Live Blogging The Managers’ Munch — Problem Board Members

I’m here at the Utah CAI Chapter’s Monthly Manager’s Munch; the presenters are John Morris, Jamie Nopper and a law clerk, Michelle Kasteler, from the firm of McKay, Burton and Thurman. Today’s topic is “Dealing With the ‘Problem’ Board Member”.

The first archetype of the problem board member is “No Show Ned”. That description is pretty self-explanatory. Recommended suggestions include the creation of expectations for attendance and follow-through; in-person communications with Ned about his obligations; possible removal (with a strong recommendation of legal counsel.

“Power-Crazy Patty” is a common participant on association boards; characteristics include decision-making and acting alone; failure to share information, and the bullying of members. Suggestions for dealing with Patty include education about her status as a member of the board; standard procedures for distribution of information; and (once again) removal. (And another reminder about the importance of obtaining legal advice.)

Next is “Rules-Don’t Apply to Me Ronald” First, the board (or manager or counsel) needs to remind this board member that he will be treated like others; excuse him from voting on issues in which he is directly concerned; and lastly, “seek legal advice on removing him as a board member”.

“Agenda-Pursuing Agnes” is the somena who ran for the board with a personal agenda; the example given being the woman who wants to get her cousin hired as manager. She only wants to focus on her agenda, and has little or no concern about the well-being of the association as a whole. Suggestions inclued the identification of her conflict of interest and dealing with them pursuant to the association’s governing device. Then you may need to resolve that issue (which they ironically refer to as her “pet” issue); with timeframes for reconsideration, if necessary.

“Contentious Carl” thrives on conflict, is insulting and offensive; he turns every meeting into a shouting match. Sometimes these individualys threaten violence. Suggestions inclued formal procedures and protocol during meetings; call the police if necessary.

“Terri Traitor” leaks the association board’s privileged information; she may be suspected of aligning herself with dissident owners. Suggestions for her type include reminders of the importance of confidentiality, including a written acknowledgement of the need for confidentiality. If the board member’s opposition is known, she can be excluded from strategic sessions; if it is suspected, a separate committee can be formed to consiere and address the meetings. John Morris is considering an amendment to his stock documents requiring the preservation of confidential and privileged information.

“Penny Pincher Pete” never wants to spend association money or raise assessments, defer major projects, and complains about all of the bids being “rip offs”. First suggestion here is to advise him of his duties and responsiblities; secondly, get advice from the manager and other professionals; lastly, invite Pete to seek and obtain other bids.

“Suzy Stickler” is described as “the one board member who always reads the documents and knows what they say”. (Most of the “Suzy Sticklers” that I know only think that they know them.) The panel’s position (probably related to their definition as opposed to mine), is that these types are not a problem. The board’s suggestion is that she may not, in fact, be a problem. Compliance with the rules, they say, is a problem.

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