Q&A: Save Our Super

Q. Our super was hired six months ago. He’s a hard worker and all the tenants like him. But the president of the board fired him three days before his six-month probation period was up. The tenants requested a special meeting to find out why the super was fired. We believe the president has personal issues with the super. We are being ignored by both the board and the management. What can we do?

               —Speaking Out for a Friend

A. Says Scott Rosenlund, the founding shareholder at the law firm of Rosenlund Legal, P.C., in Chicago: “Aside from any possible employment or labor law issues, from an Illinois condominium/community association law perspective, one potential point of concern could be the association president unilaterally making major association business decisions. Associations must operate in accordance with a proper corporate governance structure. In other words, business decisions such as the hiring and firing of employees must be made by the association’s board of directors as a whole.

“It remains possible that the decision to terminate the employee in fact was made by the board. But even if that is what actually occurred, the decision still should have been voted upon by the board at a properly-noticed board meeting that was open to the homeowners. While Illinois open board meeting requirements applicable to associations allow boards to discuss employment matters and certain other limited categories of sensitive issues outside of open board meetings, and boards are not required to disclose to homeowners why an association employee has been terminated, any final hiring or firing decision must be made by a board vote at an open board meeting.

“If a board is not following proper board voting procedures, or if concerned homeowners simply believe the board is not making decisions that are in the best interests of the building, the most pragmatic option for those homeowners likely would be to mobilize and elect different board members at the next annual meeting of homeowners. The homeowners also could initiate procedures to remove board members. Exact board removal requirements will depend upon the type of association and governing document requirements. But the removal of a board member may require the affirmative vote of two-thirds of all of the homeowners, so the removal of board members can be difficult to accomplish. In an extreme case, homeowners could file a lawsuit seeking to compel the board to follow basic board voting requirements.”

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