B.C. from Los Angeles County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Does a board president have the power to unilaterally discount or forbid other board members from voting on an issue? In this case, the president insists these other officers have a conflict of interest. However, it seems more like it is because he foresees an argument against his own position.
Mister Condo replies:
B.C., technically, no one but the Board member him- or herself should make the decision on whether or not they should abstain from a vote based on a conflict of interest. Unless your governing documents give the President to make such a decision, he or she is overstepping their authority. What do the other Board members say? If I was told that I couldn’t vote for any reason, I would speak up. What are they doing? If they agree that they have a conflict of interest and the President has merely pointed out their conflict and they have agreed to abstain from voting, I see no problem. But if the President has unilaterally decided that they cannot vote, there is cause for concern. The Board members being denied need to speak up and perhaps even sue the President for violating their rights under the association’s governing documents. They are democratically elected Board members. Silencing their right to vote is silencing the association members’ right to participate in their own governance. Good luck!