Q. If someone wants to get a board member off the board, how do they go about it and what percentage of the shareholders do they need? Also, do renters vote?
A. “First, you need to check the cooperative’s bylaws for guidance here,” says attorney Steven Sladkus, a partner with the New York City law firm of Schwartz Sladkus Reich Greenberg Atlas LLP. “Typically a majority of the board directors may call a special meeting for the purpose of removing a fellow board member, but it is also usually the duty of the secretary to call a special meeting whenever requested by 25 percent of the shareholders. What typically happens is you get a petition going and have it signed by 25 percent with a demand to the secretary: “We want to have a special meeting to remove this board member.” So that’s the way it’s typically done.
“The question also goes into what percentage of the shareholders they need actually remove a director—and that depends on if the corporation has cumulative voting as opposed to straight voting. It is much more difficult to remove a board member who has been elected through cumulative voting.
“First, let’s take a look at straight voting. Let’s say you have 100 shares, and there are five board positions and seven people running. Each time you vote for a candidate, the candidate receives 100 votes. You could cast 100 votes for up to five people. Said another way, you don’t have to vote for everyone, but everyone you do vote for gets 100 votes. You can’t vote for more than five people because only five people may be elected.