Q&A: No One to Run?

 

Q Our condo association's board consists of five members. Three seats are up for  election in the fall. What are our options if we have no other condo owners  willing to put their names on the ballot?  

 —Concerned Condo Owner  

A “Whenever there is an apparent lack of interest in serving on the board,” says attorney Ronald L. Perl of the New Jersey law firm Hill Wallack, LLP in  Princeton, “the first step is for the current board members to attempt to recruit  candidates, including a) personal contacts with current committee members and  other members who have been vocal or demonstrated interests in association  affairs and perhaps b) an association meeting to urge people to run.  

 “The question does not indicate how many members this condominium has. If it is  large enough, the key argument is that the association members should not want  or permit the association be run by only two people, nor is it fair to those  two to place the entire burden on them. Eventually, they may burn out, leaving  the association without an operating board. Potential candidates should be  given an appraisal of the time required to serve, the fact that professional  management is in place to carry the day to day burden (and if not the  possibility of getting management in place). Direct appeals to specific people  are often successful in solving the problem of securing candidates to serve.  

 “If the association cannot fill all vacancies by election, it is likely that the  bylaws or state law give the remaining board members the authority to appoint  people to fill the vacancies. There are numerous associations in which board  members are continuously replaced by appointment due to the inability to obtain  sufficient candidates or quorums for annual meetings. This is not a healthy  situation. A meeting might be convened by the existing board to discuss the situation with  the members, the need for board members, and the ramifications of not having a  functioning board. This meeting might result in securing candidates. The association members should  be urged to volunteer and run for election by their fellow members to give the  members a voice on who should represent them and avoid creating an insulated,  self-appointed board. If the association is a small one and it is difficult to  recruit a full five-member board, perhaps the bylaws should be amended to  reduce the board to three people.  

 “In this effort, they can tell the members that if there is no governing board,  this is likely to lead to an application to a court for the appointment of a  receiver to operate the association. The appointment of a receiver will create  a substantial cost for the members, something that can be avoided by simply  having a functioning board.”  

 

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