R.A. from Fairfield County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Unfortunately, we recently had to vote on fining our neighbor for rules violation (this was after the notice and hearing, etc.). Our secretary records, by Board members name, who voted to fine, and who chose to abstain (as they wanted to avoid confrontation) and since this is a public record, other Board members, myself included, began to get uncomfortable. What is our flexibility when recording minutes and votes to fine? Can we “legally” say, 3 members voted for, 2 against, 2 abstained, as an example. Thank you. I think we are on the verge of losing our Board over that matter.
Mister Condo replies:
R.A., the business of neighbors voting to fine neighbors is never comfortable. Of course, neighbors behaving in such a way that such a vote is even necessary is also unfortunate and completely avoidable if the offender had only taken corrective measures and conducted him or herself in the manner in which they agreed when they purchased into the association. Serving on the Board does come with responsibilities and consequences. Recorded votes are association records, as you know. The rules on voting would indicate that more than just a tally is needed, meaning that the exact vote of each member should be recorded as a record of the association. Serving on a Board requires a bit of intestinal fortitude when it comes to voting, especially when it comes to voting on something as uniquely personal as a fine or punishment for a unit owner who has repeatedly defied compliance with the association. If Board members cannot vote on a matter and know there is a public record of that vote, serving on a Board may not be their cup of tea. No one volunteers to serve on a Board to fine their neighbors. People typically volunteer to serve because they care about their community being the best it can be. They wish to protect, maintain, and enhance their community. When one homeowner behaves in such a way that it has come to a vote by the Board to fine them, it is just part of the duty they volunteered for. If they leave the Board over this paltry matter, it is time to find some new Board Members. All the Best!