Reader Questions - Too Close to Employee, Long Term President

board members h o a homefront reader questions Dec 10, 2012

Mr. Richardson,

I was wondering if you would answer a question for me.

We have a Board member who is literally sleeping with the association’s property supervisor, who is an association employee. We had an executive session meeting to discuss personnel issues prior to the regular board meeting. I suggested to her to recuse herself from the meeting to allow the board to talk freely about all personnel issues because the property supervisor might be discussed.

The Board president insisted she had the right to stay but would not vote. I believe this limits our discussion.

Thank you,

P.I., San Clemente


A romantic relationship between a director and a vendor or employee is a very bad idea. Period. If that relationship is important to the director, that person should step down from the board. By insisting that the employee stay during the personnel discussion, the president was violating important ethical and legal duties to the association. The circumstance you describe is one where the president put the romantic relationship above the duties to the HOA.

The board should ask the president to resign from the board. If the request is not granted, the board should elect a new president, and not permit that director to attend any further closed session discussions regarding that employee.


Hello Kelly,

I am in an association of 10 units.

An owner and his wife have been on the Board the entire duration of the Association. For the first 15 years he was president, a spent couple of years as a board member, and the last 2 years as treasurer. He recently resigned from all duties, however his wife just volunteered to be board secretary at the last meeting.

I feel they have monopolized/manipulated the Board positions. They claim it is because no one else wants to get involved. But, I think no one wants to get involved because of them. Is it legal for a homeowner (and/or his wife) to hold positions on the board for this amount of time?

Thank you for any advice you can share with me,

M.O., Long Beach

Dear M.O.:,

Common interest developments, even small ones, are democracies. If the members are ready for a change, they can elect a new board. Oftentimes members are mildly dissatisfied, but not so unhappy that they are willing to step up and take their turn on the board. On the other hand, it is also possible that the other neighbors are happy to let an owner run things (I am guessing you don’t have a management company and that the board has to do everything).

I am often asked about term limits, which are not required by law but can be amended into bylaws by member vote. On larger associations where there is a greater pool of possible volunteers, term limits can make sense, to keep new perspectives coming into the board. However, on small associations such as yours, it is often very difficult to find people who will serve.

Best regards,

Written by Kelly G. Richardson

Kelly G. Richardson Esq., CCAL, is a Fellow of the College of Community Association Lawyers and a Partner of Richardson | Ober | DeNichilo LLP, a California law firm known for community association advice. Submit questions to [email protected]. Past columns at All rights reserved®.