Q&A: Throw the Rascals Out?

Q Residents of our cooperative have been faced with the problem of getting rid of  the co-op’s board of directors. These are some of the reasons why: 1.They lack the  expertise to be board members because they are inept, incompetent and  inexperienced. 2. They have refused to schedule meetings to inform residents of  co-op business. 3. They are operating illegally; in violation of our bylaws  because instead of electing members, they “hand-picked” those who would just go along to get along. What legal action can we take, and  how can we remedy this situation?  

 —Questioning in Quincy

A “In a co-op and as well as a condo, all board members will start out  inexperienced and the point is that members should run them,” says attorney Daniel Polvere of MPD Law, LLC in Charlestown, Massachusetts. “This is a reason boards should consult professionals for expertise. The best way  to deal with incompetent board members is to attempt to get them to attend the  many educational programs offered by the Community Associations Institute (CAI)  and other groups. If they do not, residents should put together a strong slate  of replacement candidates to run against them. It is very important to know the  bylaws completely.  

 “If the board members do meet, they should be open to residents to attend except  for a few specific issues. Today a lot of board business is done via conference  call or e-mail. But there should be minutes. The members of the co-op are at  least entitled to an annual meeting per the bylaws.  

 “Without knowing the facts in detail, it is hard to comment. The bylaws will  provide for annual meetings, quorums, etc. Some documents DO allow a board to  fill a vacancy between meetings. Residents should organize to demand that  proper procedures be followed and document the demands and failures in writing.  Legal action should only be considered when all else fails. But there are  several types of civil actions including a “derivative action” which can be taken. An attorney should be consulted on strategy well before  starting such a case.”      n


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  • I live in a condo where the board has not met annually, provided financial reports or had a vote on board members in 5 years. Most of the board members (last time I knew who they were) have rented out their units and recently did not renew a parking lot lease. The management company does NOTHING to assist unit owners. How can you vote them out if you don't have annual meetings, vote, get annual reports or ANY COMMUNICATION from the board or the MANAGEMENT company?