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A Conversation About The (Un)Professionals

AB: According to bylaws in my co-op, shareholders can request a special meeting if 25 percent of the shares are represented. Shareholders in my co-op were able to get enough signatures to organize a special meeting requesting the removal of two board members. The property manager left copies of a meeting date and a proxy with the doorman in the building. The shareholders received a copy when they came into the building, or the doorman went door to door and left a notice under the doors of shareholders.

My concern is that meeting notices should not be left under the door and the notice should not single me out [as initiating the action]. I notarized the pages, [and] the actual request for the special meeting does not acknowledge that over 25 percent of the shareholders requested this meeting.

It is good that the board has respected the request, but I feel singled out and harassed. I am extremely distraught and concerned, and feel that the board and property manager are not taking this matter seriously. I personally feel that this type of action from the board and property manager constitutes harassment, especially since I have received e-mails in the past from the board members and managing agent with derogatory remarks. Please advise.


JB: I feel for you – there is no excuse for harassment or derogation. From the board, it’s uncivil and immature. But from the managing agent, it’s grossly unprofessional. Are the harassing board members the two who stand to be removed? Might that end that part of the problem? Or are the others behaving like babies as well?

Unless the board members who are doing and not just saying things, it might be possible to take the “sticks and stones” high road. As for the managing agent, I would send copies of any harassing or insulting e-mails to the board and to the person’s boss at the management company, and ask whether – issues with you aside – this is appropriate behavior for a professional, and whether the company tolerates this type of thing. If you get an unprofessional response, I would post it here and elsewhere with the company name – e-mails are not considered confidential correspondence, and what’s true is true.


AB: Thanks for the reply. Hopefully, there will be a good turnout at the special meeting and the two board members will be removed. The harassing comments and insults that I received from the managing agent were from the owner and chief operating officer. When problems or questions come up – maintenance due on June 1 but shareholders received bill May 28, for instance – and shareholders then contact the board, they are ignored and nothing is done.


Board Prez: I will never condone board members or managing agents that treat shareholders with disrespect. However, it works both ways and I expect respect in return. Not knowing what the conflict is about or the types of comments that some board members and the managing agent have made, I can’t help but feel that we are missing the other side of the story. Why does the rest of the board tolerate unprofessional behavior? I have on occasion been on the receiving end in conflicts with shareholders (it’s part of the job) but I do my best to be an effective communicator so our disagreements have never reached the point that yours has reached.

The fact that you were able to get 25 percent of the shareholders to support such a special meeting tells me that there is certainly something wrong with their behavior, their ability to communicate to the shareholders, or both.

As to your maintenance bills, there is nothing wrong with you receiving the bills three days prior to the end of the month. Your bill should not come as a surprise – you know you will get it every month, you should know the amount, and every building I know has a grace period, usually ten days.


Bill: As an aside, in our 505-unit co-op, we deliver the statements under the door to every resident, save those who ask that it be mailed to another address, e.g.: snowbirds. The statements are distributed on the last weekday of the month and are due on the first of the next month with a grace period to the tenth. We have few, if any late payers, e.g.: beyond ten days.

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