How to avoid being purged
“Surely anyone sitting on an ethics committee must be above reproach and show the highest level of ethical conduct.”
—A Keen interest, Private Eye #1371

It is extremely awkward to be a newly elected director who joins a board where the other directors make it plain that they do not accept you as part of their team.

It is equally awkward when a director sees that the majority of the board is favouring a particular contractor or is underfunding the reserve funds. Tensions may rise when a director hires a relative or the manager is overstepping her authority.

In the above situations, and in many more, the minority director is in danger of being kicked off the board by an Ethics Review. So what can you do?

Keep your nose clean

You should not break the rules such as parking in the visitors parking lot, asking the superintendent to fix a dripping tap during his regular working hours, accepting "gifts" from contractors or gossiping about the other directors to the owners.

You should never use the corporation's credit card to make a personal purchase even if you immediately repay the corporation as the use will be remembered years later but not the repayment.

Board business

Do not initiate a conversation about board business with the other directors outside the board meetings, especially if you are trying to get them to change their minds on an issue. This can be used against you by saying you were interfering with their quiet enjoyment of their unit and common elements.

At a board meeting, if you disagree with a decision passed by the majority, insist that your dissenting vote be recorded in the minutes and then check to insure that your dissent has been properly recorded. Then let the subject go; you have taken it as far as you could.

Quietly keep written records of when the other directors violate the code of ethics. For sure that should be quite often as many directors believe that their position gives them licence to flaunt the rules, especially if they are part of the majority on the board.

Keep the fact that you are keeping track of their transactions to yourself. Stick to the facts, record the five W's (who, what where & when) to maintain your credibility.

Be leery
One director in Mississauga, who was violating the declaration by renting out his furnished units by the day, week or month, paid a female employee to make sexual advances towards the president while she was secretly recording the conversations.

The director wanted to have something on the president so he would not try to shutdown the director's illegal short-term rental business.

Stay cool
Don't argue, swear or pound on the table during board meetings. That will get you no where. Wait until the next AGM and try to get credible candidates to unseat the other directors as their terms expire.

Pre-empt strike
If you detect the board, and usually the manager is involved, are getting ready to haul you in front of their kangaroo court, you could surprise them by laying charges against one or two of the other directors first. Why not?

The board will be shocked to hear, I am sure, that one director regularly parks her car in a fire zone, the president had his unit painted for free from one of the condo's contractors and the manager gives contracts to a company owned by her fiancÚ.

That should put some sand in the gears. (The whole gang of them will hate it if you fight back.)

When it stops being fun, it is time to move on.

Instead of going through all the bull that I listed above, it may be best to resign from the board and withdraw from the corporation's politics and enjoy a peaceful and stress-free condo life.

You may decide it is best to sell your unit and move somewhere where you will be happier. It may also be a very good idea.

After all, being a director is suppose to be a volunteer position that is taken on as a community service. If instead, if becomes a source of stress, loss of sleep and possible financial losses, why bother?

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