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Subject: Ineffective Board Member - How to Approach?
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ValerieS
(Georgia)

Posts:19


04/28/2006 9:11 AM  
I am the president of an association in GA (we are barely 2 yrs old) and we recently sent a violation notice for a swing set without privacy fence as our Rules & Regulations requires. The homeowner got mad and refused to comply (we conceded and grandfathered in her swing set with a modification request form inaccurately approved by our previous management company without Board approval). Anyway, she was mad and for the first time she came to quarterly meeting. She volunteered to assist on the Board. We accepted as we only had 3 members at the time. Well, in the 2 months since, she has been nothing but divisive and negative and condescending. She and I have gone back and forth in about 5-6 emails. This week she made contact with a disgruntled homeowner with whom I have been communicating. Previously he was frustrated and wanting clarification. Now he is negative and nasty. He has made references to "bickering" and "negativity", etc. All of which came from this board member. Her presence has been ineffective and counterproductive. My plan is to schedule a board meeting next week (a week before the next quarterly HOA meeting)to address this board member. I need her to understand that her actions were unethical and inappropriate. I also intend to let her know that such behavior will not be tolerated and if it ever happens again, she will be immediately dismissed. Do you all agree or is there some other course of action that should be taken?
RogerB
(Colorado)

Posts:5067


04/28/2006 9:38 AM  
Valerie, I disagree with your approach. Have you considered you have personalities that clash? I suggest you discuss this with other Board members outside a meeting and use a positive approach to resolve the conflicts.

Rather than:
"I need her to understand that her actions were unethical and inappropriate. I also intend to let her know that such behavior will not be tolerated and if it ever happens again, she will be immediately dismissed."

Consider this approach:
I need to understand what motivates her; and the Board can establish procedures to follow.

Also, I doubt you have authority to remove a Board member- check your By-laws.
ValerieS
(Georgia)

Posts:19


04/28/2006 10:39 AM  
RogerB, this is not a matter of personalities this is a business. I believe that personalities will always differ but business is business and should be treated as such.

The other board members have expressed the same concerns. We have attempted the passive positive reinforcement appraoch and we would like to continue in that vein. However, it is important that she is aware that such behavior is unethical and that it should never happen again. Our HOA borad has a Code of Ethics guidelines. Also, as the president, I have the authority to discharge a board member; our Declaration of Covenants makes provision for such.

I have also consulted with the Community Association Institute and they have agreed. They indicate that the problem must be addressed swiftly allowing her the opportunity to explain but emphatically making it known that such behavior will not be tolerated.

Thank you for your suggestions.
DavidM2
(California)

Posts:4


04/28/2006 11:19 AM  
Valerie,

Consider the fact that she was asked by the Board to volunteer. Was she elected to the board by the members as required by your governing docs? If not, you may be able to "thank" her for her service, but let her know that she is no longer needed as a volunteer and let her go that way.

David
ValerieS
(Georgia)

Posts:19


04/30/2006 11:15 AM  
Very good point. She was not elected - she volunteered and we accepted. Thanks!
LuciusD


Posts:0


04/30/2006 8:24 PM  
Why are you "consulting" everyone except your governing documents and your attorney? If the board appointed this person to fill a vacancy in accordance with your documents, then you must remove her in accordance with your governing documents or deal with her on your board. Usually, a board does not have the option to remove a director without major consent of the membership.
ValerieS
(Georgia)

Posts:19


04/30/2006 8:50 PM  
Thank you LuciusD for your reply. However, we have "consulted" with our legal department and we reviewed our governing documents prior to that. We are aware that we (the board) can remove her. However, my question on this site was how to approach because that is not our desire (to immediately remove her) but to discuss the issue. If I am not mistaken, this website was designed for us to ask questions and get different perspectives. Thus, the reason that I am "consulting" others. Thanks again, for your reply.

ValerieS
AnthonyD3
(Arizona)

Posts:8


05/09/2006 7:33 PM  
Here is another perspective, a board of directors does not have to agree but work for the good of the community. can it possibly be that she can be right in her assessment and dismissing her is an easy way to remove ant differing views
DavidM2
(California)

Posts:4


05/10/2006 7:46 AM  
Here is my lowely opinion. is that the BOD does in fact have to come to a majority agreement. This must be done with an approach that allows for differing opinions, it is true, However, one individual CAN NOT acy as the entire Board, and it is, in fact, unethical to try to be devisive when a common agreement is what is required. If she can not work for the common good within the rules and proceedures that are laid out, then let her show up at the meetings but remove her from the board!
TomJ
(Arizona)

Posts:42


05/10/2006 9:42 PM  
Valerie, that is one reason we have a management company. It stops some of the confrontations between board members and homeowners.

Our MC leaves a lot to be disires though and I would change in a minute.

In Arizona if the board does not enforce the CC&Rs homeowners are allowed to sue to get them enforced.

Check your state laws on this.
ValerieS
(Georgia)

Posts:19


05/11/2006 8:53 PM  
You are correct. The "Board of Directors does not have to agree..." However, the board of directors must 1. exercise discretion in a reasonable manner, which is in the best interest of the community 2.keep confidential community issues discussed among the board and management company confidential.

This particular board member contacted a disgruntled homeowner and divulged confidential information in an effort to discredit the efforts being made in the community.

Unfortunately the perspective offered is grossly inacurate. Nevertheless, thanks for the comment.
ValerieS
(Georgia)

Posts:19


05/11/2006 9:01 PM  
DavidM2 - The concern among the board is that she has some hidden agenda and that she may do more harm than good for the community. We have so much apathy in our community and we can not afford to have this type behavior negatively affecting our attempts for consistency with respect to our community guidelines.

However, we decided not to remove her immediately but to have a meeting and discuss our Code of Ethics as a Board. She has signed her ethics statement and we will see how it goes. Thanks!
ValerieS
(Georgia)

Posts:19


05/11/2006 9:06 PM  
TomJ - Yes, we have a management company and they handle most homeowner issues except those items that require Board approval. However, this is not just a homeowner, she is a very new board member that came on after being angry about receiving a violation notice. This can not be handled by the MC but rather by the Board.

In any event, we decided not to remove her immediately but to have a meeting and discuss our Code of Ethics as a Board. She has signed her ethics statement and we will see how it goes. Thanks!
RogerB
(Colorado)

Posts:5067


05/12/2006 7:22 AM  
Tom, your statement "In Arizona if the board does not enforce the CC&Rs homeowners are allowed to sue to get them enforced." Are you sure about this? If so, what is the logic?

In HOA Declarations and Articles of Incorporation of which I am aware the purpose is to maintain property values and safety and quality of life. Thus a basic requirement for those HOAs is to enforce the CC&Rs. It seems to me that such a law would undermine the reason to have a HOA.
TomJ
(Arizona)

Posts:42


05/12/2006 8:59 PM  
In not being able to sue, how else could a homeowner force the board to enforce all CC&Rs? Some members only want to enforce weed control, others parking and other board members have stated "it doesn't bother me" when an Architectural Request was being voted on that clearly violated the CC&Rs. One case was a play scape visible over the common fence and prohibited by the CC&Rs.

Our CC&Rs require an interest payment on over due assessments. But our Management Company refuses to collect it. The words of the agent was "it isn't going to happen". So far no one has gone to the effort to sue because we finally have our deliquent assessment under $2500 from about $10,000.
RogerB
(Colorado)

Posts:5067


05/13/2006 7:45 AM  
Tom, what was I thinking? I apologize, of course you can sue the Board for failing to do their fiduciary duty. But rather than sue it would be better IMHO to remove the negligent Board members and fire the MC if they are not preforming. Not charging some for late charges in totaly unacceptable; and having $2500 in delinquent assessments is bad using my standards.
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