New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

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Is it ethical for the board to ask for donations to give the board room a facelift?Jun 12, 2012

I am a member of my coop board. Recently the president, secretary, and treasurer decided to repaint, carpet, and decorate the board room? The secretary works for decorating store got the paint donated or at a discount. The treasurer added a chair rail and pictures, carpeting, conference table and chairs were purchased. The total cost was slightly more than $1000?

I was surprised when I received an email from the treasurer requesting a financial contribution to offset the cost. The new board room allows shareholders to rent the board room at an hourly rate.

The problem I have with contributing towards the upgrade is that shareholders are not being asked to contribute. In my opinion this is unethical. My thinking is there should be either a one-time fee to pay for the materials or the funds should come from the coop's financials.

The board is concerned they will be criticized for spending money frivolously. I don't agree - this is an investment that adds value to our property.

I am interested in getting feedback as to what is actually appropriate.

Anne-Marie Ditta
Mount Vernon, NY

Join the Conversation Comments (1)
Your board members deserve applause. - ACCO Jun 13, 2012

Board members already contribute their time. Here, they're also contributing supplies & their own labor so as not to impose on shareholders. We usually hear the OPPOSITE complaint [shareholders pay but Board members are exempt].

Board members may be erring on the cautious side because they'll get the most direct & frequent benefit from the improvements. How refreshing.

You're entitled to disagree--most votes don't need to be unanimous. However, you were asked to contribute...not forced. You may decline & still enjoy using the redecorated meeting room.

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)
Ethical but terrible approach - Steve R Jun 15, 2012

A board can certainly donate time, material, and even cash to the Co-op. There is nothing ethical or unethical about it. The concern I have is that from Anne-Marie's description, it sounds like some of the board members took it upon themselves to lay out the money to purchase the renovation supplied, and then requested donation after-the-fact. I find this particular approach very unfair to the rest of the board. If some of the board members felt their meeting room should be renovated, they should have brought it up with the rest of the board *before* starting. That way, every board member would have a say about the budget, style and decor, time frame, etc. The way it was described by Anne-Marie makes it sound as if some members of the board purposely choose to exclude other members from the decision-making process while asking them to help foot the bill. I would be as upset as Anne-Marie if that happened to me.

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