“Who is going to stop Howard?” our neighbors moaned. Howard, a long-term resident in our NYC co-op, had a slick way of – as a Board member – slipping in building legislation that invariably managed to benefit – amazingly – Howard. The most recent outrage: Howard obtained and voted, for the second year in a row, a proxy for apartment 334, nullifying the vote of the soon-to-be new owner, a dear friend of the deceased shareholder. Also, Howard was a close personal friend of the estate attorney, whom he had highly recommended for the work.
Howard loved “stirring the pot. ”
He then made two fatal mistakes. One: he asked me to co-chair the 2016 Board nominating committee with him, and Two: he proceeded to throw a new tenant off the nominee list and insert himself as a candidate. I had him firmly in my sights.
Numbers of shareholders had complained vigorously about Howard’s behavior to the 2015 Board, to absolutely no avail. Something dramatic was needed. I volunteered.
I am the least confrontational person extant. I want people to like me. I have said nothing in annual shareholders’ meetings for 30 years. I wrote a short speech, outlining Howard’s current transgressions, asking the attendees to contemplate the ethics and possible collusion involved. Is this someone we want on the co-op’s Board of Directors, yet again?
The meeting day arrived. I violently regretted what I had so quickly offered. I wondered if there was anyone else who could read this essay (yeah, right) or if I could suddenly have an incapacitating accident to keep me from delivering this damning statement. No.
About to have a near-death experience, I was hyperventilating, sweating, shaking, and having auditory hallucinations. They would surely lynch me in mid-sentence. I stood and delivered. No one said anything. I sat down. Total silence. Someone finally asked “Did you discuss this with Howard beforehand?” Are you crazy???
Yes, there were some owners who never spoke to me again, including Howard and his wife. But there were numerous recent shareholders who saw me as their new hero. Howard was not voted onto the 2016 Board.
Sally Haver is a senior career management consultant with a broad-based business background encompassing human resources consulting, recruitment, advertising/marketing, music production, academia and show business. Now retired, she is an editor and a frequent contributor to The Connector, covering the emerging new work force of retirees, who are choosing to work for the sheer love of it.