‘Rogue’ means several things including corrupt, dishonest, dangerous, and uncontrollable.
Some signs that you have a rogue board member include:
- Does not perform his or her assigned roles
- Gets more privileges and rights than other members and owners
- Biased and inconsistent in implementing rules
- Shows adversarial behavior to the board and residents
- Makes decisions without getting the approval of the board
What to do when you have a rogue board member:
1. Get to the bottom of the problem first.
Do the board members understand their role? Did they receive necessary governance training and support to perform their roles well?
Remember that many board members come from for-profit work environments versus the non-profit nature of HOAs. Also, the governing documents can be too overwhelming and very specific, they may just need to be reminded of the rules.
Second, assess the rogue member’s feelings towards their role and the association.
Do they feel they have an input in the direction that the association is taking? Are they appreciated and commended for their contributions to the organization? Remember that being on the board is unpaid voluntary work. It can feel difficult, exhausting, and thankless at times.
2. Talk to the member.
This is an opportunity for you to practice good communication and diplomacy. Go into the conversation with the intention of resolving the issue and strengthening your relationship.
Air out your grievances calmly while giving the person the benefit of the doubt. Some rogue members are well meaning. They are just unaware that their actions hurt others or go against the by-laws or the consensus-driven spirit of the board.
3. Inform the board.
If the behavior continues, let your board chair know about the situation so he/she can mediate and help resolve the conflict. Either the chair will talk to the rogue member privately or to the both of you to discuss the behavior and find a mutually agreeable resolution.
In some cases, the entire board will be called to an executive session to discuss the situation and resolve it together.
When the board gets along well, such discussion can be less formal. However, when difficulties arise, the board should strictly stick to protocol and make a decision in consensus.
5. Removal of a board member
This is a tough situation and should be the last resort when dealing with a rogue member. It should be necessary only if the removal of the member is to the best interest of the whole association.
How to remove a board member varies per state. Be sure to read and follow your association’s by-laws to the letter.
It is also possible to remove an officer from his position. Playing by your association’s governing documents is again important. In some states like Florida, you need to announce a meeting at least 48 hours prior and state in the agenda that you’re going to elect a new officer.
Owners vs Board
The owners voted the board in so they can also recall a certain director. Check your documents. Most have a recall provision that can guide owners through the process.