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?

12 comments:

LJ Roberts said...

How are board members selected? Are there written rules outlining the structure and function of the board? Go first to what is official. Or, if the rest of the board members are in full agreement, you should demand that the head of the board step down.

SueAnn said...

I have been around more than enough of these situations! and they stink! Some I have walked away from....choosing not to be a part of it...some I have stayed and fought the good fight. People, with this mind set..do not listen to logical reason...they are not reasonable, nor logical. all you can do, is walk away and not be a part of it, or....go back to the basics of this whole board...HOW did it start, WHO suggested it, HOW were these people selected....are there any "formal" type minutes stating this? and you present that to whomever needs to see it, or hear it. and continue on..and if these people choose to make it a my side, your side..then so be it, and let them enjoy their little world and you and the board move ahead in THIS world. You cannot prevent a battle, so much as keep the integrity of the board.....I would THINK, the condo residents would rather have a board of impeachable morals..then one that is a battle ground.Did not say it would be easy, nor fun...but..as Joe Friday use to say, just the facts, maam...So..stick to the original set-up...stick to the facts..leave the emotions at the door..and you may well have to say just that, too. Bullies never go away, when they are little, they grow up into adult ones.....One phrase I have used many times, works, but it does not set well with the bully..is, I am so sorry you had a sad life as a child, and I am so sorry you have never got over it....I will pray for your happiness. I say it with all sincerity, because they did not have a happy childhood.....and I do pray for them ( usually to leave...!!!) Man, I am going to get hit with lightening!!! Just know it...! don't let this get too you too much.....small town politics is all this is....small being the key word...you are bigger than that....and don't worry if they do not like you...heck...bullies EXPECT people to love them, and they hate everybody!! It is their deep sadness that makes them mean to others....

Aurian said...

My best friend had such a situation in her apartment complex like that. A couple was part of it, and the man was so very obnoxious, after reaching an agreement he kept pestering my friend (who is head of the thing) that he wants it his way after all. So they finally made him go away. Of course his wife felt attacked as well, and stepped down too, which was not necessary. But things are much better now.
So don't accept bullying, but get rid of those persons as they clearly cannot act to the benefit of the most people.

Denise Z. said...

What LJ Roberts said. Also, remember, you're there as a volunteer, and you can always un-volunteer. As an aside, I don't think you can limit participation to the board members. I'm assuming this is a residential homeowners' situation? If so, the non-board members have just as much of a right to be there as the board members. They shouldn't be able to hijack the meetings, but they have the right to show up, follow an established process and participate.

Kate Collins said...

Wise thoughts, Sue Ann. Very helpful. I had a feeling this person has had an unhappy life, so I will pray on that. It seems that when I pray for the best for everyone, changes do happen. Thanks for your suggestions.

Kate Collins said...

Right! We have to allow whomever wants to attend to be there. But not to assume secretarial responsibilities. That was just unbelievable.

Kate Collins said...

Thanks, LJ. We are just an advisory committee until the developer pulls out, and then we will become the board. So we still answer to the developer, and the head of the committee was his choice, so it's a sticky situation. But we are demanding fairness and what's in the best interests of everyone in the community. Stay tuned!

Mary Louise said...

Hi Kate: Where I live anyone can attend a Board meeting but only to observe and not participate, but that's set out in our Bylaws. I was going to suggest that your Condo documents and bylaws would help guide your committtee, and even though you are still under development those documents should exist (at least that's the case in my state). Anyway, if you do not have documentation would it help to ask an attorney what the Advisory Committee's powers are?

Kate Collins said...

Thanks for the suggestion, Mary Louise. I've also heard it's wise to prohibit 2 members of the same family to be on a committee together.

Debra Fox said...

I supervised a bully (who also was a manager) She would seeth with anger and tap her foot, while shouting my name if she had to wait even thirty seconds to speak to me. After, I developed acid -reflux, I was advised by a wise woman, i.e. my Mom to speak in a very quiet voice to her and not to respond to anything negative she did. Mom said think of her has a naughty, spoiled child and act accordingly. So you have reinstated the proper secretary. If the husband quits the board, all for the good.

Book Dragon said...

Good luck!

Can the husband be voted out? off to read the other comments....

Book Dragon said...

My husband is working a stressful project and started taking otc meds for heartburn. Funny thing, when one of the workers he supervised moved to another project he didn't need the meds anymore.

Love what your Mom said!