Are all trustee boards inherently awful?

trustee board

I live in a complex. It’s not ideal, but it’s a pretty nice place to stay. It was great as a first home for me and Dean, and while it’s getting pretty small now, at least it’s safe, and nicely run. We bought our unit seven years ago now, and four years ago I became a trustee so that I could keep tabs on the estate and make sure our investment was being well taken care of. A couple years later, some real rabble rousers started to get involved, and our then chairman who had managed the complex for almost a decade decided it was better to sell his unit and get out than to stay on. He advised me to do the same. I planned on resigning from the trustee board, but instead got roped into becoming the chairperson (yeah, don’t ask me how that happened).

After a year as chair, a whole new trustee board was elected and it seemed okay. We had a new chairperson (thankfully, seeing as I hated being the chair), and things continued on. Our estate even managed to install fiber, which is really all I ever wanted anyway. But now it seems like chaos reigns supreme, with all sorts of secret meetings, backstabbing, scheming and nepotism. Is this just what all trustee boards and home owners associations become?

I don’t know if it’s the illusion of power, or people being forced to work together who have no financial incentive to behave, but people are awful. And while this current board is bad, we had some previous issues with earlier boards, too. It’s like people can’t get along, can’t be civil, can’t cooperate. And then things get personal and ugly.

At this point, I no longer see value in serving on the board. It takes up precious time that I really don’t have, and it actually just makes me miserable – I’d rather be home with Dean and Harley. I fear for the future of our complex; the trustees have already managed to move from an established estate manager to a random guy who has no experience. I wouldn’t be surprised if other service providers walked soon, too. This won’t bode well for my investment, my home. And yet, I simply no longer want to be involved with what these people are doing, with how they conduct themselves, with their behavior. I don’t want to associate with them, or be considered one of them. And I’m not sure what lesson I would even tell Harley to learn from this if she were old enough to understand – should I stick it out to stand up for what I believe in, or walk away from a toxic environment rather than be associated with its awfulness?

Seven years ago today, this place became our home. And in that time, so much has changed. Should I even care about the trustee stuff anymore, especially if Dean and I are thinking of emigrating? Are any of you involved in these sort of local management boards? Do they ever work nicely, or is there always drama and conflict?

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