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Posted by1 month ago

HOA Board bickering like children about petty items-advice how to move forward


I am a member of my HOA board (North Carolina). The board is responsible for maintenance of the the common areas only (tennis court, pool, retention ponds, etc). Including myself, there are 4 members of the board. There should be 5, but the vacancy since the beginning of the year has gone unfilled. We do have a management company.

Presently, the President and VP are constantly bickering and disagreeing over the tiniest (to me) issues. The latest was the wording of an email out to the community about the reopening of the tennis court following closure for resurfacing. The board votes on the text of the email, then the President sends the contents over to the property management company to be sent out to the community. Somewhere between our vote/discussion and the ok to the property management co to send out, some wording got changed/removed. VP is mad that Pres changed some of the wording and thinks Pres is making decisions unilaterally. VP just really wants to follow "protocol".

I think it's stupid to be clogging up my inbox with petty back and forth about a couple of words in an email (about a tennis court that homeowners who would be inclined to frequent would have already seen was re-open).

Of course this is just the latest example of this bickering. I almost want to resign my position, but then I also want to be a voice of moderation.

Is the VP right in that every tiny action/detail needs to have been voted and approved? Who would come back later and be like, here are instances where the item you all voted on did not then proceed exactly as laid out? Does the law require such detail? With any votes occurring over email needing unanimous votes, how do other boards get things done? It seems impossible.

78% Upvoted
level 1
· 1 mo. ago
🏘 HOA Board Member

The board votes on the text of the email

This policy, and the source of it, is the root of your HOA's problems. Votes are for appointing positions, spending money, and other items that have meaningful and substantive impact on the HOA. The vote should be for the HOA to decide who will be running the pool project (hint: if you're paying for a management company, you're already paying someone competent to run the project), and then step back and let that person Do. Their. Job.

I almost want to resign my position

Resigning will not make things better. It only allows the madness to perpetuate. The board's job is to administer the affairs of the association (duties outlined in your CC&R's) with minimum HOA resources expended. Remember that your time spent as a volunteer is also a HOA resource and thus the board's responsibility is to minimize the time spent by board members. Administrivia is the first place to cut.

How to tackle this: One of the few responsibilities of the president is to set the agenda of the meeting. The agenda is the items to be voted on. Do not spend time in your meeting debating email wording. Let the management company send out a written status update for ongoing projects prior to the meeting for everyone to read. Unless there is further board action/decision needed, there need not be discussion or voting in the board meeting. The president should simply move to the next item on the agenda.

level 2

This is a good answer. It’ll be hard to find Board volunteers if your meetings are painfully long discussions about minutiae.

Stick to the big picture and let your management company handle the execution of details. That’s what you pay them for.

level 2
Op · 1 mo. ago

Votes are for appointing positions, spending money, and other items that have meaningful and substantive impact on the HOA.

Thank you for articulating what I always envisioned how the board should work.

So these kinds of small disputes are happening at intervals between board meetings. We only meet quarterly (instead of monthly that I think we should). But I envision the types of items that should be brought up for discussion in the between time should be significant urgent time sensitive matters.

We do have areas we each volunteered to focus on (pool, tennis, landscaping). So more efficiently, the one focused on the tennis court should have just composed the message, and forwarded on to be email blasted to the neighborhood and that's that.

The Pres is doing a great job of setting the agenda items for the quarterly meeting, and the property management co rep is putting it all together and providing the ongoing projects statuses etc.

So somehow I need to convey that we all need to refocus our energies on the big picture items and eliminate this excessive admin tediousness. It won't be easy with Pres and VP always seemingly on opposites sides of anything.

Thank you (and others) for your insights.

level 1
· 1 mo. ago
🏘 HOA Board Member

We don’t. Board votes are for substantive issues. Wording is not a decision. It is communication.

Consider having better defined roles and responsibilities. Pres sets agenda but VP can own communications. Not everything needs to be pee wee soccer with everyone chasing the ball together

level 1
· 1 mo. ago
🏘 HOA Board Member

Your VP sounds like an archetype of a tedious pedant who exists on most boards. I would encourage the Prez to stop votes on silly things like email text. And if I were you, I would simply ignore the email chatter. Good luck.

level 1

The president was chosen to take some leadership tasks, including emails. The board directors should support the position of president to insist on quieter conduct. Remember, I bet your board can vote to remove officers from leadership roles and make them general board directors.

level 1

I think your board is meeting too often. If the board could go bimonthly or quarterly, check the rules, it will calm the waters. Master associations are not like condo boards and don't need to in perpetual motion


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Created Jan 9, 2013