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Action without Membership Vote and approval


Guest Deb
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Hello. 

 We have a summer place on a lake that has an informal "lake association". There are bout 40 homes and  only one family who lives there year round. Most people are only there intermittently during the summer. The last few years there has been some algae challenges. The Board has researched many options to try to resolve it. The DEC has denied applications for the alum treatment. The annual membership meeting is the Saturday of the 4th of July holiday weekend. Last year all the members agreed we would gather more information over the next year and present it at the next annual meeting. One of the members researched a company and wants to have an application of a  copper sulfate product. We would have needed to apply for the permit last Fall in order for the DEC to possibly approve it for this spring. Our bylaws do not allow any expenditure above $250 without membership approval. This same member was quite upset and said he would advance the $250 to avoid the process being delayed another year.. It is not feasible to email members  because not many respond. We, the Board, explained that we cannot do that without a membership vote and approval per bylaws and we adhere to democratic process. We offered  him to propose this to the membership at the next annual meeting and we would proceed accordingly. Many of the members DO NOT want a copper sulfate type product due to the potential for toxins being introduced in the lake. This person, who is NOT on the Board,  was highly disturbed with our response ( that we would have to go through the process of proposing this option to the membership, and give the membership the opportunity to vote so a democratic process is maintained, and to approve the $250 expense as well). He wrote a derogatory email  to the Board telling us that we have no idea how  a Board operates. Our Board adheres to the bylaws re: expenses being approved by the membership and do not feel it is right to  spend that amount without approval  or apply for a DEC  permit  for chemicals placed in the lake without membership discussion and approval. 

Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.  I thank you very much for your time.

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Guest Deb, I am afraid that this is ultimately a matter of interpreting your own bylaws, and that is something which is beyond the scope of this forum.

You do have some alternatives however, such as having the membership, at the next meeting, authorize the board or a committee to handle the matter and to set an upper limit on what they may spend. Adopt a motion that gives the board or a committee a job description and a budget to work with.

Edited to add: I based my answer on the assumption that your Association has only one General membership a year. Even if you meet more often, you can still authorize the board or a committee to handle the matter without having to wait for the next general membership meeting.

Edited by Richard Brown
Added last paragraph
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Thank you  Mr Brown for the suggestion; however, until that is done, the Board cannot do what the unhappy member is asking. The membership agreed at the last meeting to discuss it further at the 2017 meeting. The unhappy member had an opportunity to propose that at that time and did not..  So I suspect we gave the correct response according to the current situation.

 

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Thank you Mr Katz. The unhappy member apparently  feels we can do this without being authorized by the membership.  I suspect it's because it is something he wants done immediately. The water is safe and can be used for swimming, boating and fishing so there is no urgency. The reason I wrote was to make sure we were following proper procedure.

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