The Importance of Legal Protocols Don't Just 'Wing It'

Don't fall into the trap of conducting your community's business informally - stick to the book!
If you're fortunate enough to serve on a cohesive, friendly board in a building or association with a strong sense of community and few issues, it can be very tempting to 'go with the flow' and handle board business in an informal, case-by-case kind of way. That non-strategy can backfire, however - and the costs can be high. Listen to a few legal pros explain why it's better to do things by-the-book, even in smaller, more tight-knit communities. 

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  • I live in a NYC coop and would like to understand exactly what the legal responsibilities of board members are. Our board has not posted board meeting minutes for a few years (although annual meeting minutes are distributed with the annual meeting notice). There are no notices posted about when and where board meetings occur. One shareholder who asked to sit in on a meeting was told the board conducts business via email. Two of the board members have served for more than 12 years. The current president, an architect, seems to feel no one can be the president who doesn't have a background similar to his. He rules the place as if it's a fiefdom, creating rules at will. For example, yesterday he forced a dogwalker to leave the building with residents' dogs because he said she had "too many dogs." She's been working in the building for more than 5 years without any problems. When questioned about his actions, the president said he runs the building and has the right to make rules. I have no way of knowing if this is true. Or if board meetings can be conducted via email. Or if monthly board meeting notices and minutes need to be regularly available to shareholders. Can anyone direct me to a reference that states what the legal requirements are for boards and what qualifications board presidents are supposed to have?