Desperately Seeking Conflict

Ken Bertolucci, CMCA   If you interact with 20 people in a business day, 19 may be pleasant encounters. But if just one is extremely disagreeable, that interaction will probably stick in your mind. You may replay it over and over throughout the day, while you think of the clever replies you wish you had said at the time. At worst, the encounter may gnaw on you after working hours and even disturb your sleep. It’s fair to say that you have allowed that person to take up space in your mind. And as a Community Association Manager, it should disturb you even more that they’re not even paying a fee for the precious real estate in your head. The High Conflict Personality When I started as a new CMCA dealing with homeowner issues, I was surprised to discover that some people didn’t seem to want a peaceful resolution. Instead, they appeared to enjoy conflict and try to increase or prolong it. Any attempt to bring the matter to a close brought resistance and caused them to raise new issues. Bill Eddy, a licensed professional as both a therapist and attorney, observed this phenomenon when dealing with such individuals in workplace or family disputes. He…Read more

Social Media in Your Community

Post responsibly: How to avoid legal risks and negative effects on social media in your community by Kiara Candelaria | CAI, May 14, 2019   Social media tools are a great way for community associations to increase engagement with their residents, but they can leave communities vulnerable to potential legal risks if managed inappropriately. Adopting a social media policy can allow communities to assign responsibility over its use and minimize abusive practices, says attorney Katrina Solomatina of Berding & Weil in Walnut Creek, Calif. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Nextdoor, as well as websites, online newsletters, and email blasts, allow community associations to facilitate communication between homeowners, provide real-time updates, and give members the ability to offer instant feedback to the board. At the same time, social media can be abused by users through practices such as cyberbullying, defamation, and invasion of privacy, Solomatina notes. Comments made through social media can have a negative effect on a community. That’s why it’s important for communities to determine who will manage and update social media platforms, who will monitor and respond to comments, who can control or remove content, who can post, and what type of content is prohibited. Community associations should adopt a policy that…Read more

Bullies should not be tolerated in HOA meetings

Q: I’ve been on our HOA board for a number of years. At a recent meeting, one of the homeowners started to yell at me. We have five members on the board but at the time of the meeting, we only had three positions filled. A motion was made and this homeowner made horrible remarks. He kept shouting and pounding on a table. He thought that the board was illegally voting on the motion because we only had three board members. He came across the table. He did not hurt me but I was scared. Our management representative and other board members tried to intervene and we tried to keep the meeting moving but he wouldn’t stop. What should we have done? A: The moment that anyone, be it a homeowner or a board member, acts in a most disrespectful and possibly harmful manner, the meeting needs to be either recessed or adjourned. If recessed, the board and the community manager can try to settle down the member; if this fails, then the meeting needs to be adjourned. A warning letter should have been sent to the member by the association’s legal counsel. The letter should have stated that if he continues to conduct themselves…Read more