The Cooperator Expo New York

Dealing with Disruptive Board Members Rambo at the Reigns

Every board is different, with its own individual personalities meshing for one common cause: to run the co-op or condo in their charge efficiently and with integrity.

Some board members come to their positions with years of experience. Others are neophytes. Some board members are reticent, thoughtful and measured in their approaches. Others are more vociferous, taking charge and moving things forward quickly and aggressively. These are all legitimate approaches to running a building, and any one of them can work well for the benefit of the community.

There are times, however, when one board member's personality or approach to the job can throw a wrench into the whole system. They're the people who try to dominate a meeting, try to push their agendas no matter what the cost, and try to bully their fellow board members into seeing things their way. They're the folks that boards and management dread.

(Mostly) Good Apples

Before things get too gloomy however, it's important to remember that the vast majority of board members approach their duties with a sense of integrity and a desire to do what is best for the fellow residents they were elected to serve. It's actually rare to see a board member really allow their self-interest get the better of them, and create difficult situations for everyone else around them. Perhaps they don't even realize they're doing it. Whatever the reason, the result is the same: both the residents and the building suffer.

There are ways to solve these problems though, and the answer is not always to simply vote these troublesome board members off the proverbial island. Finding that solution starts with finding the root of the problem and understanding that there are a number of reasons why a board member might cause trouble—whether that trouble takes the form of inappropriate aggression, passive-aggressive foot-dragging or simple ignorance.

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21 Comments

  • You have described two of my board members exactly. One was elected to the board and the other appointed by the board. We need to get rid of them both. It is the consensus that they are self serving, disruptive and have even become a nuisance tot he management, which we have only had a year. How so we get rid of the appointed one first? Any suggestions. Thanks.
  • We have a board member who constantly - in open board meetings - calls caucasian staff and the director racist without any basis. He makes comments that he does not like white people, he will let other board members know that he doesn't like them, he has even physically intimidated several board members and called them names. He is so disrespectful, but the board chair and other board members do nothing. He has a blatant disregard for board policy, including contacting staff directly (against policy.) He is a bully! He is appointed to the board and those that appoint him, I believe, are politically afraid of him. As a staff person who must attend board meetings, his behavior, lack of respect for staff and board, and constant criticism and noted dislike of caucasians has caused me an enormous amount of emotional stress. I am conteplating filing a grievance with the director and/or board chair. Any suggestions?
  • I am a little younger than your target audience, but this was great advise. I am the president of an organization and wanted to continue a rational approach to this exact problem before throwing around the word "impeachment." Thank you very much.
  • I am president here in Spain of an elected board of 7 members. We meet monthly with an agenda and discuss, negotiate and decide what and how best to run our community of 477 properties. Myself and 3 other s have been members for 5 years and we have had 3 meetings so far with the other new members. Last month for the first time ever I had to leave the meeting, I couldn't tolerate the insults and obvious disruption by one of the new members. This month after another disruptive display by that same new member, another member stormed out. The new member has now openly called me a thief, is secretly checking on other member's work (she says if we have nothing to hide why are we offended?), will not shut up even when politely asked to, insists that every outburst is minuted and contrary to tradition that the meeting is conducted in Spanish even though 50% do not understand Spanish. She has become unbearable. Please help, I have been involved in many committees in the past but have never come across her type before. 4 of the members are also at their wit's end and threatening to resign. The other 2 members seem to think that we need to be patient with her and she will run out of steam. As president I can't force my members to wait that long and I do not know what to do for the best!
  • Shareholders of a Coop have called for a special meeting to dissolve the board due to lack of accountability and transparency and other corrupt dealings. We are looking for an inexpensive attorney who can guide us in this matter. Can you suggest any names of attorneys we can approach"? Thank you
  • We have three members in our community base organization. I am the Chairperson and I appointed a vice president to the organization. She is much older than me and the other member so we sort of allow her to have her way. However, she is a trouble maker and a selk serving individual. Our organization is small cut we do big things. She is looking for recognition so she joins well name organizations and work like a work house for them but when it come down to our small organization, she works like a show horse. We want to get rid of her. What should me and the other member do. We have not spoken with her in awhile and she called us to say: we can not write letters using the organization name without her permission. Is that true? Remember, we do not have a 5019(c)(3). but when I write letters for support of events we sponsor, I list her as the Vice President. Do that give her rights?
  • Sir/Madam, You are not familiar with Roberts Rules. If you were, you would know that a board member is a member of a committee and as such, can only present findings to the members. They do not have the authority to make decisions. If on member is too vocal, the other committee members may expel him or her and during a membership meeting, it is the job of the president to maintain order. The problem you have described does not exist. It is you that is a waste of time.
  • What do you do when the President is the inept one? When the VP does not even have a high school diploma, and the Secretary is in foreclosure? My condo board is so bad that in the last 4 months we have acquired almost a 1/4 million doller debt. Oh the management company is has voter fraud. This is condo HELL
  • sir / madam we move in to a community that has a small board of 5 with a nuisense board member that harasses the other home owers threatens to shoot them and even brandish her pistol and riffel at them instead of worrying about her post as the key holder she runs the neiborhood like she has say so over other home owers personal property has been stalking some home ower and the rest of the board refuse to take any action the home owner has filed a grievance letter against her they have file the stalking order in the court and the board said they can't do anything about it. is there something else we can do thanks
  • we have a board member who conspires with shareholders and would never stand with the board once a decision is made by the majority. if a shareholder complains about something instead of trying to make peace and explain why it is being done , he immediately sides with the shareholder and blames the board as if he is not part of the board. he even encouraged a shareholder to start a legal proceeding against the coop. how can we handle this?
  • we have a board member who continously puts the younger board members down saying they are inexperienced or to brusk.. how can this be dealt with in a nice way, she has been on the board for 10 years
  • We have a situation where an owner became President and her neighbor friend came in also and are voting against our Experienced Vice President with decisions. They are power hungry and spending all our money on various beautification projects that are not voted for. Help ... what do we do..
  • I SERVE AS CO CHAIR OF A NON PROFIT ORGANIZATION AND HAVE 2 INDIVIDUALS THAT ARE CONSTANTLY DISRESPECTIVE, LOUD AND ABUSIVE TO BOTH THE CHAIR AND OTHER MEMBERS, HOW DO YOU HANDLE THEM?
  • . I am in the EXACT same situation.as Dee Jackson We're also a501c3, 3 member board. The 3rd member's self interests aren't being met so now they have a personal vendetta. They are resorting to slander of the other 2 members, conspiring with outside parties to ruin the credibility of the organization and has not contributed anything positive for the last 2 yrs. It's become an emergency situation. How do we legally get rid of them before any damage is done to the organization's good reputation ?
  • At our AGM 4 board officers were elected, The sponsor has three, before the apt of officers began one of the sponsors declared that 2 share holders were not fit to be on the board and with the help of some declared that he was president. With the help of 2 shareholders he was elected. According to the By Laws the president "shall" be a shareholder. He now claims that he is a VP owning shares in Sponsors Company 6400 LLC..Who does he vote with if that were necessary? What can we do ?
  • What should be done to remove and not allow a disruptive member to attend abusiness meeting. He constantly disru o to our meetings and get into arguments with members
  • We have a very qualified Board member who also serves as our treasurer. Unfortunately, she presents her financial comments in such a manner that implies financial mismanagement of the Board. This is done in the form of our own community newsletter. Looking for the proper way to address same, at least as it applies under Robert's Rules. The Manager (aid to our President)
  • WE HAVE 4 BOARD MEMBERS, OUR TREASURER TRIED TO RIG THE VOTING FOR NEW OFFICERS BY LYING, TRING TON GET THE VOTERS TO VOTE FOR THE CANIDID OF HIS CHOICE,,BY TELLING SOME VOTERS ,,IF YOU CAN"T READ THE NAMES,YOU CAN"T VOTE,,AND TELLING THEM WHO TO VOTE FOR, BY POINTING TO CERTAIN NAME,,, AND THREATENED TO CALL I.R.S. ON THE COUNCIL FOR TAX IVASION,,,,, PLEASE, PLEASE ,,WHAT CAN WE BOARD MEMBERS DO TO GET HIM OFF THE BOARD???????
  • ROBERT GONZALES - depending on the state you live in, you do have rights. What state do you live in? Calling the IRS on a non profit is extreme, they may refer you to the state government first. Boards can be abusive, start a paper trail !!
  • Can a Board member use her husband's email address to receive confidential correspondence? What do you do with a Board that is hiding attorney information on a $50,000 purchase?
  • After a year of apt hunting we finally found what seemed like a great opportunity and grabbed it. after attending our first board meeting I began to suspect that the president and the sponsor were conspiring with the management company to keep total control over the building It didnt occur to me that this sort of thing was in the realm of possibility--now I see that the owner/sponsor has in fact engaged in this type of manipulation in the past and while copious articles were written condemning their actions nothing can be done I bought my apt from a previous owner and do not see how i could have ever known that they own the building to be prepared to ask the right questions to avoid this problem to keep it brief--money is spent solely to benefit the apts the director buys and sells and his ego results in expensive lawsuits!

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