said, "If you try to fine me I'll do everything I can to take you down." I viewed this as a threat so I called the police. I got a RO. We settled on a stipulation and order, no RO was granted. We went about our lives rather peacefully from there.

Fast forward to April, when Ms. LK sent a number of increasingly annoying emails to our association manager. Ms. LK demanded documents, but not allowing a reasonable time for the manager to produce them. Our association manager produced documents, but each time Ms. LK either changed her mind about what she needed or made up reasons why document production wasn't either fast enough or sufficient. Finally, Ms. LK started to copy our manager's boss because she claims our manager was acting illegally and unethically by siding with the board (Ms. LK viewed the slow document production as being impeded by me, but I had no idea it was even going on until I saw the last email). In a not so smart move, I replied to Ms. LK and copied her boss. I laid out the rules, the facts and defended our manager against Ms. LK's accusations. Ms. LK went back to court to get a RO against me. The court granted a temporary RO.

At our May meeting, Ms. LK was again disruptive and refused to follow rules of decorum. Because she feels I don't like her she openly admits she doesn't have to listen to me as chair. I restricted open forum to 30 minutes - a rather generous amount of time. There was far more discussion on how cat rules are not being changed than is necessary, but I felt they should be heard. Ms. LK attempted to make a motion to create a discipline committee that consisted of only her and the cat owners at the meeting to decide my "fate" based on the harassment she's faced. The motion didn't go anywhere. She argues that it is not fair for the board to be the judge and the jury - although she's now part of it. When it came time to conduct *actual* business on the agenda, like vote on applications, review correspondence, plan for our National Night Out even, and vote on executive session items, Ms. LK packed her belongings and walked out. Not without a parting shot at me, "Enjoy it while it lasts (name) because it won't last long."

Ms. LK has members upset that the HOA is paying for my attorney fees. My conduct, the board feels, was in good faith and in support of the business of the association. Ms. LK has folks thinking this is merely a "personal squabble." Ms. LK argues her attorney fees should be paid for too (but she's not represented), but the Board created a committee for this and that committee declined her request at the advice of counsel. At the RO hearing, she told the judge she feels my attorney should be "disbarred" (when she meant disqualified) from the case, because of a conflict of interest. Ms. LK could not identify for the judge what the conflict is.

Questions: If you're the chair of the meeting, what do you do? The director "doesn't like you" and doesn't listen to what you say. Aside from warn meeting attendees that they are in violation of the rules of meeting conduct and can be thrown out of the meeting, what can be done about this disruptive member / director during meetings? I know we always have the right to adjourn, but would you do that? We have real and legitimate business to do at these meetings, not just sit around and listen to people re-litigate the same points. Do we call the police? Do we pay for private security to sit in the room during a meeting?


--Daniel
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:3534


05/13/2019 10:19 AM  
YOU have serious issues, IMHO.

Been there, Done that
DanielM12
(California)

Posts:21


05/13/2019 10:21 AM  
Thanks. That's helpful. : )

--Daniel
SueW6
(Michigan)

Posts:492


05/13/2019 10:30 AM  
Get ahold of your meetings Ms President!!

The “cat issue” should not be on the agenda at all. Neither should the subject be brought up in any open forum (30 minutes is Waaaaay too ling)

You have other board members. What do they think of this board not being able to conduct meetings.

Either both of you come to an agreement about conducting board business, or you both could be removed by other board members. I wouldn’t blame them.

Consider resigning, too. You really need this kind of drama in your life?
LucindaL
(Delaware)

Posts:1


05/13/2019 10:38 AM  
Maybe I am over-simplifying, but instead of having an open forum for 30 minutes, could you ask that those who may have a topic to discuss submit that to the board ahead of time and then just respond. Having angry people take "mike" just leaves too much room for arguments and disruption. When questions or feedback arise out of your response to the pre-submitted topics, advise attendees that you will document their questions or feedback and either get back to them via email or follow-up at next meeting.
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:310


05/13/2019 10:39 AM  
Daniel,
Wow I feel sorry for you. It is going to be a long 2 years if it continues like this. I think once the Cat issue is behind the board she will probably resign since it appears like this is all she cares about. Have you checked Davis Sterling website regarding aggressive animals or Crazy Cat ladies?

How can you meet if she has a RO against you?
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:3534


05/13/2019 10:42 AM  
Mark

Daniel has a RO against the Cat Woman

Been there, Done that
JaredC
(Texas)

Posts:214


05/13/2019 11:16 AM  
Some people are crazy. Truly crazy.

First, if some cat attacked either me or my dog its life expectancy would be reduced to minutes. It's a shame that cat woman has no respect or empathy for others to whom she forces to suffer from the aggression of her out of control animal.

It's also very clear she has no problem harming the community to satisfy her unresolved anger issues. Vote her off the board. If she disrupts a meeting throw her out. Keep cats off the agenda and limit the open forum.
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:3534


05/13/2019 11:21 AM  
Sorry, I think the nut case is the poster. Who the hell walks their cat? I have had cats and they don't crap on a lawn like a down does. The poster copies her boss. He might have a lifespan in the minutes also.

Been there, Done that
AugustinD


Posts:1594


05/13/2019 11:29 AM  
Posted By DanielM12 on 05/13/2019 9:52 AM
At the conclusion of the February meeting, Ms. LK threatened me. As she departed, and even though it wasn't on the agenda, she said, "If you try to fine me I'll do everything I can to take you down." I viewed this as a threat so I called the police. I got a RO. We settled on a stipulation and order, no RO was granted. We went about our lives rather peacefully from there.

[... snip ...]

Fast forward to April, when Ms. LK sent a number of increasingly annoying emails to our association manager. Ms. LK demanded documents, but not allowing a reasonable time for the manager to produce them. Our association manager produced documents, but each time Ms. LK either changed her mind about what she needed or made up reasons why document production wasn't either fast enough or sufficient. Finally, Ms. LK started to copy our manager's boss because she claims our manager was acting illegally and unethically by siding with the board (Ms. LK viewed the slow document production as being impeded by me, but I had no idea it was even going on until I saw the last email). In a not so smart move, I replied to Ms. LK and copied her boss. I laid out the rules, the facts and defended our manager against Ms. LK's accusations. Ms. LK went back to court to get a RO against me. The court granted a temporary RO.

[...snip...]

We have real and legitimate business to do at these meetings, not just sit around and listen to people re-litigate the same points. Do we call the police? Do we pay for private security to sit in the room during a meeting?


First, I am betting the police said something like, 'No harm, no foul. This is a civil matter, not a criminal matter. See ya.' Correct, Daniel?

Second, I am not surprised OP Daniel was denied a permanent restraining order. But I want to know: Who paid for this restraining order? The HOA members? Or Daniel, did you pay out of your own pocket?

Third, what does the court stipulation and order against LK say?

Fourth, I am glad Daniel stated he knows it was not a smart move to cc LK's boss. Because this is incredibly over the line and could result in legal action against you and the HOA. The HOA's insurer would settle this in a New York Minute, because Daniel was so out of line. Daniel's cc'ing LK's boss is a vastly more serious action than LK cc'ing the manager's boss.

Fifth, if LK's subsequent temporary restraining order against Daniel had anything to do with Daniel's cc'ing LK's boss, then I would not blame LK at all. I do hope the temporary restraining order does not become more permanent. I mean, you really blew it, Daniel. But we all make mistakes.

Sixth, Daniel, I hear you that this person is a train wreck. I think you would benefit from witnessing how a highly experienced HOA president runs meetings. People here are giving good advice about sticking to an agenda and time limits. Somehow you need to re-train your neural networks and put all this nastiness behind you so you folks can at least have a constructive meeting. Meanwhile, there is no harm in hiring a security officer to escort out anyone disrupting the meeting. Put out a notice well in advance and then one more time stating the rules of conduct for board meetings The security officer cannot physically touch anyone. Do not abuse the power you have in asking the security officer to escort someone out. Do not gloat or state any parting shots. Try to be factual and take your ego out of exchanges with LK.

What a horrid situation. I think just about all here have been there. You're not alone, Daniel, but whew, when restraining orders start flying based on single events of a non-violent nature, and statements that are vague threats, things are really bad.
PatJ1
(North Carolina)

Posts:57


05/13/2019 12:39 PM  
Since OP is in California, Davis-Sterling has something to say:

https://www.davis-stirling.com/HOME/Cats-on-Leashes

DOMESTICATED-FERAL CATS

QUESTION: Our governing documents require that ALL pets be kept on a leash when visiting on common property areas. Some have the opinion that cats are considered wild animals and the leash laws do not apply.

ANSWER: Sorry, house cats are not wild animals.

Domesticated vs. Feral. House cats are also known as "domesticated" cats. Although the house cat and its closest wild relative both possess 38 chromosomes, they are genetically different and cannot interbreed. If raised with little or no human contact, house cats can become feral. Adult feral cats that never socialized with humans can rarely be socialized.

Leashes. As for leashes, boards can adopt their own "leash laws" apart from any that cities and counties might adopt. Boards can require that owners not allow their cats to roam about the property. If owners want to walk their cats, boards can require that cats be on leashes when in the common areas.

Board members are volunteers. Many have no idea what they're doing. Educate them. Don't beat them up.
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:3534


05/13/2019 1:07 PM  
Posted By PatJ1 on 05/13/2019 12:39 PM
Since OP is in California, Davis-Sterling has something to say:

https://www.davis-stirling.com/HOME/Cats-on-Leashes

DOMESTICATED-FERAL CATS

QUESTION: Our governing documents require that ALL pets be kept on a leash when visiting on common property areas. Some have the opinion that cats are considered wild animals and the leash laws do not apply.

ANSWER: Sorry, house cats are not wild animals.

Domesticated vs. Feral. House cats are also known as "domesticated" cats. Although the house cat and its closest wild relative both possess 38 chromosomes, they are genetically different and cannot interbreed. If raised with little or no human contact, house cats can become feral. Adult feral cats that never socialized with humans can rarely be socialized.

Leashes. As for leashes, boards can adopt their own "leash laws" apart from any that cities and counties might adopt. Boards can require that owners not allow their cats to roam about the property. If owners want to walk their cats, boards can require that cats be on leashes when in the common areas.



So that everyone realizes, that the above quote is NOT from the Davis-Stirling Act part of California Civil Code, but from a law firm that uses the domain name davis-stirling.com.

Being it is from an attorney, you'll probably get differing opinions from other lawyers.

Been there, Done that
CjC


Posts:177


05/13/2019 1:15 PM  
Our open forum is limited to 3 minutes per signed in speaker. Then we move to business and only business with no input from community.
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