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Subject: BODs With No Spine
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JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9678


07/26/2020 12:59 PM  
It seems lately we are seeing more posts from BOD Members that are running scared based on some idle threats by a few owners.

Our BOD always tries to work out any issues we have with an owner(s), but as soon as anyone threatens legal action we say: Sorry but as you threatened legal action, on the advice of our attorney we can no longer communicate directly with you on this issue and we will be turning this matter over to our attorney for his attention.

Also when an owner threatens to stop payments we immediately inform them that if they do, a lien could be placed on their home, followed by foreclosure. So far, no one that threatened to stop payments did.

Knock on wood, but the 2-3 that threatened such actions in the last few years or so soon apologized to the BOD typically by saying they were upset and would not pursue legal action or stop payments. Our BOD tries to be very fair, understanding, and helpful. When wrong, we admit it and move on. But when challenged, we do not back down.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2902


07/26/2020 2:04 PM  
John,

Yeah - it does seem like we are hearing more wrt these sorts of owners ...

I like your approach - clean, easy to remember - and, it immediately provides a point of reference for an owner that the next step is up to them, and it certainly infers their next step will require money - probably lots of it.

They also lose their audience.

An interesting side question might be - given they make the statement, the Board - president, etc, responds appropriately - what happens when they show up at the next Board meeting? Given the circumstances would the Board ask the attorney (Florida requirement) to be present so the Board can conduct executive session without the member - this seems too early? Or, would the Board simply repeat the statement, noting they would not be addressing the circumstance, and that the owner, based on the statements already made, is out of order - and, then move on with other business?
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:1120


07/26/2020 2:13 PM  
If a board is afraid of owner threats, that tells me that they're not confident that they know what they're doing. The solution for that is education and experience. Our usual response to threats was "bring it on", but if we weren't sure about the issues, we'd ask our attorney.

I've noticed that people seem to be extra cranky lately, so I'm not surprised we're seeing more questions about this. I blame covid.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9678


07/26/2020 2:28 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 07/26/2020 2:04 PM
John,

Yeah - it does seem like we are hearing more wrt these sorts of owners ...

I like your approach - clean, easy to remember - and, it immediately provides a point of reference for an owner that the next step is up to them, and it certainly infers their next step will require money - probably lots of it.

They also lose their audience.

An interesting side question might be - given they make the statement, the Board - president, etc, responds appropriately - what happens when they show up at the next Board meeting? Given the circumstances would the Board ask the attorney (Florida requirement) to be present so the Board can conduct executive session without the member - this seems too early? Or, would the Board simply repeat the statement, noting they would not be addressing the circumstance, and that the owner, based on the statements already made, is out of order - and, then move on with other business?




No one has shown up and questioned us. If they did show up by themself and question us, then our first line of defense would be we already went around on this and made our ruling so let us move on.

If they showed up with an attorney and unannounced to us, I would advise the BOD not to respond until we had legal representation ourselves and hand it off to our attorney.

There are so many loose ends and possible legalities in running an association, that I personally would not be on a BOD playing any type of games especially when I considered such as improper and/or illegal. Stupidity is one thing. Illegal is another. I think most BOD's get in trouble out of stupidity and trying to play a game in a "league" they do not belong in versus purposeful illegal actions.

The BOD takeover that I spoke of earlier came about as a result of the President advising the BOD not to listen to their own attorney concerns about a gathering lawsuit about denial of all ARC Requests for outbuildings/sheds. Their own attorney said if sued he could not in good conscious, represent the BOD on as they were wrong on the issue. The Pres wanted to fire the attorney and get one that agreed with him. This was the straw that broke the camel's back.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3358


07/27/2020 12:46 PM  
Indeed. I agree with Cathy that angst over COVID is driving a lot of this, along with the ensuing fallout (millions of people out of work, worrying if it's safe to send the kids back to school and what to do if school's closed and you can't stay home to watch them). That, along with people's usual tendencies to think and act as if the sun rises and sets on their behind and everyone has to think and do as they say because they can.

This is why I think board education is so important, and training on getting along with difficult people and de-escalation techniques is just as important as learning about budgeting, how to read a balance sheet, and proper use of proxies. Even then, you will have people on both sides that will try you, which is why you have to stay calm and not back down.

It's one thing to explain things to people, but some people will not accept what's being said, even if it's accurate. Well, yelling at me won't change the issue and I really hate being threatened. At that point, I stop listening and end the conversation. When you calm down, we'll talk. If you threaten a lawsuit, bring it and we'll see who wins. That's another reason why I document the hell out of stuff when necessary because I don't like to lose (and it's fun watching people getting their ass handed to them)
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3358


07/27/2020 1:11 PM  
Well, bad bahavior works both ways and has to be addressed, so it's easier to let everyone know what's expected on both sides.

We've heard of board members who cuss out their colleagues, threaten homeowners, and try to do things on their own without anyone's checks and balances because...they're president, treasurer or have simply been on the board longer than anyone else and think they know everything.

We also have homeowners (from where board members are birthed) who haven't learned to play well with others and throw shit fits all over the place when they're told that even THEY must apply for exterior change requests and wait their turn to speak because someone else is trying to make a point.

It's a shame you have to tell grown people how to act in a cordial and professional manner - something they should have learned when they were in grade school. We also live in a time when too many people resolve their issues with gunfire, whether they're shooting up someone's car or crunk out and let loose at a movie theater, church or Wal-Mart.

I don't mind you disagreeing with me, but if you can't make your point without screaming, cursing, or threatening everyone, I'm less inclined to listen to what you have to say because it's buried under the other stuff. You may feel decent and in order is for Nazis, but if you're rather have meetings run like a free for all where nothing gets done (because no one's listening), enjoy yourself.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7397


07/27/2020 2:23 PM  
It's often difficult to know, Sheila, to what or whom MarkW is referring. Or even what "Nazi ways" are.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7397


07/27/2020 4:25 PM  
What a surprise. MarkW speaks French.
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