Monday, August 19, 2013

School Yard Bullies at Any Age

by Kate Collins

A strange situation has developed in my new condominium community that makes me feel like I'm back in 7th grade. I'm one of five people on the advisory board, which was just formed two months ago. A person who is not on the board, but whose spouse heads up the board, showed up at our last meeting and announced that s/he was going to assume the secretary's duties, relieving the official secretary of her job.

We committee members were stunned. There had been no discussion beforehand, there wasn't even a hint that this was even a consideration. We were all so stunned that we said nothing.

It wasn't until after the meeting that we had a chance to discuss this among ourselves, and then we weren't pleased that this person had in fact, bullied his/her way into the meeting. And when the minutes arrived in our inboxes the next day, they were poorly written, rambling, and full of inaccuracies. And they were to be posted in the community clubhouse that way! That was when we knew we had to speak up.

So we got together to compose a tactful and polite email about limiting the meeting to board members only, asking that the secretary resume her duties, and that the minutes be amended, and then we sent it to the head of the committee. That, apparently, made both husband and wife angry, and now we have a "situation" in the neighborhood where they are basically asking people to choose sides. How juvenile.

The whole situation reminds me of problems in the schoolyard. Someone doesn't get their way, so they throw a tantrum. As adults, shouldn't we be above these tactics? Shouldn't board members work together to make the community a better place to live, not work against each other in order to accomplish their own agendas?

Have you ever had a situation like this? How did you handle it?