Mind Your Manners, Mr. Board President A Look at Board Etiquette

 The job of a co-op or condo board member seems pretty straightforward: have  meetings, take votes on this or that item of business, approve checks, keep an  eye on the budget, and so forth.  

 That’s the administrative part of the job. But board membership also comes with a  whole slew of legal and ethical considerations as well—many of which the board member may have never stopped to consider. Let’s take a look at some of the common ethical and legal pratfalls board members  fall victim to, and how to avoid them.  


 Back in high school, when this reporter worked at McDonald’s, the owner instructed us that any police officer who came to the restaurant  ate for free. “If we give them free food,” he said, “word will spread, and the cops will hang out here, or keep more of an eye on the  place. That’s what we want.”  

 It’s unethical (if not illegal) for cops to accept freebies like that, but it  happens all the time. It certainly happened in that McDonald’s, which, to the best of my knowledge, still doles out free burgers to the boys  in blue. For the price of a few burgers and French fries, the owner got what he  wanted—extra security.  

 The same sort of thing can happen in a co-op or condo, where board members can  receive the maintenance equivalent of a complimentary Big Mac.  


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  • Fantastic Article! I hoped you had touched on who is elligible to become a board member. We hope that only owners/shareholders and not just building residents.
  • What do you do when your board president opens and reads his neighbors mail, steals packages from doorsteps,steals elections by writing himself in, is a marijuana chain smoker and has absolutely no regard for the rules he is supposed to uphold?