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Subject: Dealing with energetic yet difficult board member
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JackJ9


Posts:0


06/16/2021 7:52 AM  
On our board we have an energetic yet difficult board member. This board member wants to do good work and wants to volunteer, yet got into a verbal argument with one vendor causing that vendor to walk away from doing a particular job. This board member is not deterred and wants to be the project focal for more projects. This board member always wants the vendors to do more work, for free, beyond what is contracted. As board President, I'm not comfortable giving this person more tasks and having her work with vendors because I don't want the person to drive away more vendors or risk our relationship on more contracts.

As board president, it's my job to preside over the meetings and lead the discussions on who is the focal for the projects.

I'm a bit puzzled on what I should do in this situation. Your input would be appreciated.
KellyM3
(North Carolina)

Posts:1806


06/16/2021 8:19 AM  
Posted By JackJ9 on 06/16/2021 7:52 AM
On our board we have an energetic yet difficult board member. This board member wants to do good work and wants to volunteer, yet got into a verbal argument with one vendor causing that vendor to walk away from doing a particular job. This board member is not deterred and wants to be the project focal for more projects. This board member always wants the vendors to do more work, for free, beyond what is contracted. As board President, I'm not comfortable giving this person more tasks and having her work with vendors because I don't want the person to drive away more vendors or risk our relationship on more contracts.

As board president, it's my job to preside over the meetings and lead the discussions on who is the focal for the projects.

I'm a bit puzzled on what I should do in this situation. Your input would be appreciated.




I've experienced this identical situation and your ability to clearly communicate, in writing, as well as verbally will pay dividends.


First, if the Board of Directors notes that a director's interactions has caused a vendor to walk off the job, that's an "offense" to the HOA, not you personally. If you - as president - believe the vendor's frustration is justified, it's within your privileges to call that vendor as your community president and establish clear communication ground rules that the vendor can follow and the vendor can reliably know that those rules have your backing and the backing of the management company.

I had a new board member who was "energetic." Their interference in a project caused a contractor to halt work for a week. I - the president - called the vendor and established official communication channels which basically say "If you don't hear it from me or know that I confirm it (as the board deems), then it's unofficial or NOT AUTHORIZED. The vendor was told to notify me or the property manager if a board director's actions led to interference of the performance of the contracted service as no board director has that authority.

Second, HOA board directors are not necessarily "friends" and board functions, when things go awry, must be coordinated based on director expertise and NOT a director's want of a leadership task.

Summary - there is nothing puzzling. You have colleague who cannot properly manage projects or vendor relations. The aggrieved vendor needs to be contacted directly and given assurance of smoother communication, even if a deal or a project contract ultimately doesn't work out due to cost or job expectations. You can do that as the trusted president.

In fact, it's your duty to ensure the smooth operations even if it requires creating new contact points for projects. Your board director has violated the trust of the entire HOA. The director needs to be informed of the effects of their actions with vendors and the concern that raises (which you articulate accurately above). Remember, you were not there and have no role in a vendor's rejecting your relationship......you are only reacting the factual incident that, if unchecked, will hurt your community relationship with service providers. Trust me.



SteveR11
(Georgia)

Posts:16


06/16/2021 8:38 AM  
Jack,
You are a board president? Can you answer my Paint question I just posted? Or email me [email protected]
I have a question you may be able to answer.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:4291


06/16/2021 8:49 AM  
What Kelly said. I suspect you don't want to discourage this board member because she does have enthusiasm for the position, but that doesn't mean she has permission to do whatever and arguing with vendors isn't acceptable. Sometimes being board president means You may need to remind board members of this, so brace yourself to do what's necessary.

first, you need to meet with this board member privately and get her side of the story. Bring another board member to serve as a witness nor both of you and perhaps prevent this from going haywire. Sometimes people calm down when there are other people around.

Remind the board member of the protocol - I might also suggest she apologize to the vendor for her behavior. If she can't I'd refuses to, you should apologize to the vendor on behalf of the association. I'd also see what projects she might be interesting and later suggest to the rest of the board that she spearhead that project - that should keep her busy

During the next board meeting remind everyone of the protocol - you don't have to name names, but simply state this ensures there are no communication breakdowns. assuming you've been charged with being the liaison between the board and vendors. if not, this sort of thing is why it's usually a better idea to have your property manager serve as liaison (that's why you pay them).

This should be the protocol going forward - in another post you said you've been doing a lot of the liaison contacts with the vendors, so this would be an excellent way to transition out of this. Homeowners should also be told if they have questions or concerns about a vendor, notify the property manager, who can then refer the matter to the board for review.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8729


06/18/2021 7:29 PM  
Do not let this person deal with vendors, Jack. Honestly. Your Board could be liable for creating a "hostile workplace." Orders from this director also may conflict with the contract which can create bad feelings. In addition, vendors talk with one another. Word can sprad that your HOA is "difficult." You might lose good prospective vendors.

Find something for the energetic one to do that suits her talents and personality.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1601


06/18/2021 7:34 PM  
My take is that the OP doesn't want anyone else handling vendor issues and they are a micro-manager and don't like to delegate. I see it all the time unfortunately.
JackJ9


Posts:0


06/18/2021 8:05 PM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 06/18/2021 7:34 PM
My take is that the OP doesn't want anyone else handling vendor issues and they are a micro-manager and don't like to delegate. I see it all the time unfortunately.




I understand from your other posts that you do not live in an HOA controlled community, not on the board, and also not a property manager?

I volunteer my time, at no cost to the association, to see that our association dollars are spent effectively and our community receives benefit from the dues are paid to the association. Prior to my joining the board, our money was not being used well and our community was in a state of decay.

You are free to label me a micromanager or what not, but I do what I need to do for the job to get done and get done well. Our community looks much nicer as the result of the volunteer hours that I have contributed to our association.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1601


06/18/2021 8:26 PM  
Posted By JackJ9 on 06/18/2021 8:05 PM
Posted By MaxB4 on 06/18/2021 7:34 PM
My take is that the OP doesn't want anyone else handling vendor issues and they are a micro-manager and don't like to delegate. I see it all the time unfortunately.




I understand from your other posts that you do not live in an HOA controlled community, not on the board, and also not a property manager?

I volunteer my time, at no cost to the association, to see that our association dollars are spent effectively and our community receives benefit from the dues are paid to the association. Prior to my joining the board, our money was not being used well and our community was in a state of decay.

You are free to label me a micromanager or what not, but I do what I need to do for the job to get done and get done well. Our community looks much nicer as the result of the volunteer hours that I have contributed to our association.



Actually, you ae wrong. I lived in a HOA for 7 years, was the Board president in fact. I own a HOA property management company with 50 clients. I worked for three management companies managing over 120 clients in 6 years.
AugustinD


Posts:1920


06/19/2021 5:23 AM  
My suggestions:

-- The Board should immediately start voting on which director interacts with which vendor. All directors should be reminded that their duties are only as delegated by the Board. Legally, it is the Board (or its majority) that makes vending decisions.

-- Votes to suspend a director's interactions with a vendor should also happen as needed.

-- All votes shall start with a motion, a second, discussion, and then the vote. Votes should be recorded in Minutes.

-- The Board's and every director's actions have to be in the best interests of the HOA/COA. To let this director continue in her duties is not in the HOA's best interests.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10590


06/19/2021 7:38 AM  
I would suggest making rules when dealing with Vendors. Rules the HOA has to follow and the vendor. Make it clear.

1. Vendors MUST be licensed/insured. If a permit needs to be issued make sure it is understood whom must file it. Sometimes the HOA may need to do it in certain situations.
2. 3 bid rule on ALL vendors. Even if you going to keep your PM/MC, it is always good to make them re-bid every year. This allows both sides to re-negotiate the terms and make changes.
3. Only 1 POC to contact with the vendor. Now that does not mean that POC does not "run the show". It means that POC is the one that the vendor can contact so that POC can come back to the board. It will be the board decision to agree to changes or add/substract work.
4. Make sure it is understood how the HOA works with vendors. That Vendors need to understand they are working with a GROUP of people NOT the POC. That means the Vendor just can't randomly decide what they want the job to be. Like "well I was doing this I found this...etc.." It has to be understood there may be a time lag before that "extra" is agreed upon at all.
5. Verify the contract terms. Like make sure if it's a set price or not. Now a days with the prices in home improvement items some vendors are putting in "escalation" terms. This may be perfectly acceptable and understandable. However, must KNOW that is in the contract. Sometimes "set price" contracts are hard. Just keep an eye on your vendor if you start noticing they are adding "paint brushes" to the job. This is THEIR business expense why pay for a painting companies supplies if it's not something like paint?


I think establishing the rules you all want to deal with when coming to vendors. Give it structure. That way anyone can do the job.

Former HOA President
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1601


06/19/2021 9:49 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 06/19/2021 5:23 AM
The Board's and every director's actions have to be in the best interests of the HOA/COA. To let this director continue in her duties is not in the HOA's best interests.




We are taking the word of one person, who happens to be the issue. He has the issues, NOT the Board.
AugustinD


Posts:1920


06/19/2021 10:27 AM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 06/19/2021 9:49 AM
We are taking the word of one person, who happens to be the issue. He has the issues, NOT the Board.
"We" do not have all the facts. I am taking the OP at his word. Furthermore, the OP has already been cautioned about acting as if his decisions are the board's decisions and so on.
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