S.M. from Middlesex County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
The Annual election of Board members at our condo was scheduled for the end of September but was postponed by a Board member. When we questioned a different member of the board we were told that the reason for the postponement was that we are waiting for the new Management Company to start. Our previous Management Company (4th in 6 yrs!) was fired because a Board Member had a fight with the person working for said Management Company. She convinced the other Board Members to hire yet another Management Company. What does that have to do with our election? I think that this Board Member knows she will be voted off and does not want to give up her power. Many people are afraid of her. What can we do to get the election back on track?
Mister Condo replies:
S.M., democracy delayed is democracy denied! You and your fellow condo unit owners have every right to DEMAND that the election of Board members be held as soon as possible. Regardless of reason, voting for the volunteers that will represent you on the condo’s Board of Directors is a fundamental right guaranteed to you in your condo’s documentation (by-laws and CCRs). The Management Company has nothing to do with the election of Board Members.
The Secretary of the Board needs to set the date and call a special meeting for the democratic election of Board Members as soon as possible. Keep in mind that reasonable notice must be given so a two week window may be needed from the time the Secretary is notified and the date of the actual meeting. If the Secretary is unwilling or unable, check your by-laws for the next step. Most likely a unit owner (like you) would call the special meeting; keeping in mind that due process must be followed. If you are uncertain as to the correct steps, consult with an attorney who specialized in community association law.
The reality is that the simple act of demanding that your voting rights be respected may be enough to cause the Board to act. However the meeting gets called the rapid turnover of Management Companies and the poor leadership of existing Board Members as you’ve described, I would suggest to you that it is time for a change. You need educated, informed, and involved volunteers to serve on your Board. A person that people are “afraid of” has no business getting reelected. Of course, that means concerned unit owners like yourself need to take action and run for seats on the Board and be sure you have enough votes to vote the wrongdoers out of office. Otherwise, you and your fellow condo unit owners can expect more of the same. Good luck!