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Subject: Noxious weed control & noxious county employee
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GregM14
(Washington)

Posts:77


08/14/2021 12:05 PM  
We discovered we have a noxious weed outbreak on our community property on June 23rd. I contacted the county noxious weed control board for some technical resources on how to handle the infestation and what we should do. The guy I talked to said it's rather pointless for HOAs to tackle the problem because our boards are in constant flux, but I told him I would see what I could do.

On August 12, he tersely send me an e-mail saying our outbreak is out of control and needs to be taken care of right away (like in 2-3 days), and informs me that I need to start walking the property and inspecting for weeds on a regular basis. I asked about cost share programs, and also to present accurate information for the other board members, asked what the consequences of us deciding no action. I explained that we likely would not take a no action route, but knowing all alternatives would be helpful for our decision making progress.

He then became unglued at me, informs me that I have a legal duty to care, and fabricates a story where he decides I personally made conscientious decision to let the weeds grow. (His story was wrong about what happened, but as written, makes it sound like I am personally liable for the weeds.) He then sends me copies of all of the applicable state laws, including one where he details the process that I can be removed from the board and threatens that I am in violation of that statute!

Further, he starts to investigate my background on the internet, where he finds out the previous roles that I have held in the association and how I am responsible for weed management in those roles, and thus, the fact the weeds are growing does fall indeed on my shoulders.

I'm flabbergasted that a county employee is threatening to have me removed from the homeowners association board of directors because I asked what the consequences of the board taking a "no action" route. I'm further flabbergasted that he took time out of his workday to investigate my background and use county resources to figure out my history so he could make a case that I'm responsible for the weeds.

Just wondering if anyone here has any experience with stuff like this? I can say that I will never talk with the county agency again.
GregM14
(Washington)

Posts:77


08/14/2021 12:08 PM  
The state is Washington, not south carolina btw.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11665


08/14/2021 1:22 PM  
Greg

Initial problem is you opened communication with him. He does appear rude and very pushy. I think he overstepped his authority which many bureaucrats do. There is no way he can remove you from the BOD. Also it appears your association is responsible for removing the weeds.

The way I would handle it is go over his head especially by complaining to a politician. Bureaucrats usually run from pressure by politicians.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:1466


08/14/2021 5:44 PM  
Do you have a landscaper? It is time to get on them and start weed abatement.
AugustinD


Posts:1920


08/14/2021 7:36 PM  
Posted By GregM14 on 08/14/2021 12:05 PM
He then sends me copies of all of the applicable state laws, including one where he details the process that I can be removed from the board and threatens that I am in violation of that statute!
-- One mistake is in asserting that you alone control the Board's decisions. Legally this is not so.

-- I think the guy erred again when he claimed he could have you removed from the board. I suspect the only way to remove a director from a board is via an owners' vote to recall the director, or possibly via the HOA's attorney instructing the Board that xyz crime (or similar) that the director did demands that he/she be removed.

-- I would check the county web site to see if there is a way to email complaints about employees. This guy is being ignorant and unprofessional, all on the taxpayers' dollar. I would consider submitting a complaint describing what he said and the facts above. I would request that your complaint be submitted to this employee's supervisor.

-- If you cannot find an email address for complaints to the county, write your county commissioner and ask for her or his advice.

-- I would think the chances are high that this county employee has other complaints. Put enough of them together, and maybe he will at least be moved out of a job where he interacts with the public.

-- You're a volunteer. You do not need this abuse.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:4290


08/15/2021 8:43 AM  
There should be sort of county agency that addresses citizen complaints about the conduct of government employees. Each department may have a specific person that does this or there may be a separate agency that handles such complaints for the entire county. Do some Googling or call your county's general number to see who you should contact and then do it.

Personally I wouldn't worry about the man's threats since you know he doesn't have the power to do this. You're a taxpayer and have the right to contact any government agency with questions or concerns. That said, I'm not so sure Why he'd go through the trouble of looking up your history with your HOA - wonder if he ran his mouth to a friend who lives in your community who then gave him the information (perhaps that person is upset with you and wants to create drama).

You'll probably never find out for certain, so for now focus on the man's lack of professionalism - once his supervisor sees this, you probably won't need to worry about this again. In fact, I suspect this wasn't the first time the man drunker out - this may turn out to be the thing that gets him sacked.
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