S.D. from New Haven County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
A Board member is having the association’s lawn care company do extra work for her at her home after making a statement that no unit owners can get extra work done. She is stealing hours from our lawn company and getting extra work done at their home. It was confirmed with the lawn care company and they are afraid if they don’t do all of this extra work, they will be replaced by her at the end of the contract. No one likes her on the Board. She is miserable, rude to others, and causes havoc with other board members. Can we remove her due to her irresponsibility with fiduciary responsibilities having the lawn care company do all this work at her home and no others? Can we kick her off the board for this?
Mister Condo replies:
S.D., that is quite an accusation and so many players to keep track of! Let me try and break this down into a few simple statements and see if I can offer some practical advice. If a Board member is receiving preferential treatment for her lawn and has threatened the lawn care company with cancellation of the association lawn care contract if they don’t give her that service, she is breaking the law. Not the association’s rules but the state law. As long as the lawn care company is willing to testify against her, she can be charged and likely arrested. A quick call or email to the State’s Attorney office may just bring you the justice you seek. I’m guessing it won’t be quite that simple.
If no one on the Board likes her, how does she continue to run for the Board and win at election time? If she is as unpopular and unlikeable as you claim she is, simply nominate a better person to run for the Board and remove her from office at your next election. Of course, be prepared to fill that Board vacancy with a concerned and conscientious candidate. Perhaps, you would like to volunteer your time to serve your community?
Finally, I don’t want to overlook the lawn care company. You’ve accused this Board member of stealing from the community by forcing the lawn care company to do extra work on her property. The lawn care company has said they are complicit in this scheme. S.D., it takes two to tango. While I admire the lawn care company for admitting that they are uncomfortable with the arrangement, by providing her extra service at association expense they are actually the ones who are stealing from your association. Their contract is most likely quite specific as to what services they will provide and how those services will be delivered. It sounds to me like they are also breaking rules just to keep the contract. Does that sound like the kind of company you want your association to do business with?
S.D., I hope your community looks beautiful and that the lawn care company is doing their job keeping it green and attractive. I think you need to do a little weeding of your own, though, and remove the offensive Board member at your next election and contact the authorities if you are certain the law has been broken. Good luck!