We are a 164 unit town home community in North Carolina charging $200/month HOA dues. Was elected to the Board a year ago and by the end of the first year I realized the Board members do not understand nor want to understand what our governing documents are about nor the state/federal/nonprofit laws we need to follow. By profession, I was a paralegal in the past for about 10 years so am acutely aware of contracts and lawsuits. The year I have been on the board 5 board members quit (we are a 9 member board) which is a pattern of what has happened with this board the 3 years I have lived here.
There are 3 people (president, secretary & treasurer) who make all of the decisions for the board but everyone follows the president's lead. He is a very forceful personality. The President's son-in-law is the only contractor the board is allowed to use to do maintenance and capital improvement projects. I am the compliance committee for the board. Last summer the secretary decided to revise our handbook. I was included in the first meeting but was kicked off the committee after the meeting when I disagreed with her. After that she and the President and Treasurer revised the handbook with no board approval and handed it out at our October annual meeting.
Since this was my first annual meeting, I didn't realize until it was too late that the board did not follow the procedures set forth in our by-laws (no notices sent, etc). At our board meeting in November after the annual meeting I brought to the board's attention that the handbook was revised without votes from the board and that the annual meeting was not conducted in accordance with our by-laws. The board exploded, especially the Secretary. They deflected the real issue saying that I have a concern with the wording of the handbook no matter how many times I have told them verbally and in writing that it is with the procedure. After the meeting the treasurer asked to speak with me about my concerns regarding the wording of the handbook. When I told her it was not the wording but that the board is not operating in accordance with our governing documents her response was, "do you know how old they are/". She agreed to take my concerns to our attorney but was not willing to let me see their response. When I insisted, she gave me a copy of the attorney's response which basically said everything I had told her. She is keeping the correspondence with our attorney quiet and attempting to spin it to the rest of the board saying that a few mistakes were made but they know now and won't make them again the in future.
When the issue about the handbook was brought up at our meeting this last week I attempted to explain how important our governing documents were and the liability involved in being a board member. The 3 controlling board members (president, secretary and treasurer) attempted to bully me and confuse the issue. When I offered to educate the board they all said they did not want to be educated with one member getting so angry and frustrated she walked out.
I am retired and when looking for a place to live it was very difficult to find housing that was affordable. In fact, most of the people who live in this community are retired with very few younger residents. I really don't want to move. I am just throwing this out there in the hope of getting some feedback or direction as to the best way to proceed. The recovery after being intimidated and bullied is just too much. I am still in a state of shell shock. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated.