An Opinion By Jan Bergemann 
President, Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Published June 12, 2010


Reading the guidelines published by the board of a Florida homeowners' association reminds me of the English version of a communiqué from the SED (Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands) of former East Germany: Follow the party line or suffer the consequences! The majority of the board is the absolute ruler of the community and its opinion is the law. That is exactly what this sentence says: "The Board shall have sole responsibility and authority for determining if a member is in good standing."

Even if it reads like this communiqué has the best interest of the community in mind, it gives a few board members the absolute power over all its neighbors.

Read the exact wording and you will quickly realize that it gives the board absolute power, even over the opinion of all other homeowners. The headline "MEMBERSHIP IN GOOD STANDING" is absolutely misleading, because the content really means: "You don't follow the board's party line and you are no longer part of the ruling clique, you are immediately considered the enemy -- part of the group the board considers the 'DISGRUNTLED OWNERS'."

When reading this communiqué, please don't forget, Florida is still part of the United States of America, a country with a national anthem that contains the words: 

"And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave 

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!"

Since prayers opening board meetings are no longer considered politically correct, maybe we should all sing our National Anthem before each board meeting and remember the lyrics. Maybe that would help to remove dictatorial ideas out of some board members' minds?



Let it be resolved, that the Board of Directors of the Association shall have the right to remove any officer, committee member, or appointee at any time with or without cause. The Board of Directors has the right and authority to take action and or make decisions which are consistent with and /or contrary, in whole or in part, to any committee or subcommittee recommendations or decisions. All Board of Directors members, Neighborhood Committees, and Standing Committees are to be members in good standing. The Board shall have sole responsibility and authority for determining if a member is in good standing. The Board may determine, in its own judgment, that extenuating circumstances exist which have prevented a particular member from meeting all the requirements as a member in good standing. A member is regarded to be in good standing if:

  1. All assessments or other charges levied by the Association are paid in full, when due and payable.

  2. Have no unresolved HOA rule or guideline violations, or pending actions before the Board.

  3. Attendance at meetings is consistent. Three consecutive unexcused absences may mean removal from the committee.

  4. Acts in the best interest of the community, and without preference to personal gain

  5. Acts with a professional demeanor at meetings.

  6. Acts without undermining board actions with the membership.

  7. Refrains from issues that may be a conflict of interest.

  8. Is not guilty of a crime that impacts the HOA business.

  9. Is not guilty of any criminal action involving or against the HOA.

Board and Committee members:

  • Serve on a voluntary basis. No officer or member shall benefit or profit at any time from his or her services to the Association.

  • Must abstain from voting on issues with whom they have a personal or familial relationship to avoid a potential conflict of interest.

  • Act in the Community’s best interest at all times.

  • Act only within the scope of authority.

  • Maintain a supportive and positive attitude, be loyal, and promote harmony.