A continuing series
Yes, I’m a pariah. A social outcast. A person despised by the Board of Directors of the Woodland House Condominium Association. (Note: there’s one new member who was just elected last week; I don’t think she’s tainted yet.)
How can I be so sure of their animosity?
I can see the daggers in their eyes, that sudden flash of hatred, when I walk into the community room, where board meetings are held. Or when I pass a board member in the garage.
“It’s you, you scum of the earth, you thorn in my side. You, who think you’re so high and mighty, so smart. We’ll get you yet, you just wait and see.”
After a split second, they avert their eyes, looking down at the ground or at the table at which they’re seated. Or at the clock on the wall, when I’m addressing them during the public comment portion of the board meeting. That’s when they sometimes talk over me, trying to rush me along.
How did I get myself into such a situation?
It was easy. I attend every board meeting, and stay until the bitter end. On average, one-hundred-fifty minutes of torture. I’m usually one of only two people who remain when the meeting is adjourned.
As a result, I’m well-informed about issues the Board is discussing. I also bring forward issues I think they ought to be considering, like energy conservation and necessary repairs to the physical plant, which have been ignored. I come with color 8″ x 10″ photographs, which are indisputable. I read succinct remarks, typed beforehand, after a board member criticized me in open meeting for speaking too long.
“Why do you do this to yourself?” an elderly man in my high-rise building recently asked.
It’s easy. I pay almost eight-thousand dollars a year in condominium fees (heat, electricity, and cable are included in our assessments).
That’s not small change. If I bought a blouse at Nordstrom’s for eighty dollars and it fell apart due to poor workmanship, I’d take it back. I intend to get what I pay for here, too.
Not only that, I’m committed to democracy and open participation, to the degree that I spent eight years earning a Ph.D. in public policy. It’s an anathema to me when a board establishes a 1-person committee to select carpet that is going to cost the condominium association – us — $180K.
So you see, being who I am, there’s really no choice.
Yet I bet I’m not the only one struggling with a recalcitrant condo board of directors. In the upcoming weeks I plan to tell you about some of my experiences here, and hope to hear about yours, too.
Wait till you hear!
For now, happy trails to you, until we meet again. ~ Doreen
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