By Eric Glazer, Esq.
Last week was interesting as far as politics goes. President Obama got tired of waiting for Congress to fix the immigration issues this country is facing, and decided to try to fix it on his own by signing an Executive Order. Needless to say, his opponents immediately yelled that the President has no such power to circumvent The Legislature and that President Obama has now caused a Constitutional crisis.
This historical event immediately reminded me of the constant questions I receive from Presidents, Board members and unit owners alike. That is: Does the President of my association have any extraordinary powers that other members of the Board or community don’t have?
Let’s first start by briefly explaining the set-up of your Board. Each year the unit owners vote to elect the Directors to the Board of Directors. They do not specifically vote for the Officers such as the President, the Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. Once the Board of Directors is elected, those Board members themselves vote to decide who the Officers will be.
So let’s say your Board votes you in as the new President of the association. Can you rule with an iron fist? Need you consult with the other members of the Board before committing the association to contracts? The simple answer is…………you’re really just one of 3, 5, 7 or 9 votes of the Board of Directors. You have no more power than any other member of the Board except you get to chair the meetings and are typically the person who signs contracts for the Board, but only after the Board gave you permission to do so.
Many times over the years, Presidents have told me “But I’m the President ….of course I can do that!” To which I reply……”No you can’t Mr. or Mrs. President.” On the other hand, I have had Board members complain that the President votes on motions before the Board and that the President should never vote on an association matter unless there is a tie. To which I also have to reply: “Your’re wrong. The President always gets to vote on issues just like every other member of the Board.”
Sure, the President is often the face or voice of the Board outside the presence of a Board meeting. However, once that meeting starts, the President is simply another voice and another face on the dais.
So who still wants to be President?