Good Governance by the Condo Board Does Not Include Yelling!

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J.D. from Litchfield County writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

How long before a board has to have a special meeting when the president/manager has been removed for being unregistered with the state of Connecticut? Also, we are being forced to endure unjust insults and accusations because the board is all friends. Do we have recourse under the D&O Policy? My wife ‘s health is diminishing due to the direct yelling from the board at all meetings. Thank you for all your help.

Mister Condo replies:

J.D., I apologize for the backlog of questions that has prevented me from getting to your question sooner. I hope this situation has resolved itself by now but let’s take a closer look at the problem and the remedy. It sounds like you have a rather contentious Board and a Property Manager registration matter to boot. Of course, I am sorry for your wife’s diminished health. Even in good health, no one should be subjected to insults and accusations because of association governance issues. Sounds like everyone needs to stand back and take a deep breath.

As you know, the Board is comprised of volunteer leaders from within the community. Your condo documents who is eligible to serve and what steps are needed to remove folks from office if they aren’t performing properly in their role as a volunteer leader. For the most part, community association volunteers mean well in their service. However, there are some that are never educated as to what they can and can’t do as volunteer leaders and that leads to problems like insults and accusations at Board meetings. Nowhere in your documents or in the Common Interest Ownership Act (CIOA) will you find a clause about using bullying techniques to conduct association business.

I am a little concerned about your use of the term “president/manager”. In most condos these are two different people. The president of the Board is the elected leader of the Board and does not require licensing with the state. The manager of the association is a paid professional who does require licensing. If your manager is the president of the Board, then licensing is not required. That would fall into the category of self-managed condominium. Is that your situation?

I am going to assume your association had hired a manager and later found out that manager was unlicensed and, therefore, removed by the Board. The Board does need to replace the manager in short order or the association’s day-to-day business will likely suffer. However, I am not aware of any requirement that they do it within a certain amount of time or at a special meeting of the Board. In fact, if the Board meets monthly (or even quarterly) it can be dealt with at the next regularly scheduled Board meeting. The Board can, at their discretion, hold a special meeting provided they follow the rules and proper noticing of the meeting to do so.

As for coverage under your Directors and Officers insurance plan (D&O), I don’t think that would apply. Insurance is usually in place to cover a loss or legal expense. You didn’t mention that the association suffered a financial loss over these issues so I wouldn’t think a claim would be in order. You can speak with your association’s insurer to confirm if you would like.

I certainly hope your Board can remove some of the dysfunction that seems to be occurring. I would recommend that they attend an upcoming training program from the local Chapter of the Community Associations Institute (CAI). There is an upcoming event this weekend in Glastonbury. You can read more at http://www.caict.org/events/EventDetails.aspx?id=744276

Good luck!

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