Date: Mon Feb 25, 2002 7:50:38 AM America/New_York
Hello BillI am glad we bumped into each other on Saturday. Pursuant to the need for direct and simple clarity, the starting point of my own personal anxiety is page 10 in the Public Offering Statement, also repeated on page B-23 of the bylaws which reads (and nowhere superseded that I have found)...
"The Declarant or the Board of Directors shall not make renovations of the common elements and the units for a cost of over $100,000 as aggregated in one calendar year period, unless the owners representing a percentage of ownership of at least 80% approve of said renovation. However, this requirement shall not apply when the Declarant or the Board of Directors determines and declares construction or renovation to be necessary because of an emergency."
At the January Board meeting, I requested and was given permission to read this language into the record. Well, it did not make the minutes, nor did the Board adequately respond to the point. A one liner suggesting the Board's authority is explained somewhere else just doesn't meet the criteria for honest leadership in my experience as a former ANC Chair.
At this week's February meeting my wife again tried to get clarification on whether this was an emergency or not, and an accompanying declaration. Again, something was barely articulated along the lines that this wasn't exactly an emergency, before our property manager Rick Honig interrupted him saying that the engineers recommended that this repair be undertaken as soon as possible. End of explanation.
Frankly, the Board of Directors is legally vested with stunningly comprehensive powers by our governing documents to the near absolute exclusion of a daily voice for the remaining ninety plus percent of the association. Indeed this would be intolerable were it not for a few checks and balances already indeed in place. There is little in them that offers ANY individual owner the right to an EFFECTIVE voice in MOST situations. This spending check is nearly the ONLY limit put to the Board in writing, and it is the one, which by its very nature of presuming an equal treatment to all owners carefully informed by an assumption of variant capital capacities among individuals within any association, is wisdom in a nutshell. Money is often where the heart is, since nobody can seem to live without it, and few of us are not pursuing it with every clue we possess.
Our association is a democratic organization operating within a nation founded on these very democratic principles, and is fortified by governing laws and codes. This spending cap exception to an otherwise absolute rule of the many by the few, makes absolute sense, and until this issue is cleanly and plainly addressed by the Board, I am convinced of my own position that the Board is in effect, acting illegally. Ignoring the issue exposes the Board to legal liability by an opportunistic litigant. This concerns me, and it should very well concern the Board, don't you think?
Continued short and rather callous rebuffs by the Board when sincerely questioned does little to encourage the goodwill of the few who find themselves suffering intellectual or financial hardship by some swift action of any Board of Directors. And let me be clear about this, Bill; I am not part of some loyal opposition. While I have been approached with several complaints personally, no attempt to get at the heart of their own arguments has been very successful. Hence I take full responsibility for my own LOUD, NERVY writing. Nobody wants to hurt anybody else's feelings. Nor do I. Contrary to your perception of anger and a unified loyal opposition, I've encountered nothing of the sort. A scattered few voices of meek resentment, but nobody ever speaking in rage, or from the same page, or any page at all for that matter, but simply out of exasperation, confusion, and voicelessness, tied in knots by the sheer powerlessness of it all. Alienation after all, is a two way street, given the stress points of cause and effect.
You know, this is not about winning or losing turf or prestige. This is not about any web site or even the garage deck assessment. This is about accessibility and connectivity (in the neighborly sense). Genuine and effective connectivity. There seems to be so much to say, so little time, and so few ways of doing anything without offending somebody up or down the ladder of our discontent...
There are a couple other bylaw comments I'd like of course to make, but (and I tried, I really tried to be brief)...
Please feel free to call me this week as per your request. And thank you Bill for ALL your efforts in these matters. I am honored.