There seems to be one in every homeowners association. That one HOA board member that consistently disagrees, goes against the majority, or at the very least enjoys playing devil’s advocate. Do you have a Scrooge – a mean spirited, miserly person – on your Board? There are ways you can deal with them.
What does a “Scrooge” look like?
A board member with a Scrooge-like mentality contains some or all of the following qualities:
- Close-minded – voting everything down that’s put on the table.
- Not keeping in mind what needs to be done to protect, maintain and enhance the HOA.
- Not making wise and reasonable business decisions
- Bad manners – talking over others, interrupting, refusing to listen.
- Penny pincher – this isn’t always a bad thing, but it becomes a problem when the person is not willing to work to find a budget solution, especially when it involves a safety issue.
- Taking the cheap or easy route.
- A bully – someone people don’t want to challenge.
- Constantly putting ideas down.
- Avoiding what needs to be done.
- Bad financial planning.
- Only addressing “today’s” issues and not planning for the future.
How to deal with a Scrooge-like HOA board member
If you do find yourself faced with a board member who acts like a Scrooge all year round, there are some actions you can take:
- Help the person understand the primary responsibility of the Board: to protect, maintain, and enhance the asset, which is the homeowners association.
- Encourage them to share their viewpoint and give their rationale, but have other HOA board members ready to step up and move to accept whatever is being proposed so the meeting can progress.
- Communicate well – don’t get lost in emotions and personality. We’re all different.
- Make sure there is a good leader in place – the Board President (or Manager if there is one) needs to lead in the right direction.
- Provide training days or even online training – most people don’t know how to be a leader or the ins and outs of being an HOA board member
At what point can a “Scrooge” be removed?
If the operating rules and expectations that were set and signed by all board members are being violated, and a board member is committing gross negligence, then it’s possible they could be removed in the following ways:
- The membership can do a recall of a member or of the Board.
- You can remove someone from office, but they are still a member of the Board.
It’s important to remember that the homeowners association is where people live – it’s their home. When it’s needed, it’s a good reminder to ask all HOA board members, Why are we here? Why are you an HOA board member? It’s quite possible that the Scrooge is in their position because no one else would do it and they were actually trying to be nice by stepping up. But if they are just a bully following the tips above can help.
An HOA property manager can be a good person to have on your side when dealing with a Scrooge because they can step up and help Board members understand the significance of an issue, deal with any difficulties, and get things done in the best interest of the homeowners association.