What is it about community associations that sometimes bring out the worst in people? Is it that we’re dealing with people’s homes? Do we not like somebody else telling us what we can and can’t do? Is there a sense of power from being on the board of directors? The ability to control other people?
In our experience, while most associations and their boards of directors have the best of intentions and are acting for the best benefit of the community and its residents, unfortunately, that is not always the case. Take, for example, the situation in the Wild Acres Lakes community in Delaware. The Pocono Record reports that two men serving on the association’s board of directors were found guilty of multiple counts of forgery, identify theft, criminal attempt, criminal conspiracy, tampering with records and criminal use of a communication facility. One of the men was found guilty on 217 counts, and the other found guilty on 190 counts, all related to efforts to unduly influence and manipulate an election of the association’s board of directors.
Apparently, the charges all related to the director’s efforts to take, complete, and submit ballots for absentee owners without their permission, to assure that their desired candidate was elected to the board. I can only imagine how they feel now. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?
Many years ago, the Colorado legislature attempted to correct what it perceived as association’s abusive procedures, policies and practices in what was then called the “homeowners’ bill of rights,” and what later became commonly known as S.B. 100. S.B. 100 implemented a number of requirements that associations must abide by, including the adoption of mandatory responsible governance policies; annual disclosure requirements; members’ limited rights to have a voice in the governance of their communities; voting and proxy rights, and a host of other things.
The legislature can only go so far with legislation. At some point, board members and owners have to ask themselves “Is this the right thing to do? Are we looking out after the best interests of the association and our members, or are we only looking out for our own best interests?” Hopefully it is the former, not the latter. If you ever have questions about whether you, as the board of directors, are doing the right thing, we’re here to help.