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Elections from Hell

From years of experience, unit owners and board members can justify anything. Board members who take compensation for serving on the board or who make sure that their building is always first in line for repairs can find relatively legitimate reasons for everything they do – e.g. they are saving the association money by doing the job that a property manager would do but for only ½ of the pay.  Of course, these same board member who complain about all of the work they do on the board also fight like hell when someone runs against them.  If your association has such a board member, and you don’t believe that you can have them removed before the election, then they must be defeated at the annual meeting.  It will be a battle, so prepare: have the short sentences that explain why you are running (the theme of your election), say what you will do, not what the current volunteers are doing wrong, and go get proxies and enlist others to help you get proxies from everyone. 

You can expect that the incumbent board member will also be seeking proxies, will write and say negative comments about you or your group and tell all of the unit owners everything they have done for the association while they have been on the board. These types of board members scare me, and they should scare you.  They are in it for themselves because they lack the ability or willingness to understand servant leadership.  They will attack people at meetings, instead of thanking people for attending and expressing their concerns.  They will make other ideas (ideas other than their own) out as ill-conceived or ignorant, instead of finding something positive to say and incorporating other people’s ideas just because they can while understanding that getting others involved actually strengthens your association.

This blog can’t possibly list all of the ways that self-centered board members can oppress others or reward themselves, but it is one of those things that you know it when you see it and often falls under the category of the “devil is in the details.” Specifically, when you break down what they are doing (or not doing) and how they are doing it, it appears to be more about getting credit for doing things as opposed to actually improving the association.  Another way you will know that your board has one or more of those persons on it is that when you talk to them you get the feeling that the sign at the door should say “Welcome to Hell.”  So if you are elected onto such a board or you have won an election to replace such a board, start day one:  bring a sign that states “Welcome Home” and embrace the concept in all that you and the board do.  It will truly change the way the Board and the residents interact and it will make your board position enjoyable.

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