What would you do ? HOA Board Member Question

Here is the situation. A few years ago I volunteered to serve on the HOA board of directors, since they needed bodies. Up until now everything has been good for the most part. All of the board members get along, and we have been doing what we need to do, with no politics involved. However, that is about to change.

There is one long-time resident of the community who had served on the board for something like thirty out of the thirty-five years or so of the community’s existence. However, a few years ago, shortly before I came on board, he resigned from the board because he wasn’t getting his way on one issue. In my opinion, this was a very minor point and not worth quitting over, but it was his way or the highway and he walked.

During his time on the board he did not like to spend money at all, and a lot of things that should have been done during that time did not get done. We are now dealing with many of those issues, since they can not be put off any longer, and are paying now for the inaction over the years. The former agent for the management company told me that she thought the board needed new blood, and she was specifically thinking of him.

Well, this person now has decided he wants to serve on the board again. He did not run in the most recent election, which really did not matter since they never have enough members vote to meet the minimum requirement. Thus, for practical purposes, the only way to get appointed to the board is by vote of the existing members. The latest I have heard is that he wants to be appointed at the next meeting.

There are currently three members and two open positions. The first member is this person’s daughter-in-law, She has only been on the board for about a year and we all work well together. However, she could be expected to support him if he is appointed. She said that we need to appoint him at the next meeting.

The second person is another long-time resident who has been on the board for a long number of years. She has not said it directly to me, but reading between the lines she really does not want this person appointed again. She has talked about how he would probably oppose much of the work that needs to be done, and she also mentions how he had quit earlier. Her implied message is that if I vote against appointing him she will join me. She told the other member that we are not going to just appoint him as a formality but would interview him like any other person who wanted to join the board.

So, that is where I am. On one hand, I would prefer that this person not be on the board for the above reasons. On the other hand, he is a resident of the community in good standing and I really don’t see any valid reason to oppose his membership, other than I do not agree with many of his positions.

The easiest way out would be for another former board member to rejoin. He came on board just before me and stepped down last year. He was very critical of how the necessary work was not done, and he especially focuses on this one person. If he would join too, that would give a third member not tied to this person. However, he has no interest. And, if both of them did join I could see some acrimony between the two of them.

So, what would you all do if you were in my position?

So if he rejoins the board, you could almost consider the daughter to vote with him on almost everything? But the board could still spend the money required if you guys had a majority of votes? I’d say let the guy interview and possibly win a vote to rejoin the board, but he’s entitled to nothing.

I can speak first hand about a neighborhood that spends money versus one that won’t fix stuff. I’m not on the HOA but my neighborhood has installed security cameras, wifi at the pool, we keep up the tennis courts. We have an added expense that other neighborhoods don’t, we had to redo a dam for a small lake we have. Other neighborhoods around me have less dues but their 25 year old recreation spaces look weathered. Our home values are closer to the million dollar homes next door while the neighborhoods with cheaper HOAs are closer to 400k mark, and our homes are similar sizes and styles.

Come to think of it, we had a similar situation with old vs new blood on HOA. 5 years ago somebody wanted to paint their brick home and it was shot down. An old coot left the board last year and now 3 or 4 homes with painted brick are some of the nicest in the hood. I’m having my house painted this week.

With multiple open spots, it seems like the easiest choice would be to make sure there are more candidates, so it’s slightly less personal if you reject this guy.

That is easier said than done. The long-time member has tried recruiting others, with no success. She was really hoping that the other former board member that I mentioned would rejoin. No success.

When I joined I intended to not serve longer than three years. When I was growing up our church had a rule that nobody could serve on the church council for more than three consecutive years. You could come back after being off for one year, but you couldn’t stay on continuously. I think that was a good idea, and I was going to follow it. However, at the end of my third year they still needed a body, and the long-term board member persuaded me to stay. So, I am in year 4 now.

It would be a total of four, which could make for a 2-2 split if he and his daughter-in-law vote one way and the others the other way. I don’t know what would happen in that case. In my first few years on the board there were four members, but we never had a 2-2 split on any issues. We usually hashed it out and got a consensus.

I assume the Daughter in law lives separate… in a different house.
Could you make a list of the required improvements and vote on them before holding a vote on new Members.

Correct. Two separate units.

We have already done the budget for 2022. However, the necessary work goes beyond that. And, even though the budget is in place, we would still have to formally vote to select a specific vendor/contractor and authorize them to do the work.

I can tell you that you get a totally different perspective sitting on the board. I lived here for sixteen years before I served on the board.

It’ll make for vigorous debate, and the most persuasive one will win. Really it’ll be give and take, and if he doesn’t get his way then perhaps he’ll resign again.

That is true. However, my gut feeling is that his daughter-in-law will vote with him. From what I can see, with the current board she is pretty open-minded. and not a total clone of her father-in-law. However, this guy can be pretty demanding, and I could see her voting lock-step with him just to keep the family peace. I don’t see him doing the same.

With this guy there doesn’t seem to be much give. The issue that he resigned over was the entry code for the front gate. He decided there should be no entry code at all, period, but this would not work since vendors need one to get in. The other board members tried to work with him on some type of compromise, but he would not budge. I was not there myself, but later on I heard the members who were there talk about it, and you could tell from their voices how exasperated they got dealing with him on that issue.

The difference this time would be if he has his daughter-in-law as a reliable vote to force a split vote, he may not be as inclined to resign

That’s a pretty dumb thing to fight over. I’d try to keep him off the board but ultimately you may not have a choice. Family will stick together, I’d use that as a reason to keep him off.

I read all the posts on this thread and the only advice I can give is that’s what you get for volunteering.

But seriously, it doesn’t sound like the guy can be reasoned with and if he does rejoin the board you’ll be stuck with a 2-2 vote on issues important to him. On the neglected things that need attention would the management company or insurance company be able to explain to him the liability if it’s not done? Good luck.

Probably true. I don’t know him all that well personally. I have did see him at a few of the board meetings that I attended where he was on the board and I was not. I also know another person who previously served on the board and said that this guy was always looking to fine people for any reason and not give them any benefit of the doubt.

Right now I am leaning towards voting for him to come on the board. Like I said, as much as I may disagree with many of his positions, I just don’t see that as a justification to keep him off when he is willing to serve and there are open positions.

I wish the other former board member that I mentioned would come back, as he would serve as a counter-weight. This guy is the stereotypical busy-body HOA member who is always going around looking for violations, and his pet peeve is residents who game the parking system. After a while you get tired of reading his e-mails to the property management company telling them of all of these violations and the letters that need to go out.

At the same time, this guy does care about the HOA and wants what is best for it, which is why I respect him overall. And, when we did have disagreements on an issue where he was outvoted, he never quit in a huff over that. He had just gotten tired of being on the board and decided to step down, though he still does send letters to the property management company with the board members copied.

Is there precedence for new members joining the Board mid term?

Wondering if you could hold out to the start of the next term.

Maybe with all the work needed and his reluctance to do it, folks would understand the problem and he would not be voted in.

Also, can you find new Board Members (neighbors, folks you are close to) who would only come to the Meetings and vote… but no other responsibilities?

Yes, I am one example. They appointed me four months after the start of the term. The other guy I mentioned was also appointed mid-term, as was the former board member’s daughter-in-law. Pretty much, new board members are appointed whenever the board votes to appoint them. As I mentioned before, the HOA never gets enough people to vote in the annual election, so there are never any changes via election.

For practical purposes there is no real way to hold out. He will come to the meeting and say he wants to be on the board. We have to make a decision. His daughter-in-law will most likely motion to appoint him. At that point, either somebody seconds the motion and he is appointed, or nobody seconds it and he is not. (I don’t think anybody would second the motion and then vote against it.)

I have spoken to my neighbors and suggested one of them join. The husband previously served on the board, but he didn’t like it and doesn’t want to come back. The wife says she doesn’t have the time, which is possible. I did the same with some new residents and got the same answer.

What happens if it’s two votes for and two votes against the motion? You guys really should have a 5th board position so things can’t end on a tie.

It sounds like nobody wants the job, ties might have to go to a coin flip.

My subdivision has 2 HOA’S, one for the single family homes and one for the townhomes that covers the outside of the buildings, landscaping and snow removal for the units. I’m in the single family HOA and it’s like $200 a year that covers landscaping the entry and common areas and Christmas lights. We don’t have a clubhouse or pool, there are a couple very nice parks but those are maintained by the park district. I’ve never been to a meeting but there is very little drama and I don’t know any neighbors that have ever received a fine.

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