Politics is a subject that can ignite fierce passions and discussions among the tightest of friends and the most loving family members. Being elected to a building's board doesn’t usually require a campaign budget, but financial and emotional politicking can pollute the atmosphere of community living, especially when board members choose not to uphold the stipulations of their own governing documents.
It’s not a common problem, but it is a serious one, and until recently, there have been few places for owners to turn when faced with a board that is giving them the strong-arm. The Alliance of Condo & Co-op Owners (ACCO) has been formed out of this need, and this grass roots effort is seeking to address a range of issues concerning the relationship between boards and residents.
The ACCO grew out of a series of forums for condo and co-op owners that state Senator Liz Krueger, D-26, started, says Larry Simms, the group’s president. “They were exceedingly well attended, in large venues. Elected representatives and experts were on hand, including attorneys and a representative from the attorney general’s office to answer questions. From there a group was formed.”
“We are a grassroots effort and lobbying organization,” continues Simms, “and we are working to educate owners as to their rights and responsibilities, and to counsel boards and board members.”
ACCO is not affiliated with a particular political party and is no longer associated with one particular office, says Simms “We are autonomous. We started up under the auspices of Senator Krueger’s office, and within a short time it was determined that we should be on our own.”