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Nov 1, 2009 | Article  Mario D. Deo

Intense Directors's Can you spot them?

Being a director of a condominium corporation is much like being a councilor of a municipality. Essentially, both positions involve the governance of a community. Both positions require decision making on important elements of the community, including its budget. Common expense payments are very similar to the taxes levied in a municipality. Both positions have a certain term (usually for a number of years), and both positions are elected positions based on a vote of interested community members.

 Unfortunately, there are some significant differences between the two positions that should be noted. Generally speaking, condominium directors govern a smaller community group and, therefore, one or two directors who may be inordinately intense profoundly (and usually negatively) affect their community. The positions also differ in that condominium directors are able to not only canvass their constituents, as prospective councilors may do, but they may also request proxies in their favour, which municipal candidates may not do.
 
I would like to make it perfectly clear that the system of condominium governance functions extremely well in the vast majority of cases. In fact, a building may never have a governance/director problem for many years, until a director whose objective and business manner is counterproductive to the welfare of the community is elected to the board. . This is a delicate topic. There can be no generalizations that apply in every case. However, here is a list of things that would point to a director whose personality is too intense for the good of his or her community. One or two of the items on the list may not necessarily qualify a director as a condo board zealot, but if, as a director, you answer “yes” to four or more of the items on the list, then you are likely headed in the wrong direction and should consider resigning from the board for your own good and for the good of your community.
 
Here’s the list:
 
-         You declare often, and more than anyone else on the board, that you are acting in the interests of the owners
-         You often find yourself formally asking for condominium records
-         You are making technical objections to procedures the board is taking
-         You are in the management office more than 2 hours per week (even two hours is a bit excessive)
-         You are sending correspondence directly to owners (without a board resolution) telling owners that the board is wrong on one or more business issues
-         You campaign for proxies to get on the board and some of the owners that gave you a proxy feel that what you told him or her to get their proxy was inaccurate.
-         You are on the wrong side of an issue that the board has decided, yet you do not accept the democratic decision and instead you make plans outside the board environment that you think will get you what you want
-         You feel the rest of the board is ganging up on you
-         You have little or no constructive dialogue with opposing board members
-         You have little or no constructive dialogue with management
-         You do not feel part of a team and you want to be in charge
-         You feel that one or more of the following are not on your side: the corporation’s lawyers, auditors, engineers or other professionals.
-         You don’t like to admit it to yourself, but you have little or no ability to lobby the other board members to your way of thinking
-         You have been asked to resign by your peers
-         Before you became a director, the board members did not dread board meetings, but now they do.
-         Contractors and management complain about your behavior.
-         The board requests that you not to interfere with contractors and management
-         You feel that you are essential, not replaceable, and the administration of the building cannot survive without you.
 
So what do you do if you have said “yes” to many of the above issues? Personally, I would resign. It is not worth it to have so much going against you and constantly swimming upstream. You may feel you are right, but chances are you are negatively affecting your community. Unless you can build consensus quickly and turn things around, you should give someone else the chance to contribute to the effort. Really, ask yourself if it is worth it? You will feel better and you will likely gain more respect from your neighbors and the board.

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Mario D. Deo

Mario D. Deo Partner

B.A., LL.B.

mdeo@finedeo.com
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905.760.0050

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