I am the president. I didn’t really want the job, but no one else was stepping up. They told me not to worry, there wasn’t much I had to do, they just needed someone to occupy the spot on the board of directors. It would be easy. My aptitude for (or ineptitude with) being the president aside, I still hold the position with the full support of  50 of my closest neighbors. People who know me well are surprised I took the position. I am more comfortable being one of the people who actually do the work in an organization, rather than the one who presides over it. Nevertheless, I have held the job for a couple of years now. I can’t vouch for my effectiveness, but I’ve yet to hear a call for my ouster.

We are an association has been slow to make decisions. We have been dysfunctional for a long time. We are plagued with non-participation. We have our share of complainers, but they don’t come to the meetings. I understand if a person is physically unable to attend the two association meetings we hold each year. We have an aging population, but the vast majority of residents are perfectly capable of getting their collective ass off the couch and getting to at least one meeting. I’ve been to all of them except one, and I was out of town that time. Yes the meetings can last too long. There is bickering, there is whining, but there is dialog. Decisions actually get made sometimes, too.

So, what brought this up? I received a letter from concerned neighbors, whom I shall call Ted and Alice (not their real names). They live in the neighborhood and sent me a letter? The sent me a letter? It was actually sent to the association, but with my address. We have a P.O. box for association business, but perhaps Ted and Alice wanted to make sure the president read it. I did, and it pissed me off.

I see Ted and Alice walking their dog at least twice a day. I often see Ted walking the dog early in the morning as I go to work. We always smile and wave at each other, but there has been very little interaction otherwise. We just never see them outside at other times. And, I’ve never seen them at an association meeting, that I can recall.

What pissed me off about the letter was that they had many concerns about the condition of the common areas. They felt a neighborhood such as ours should command higher property values, but the condition of the road, the poorly maintained landscaping, and the missing entrance sign (among other things) might put the subdivision in a poor light. Someone (they?) might not get as much for their house, should they put it up for sale. The sad state of the current housing market notwithstanding, Ted and Alice have valid concerns. The association has been slow to act on some issues, but HAD TED AND ALICE ATTENDED THE ASSOCIATION MEETING WE JUST HELD A WEEK AGO ALL THEIR QUESTIONS WOULD HAVE BEEN ANSWERED, DAMMIT.

They might have even been able to volunteer to help keep up the landscaping they feel needs so much work. Ted and Alice, don’t come up with a task unless you’re willing to perform it yourself or contribute in some way. The only people we hire are the ones who cut the grass in the park and plow the roads in winter. Everything else is performed by residents.

I have attended the meetings with basically the same 10-15 people (out of 50 property owners) since I moved here six and a half years ago. The same great grandmother has been the secretary, but she can’t be expected to keep it going forever, God bless her. The same men have done the accounting for years. I think half of this group have already been president. This group cannot continue to do all of the association work, then listen to non-participants complain about the state of things. Just like with our government, you have no right to complain about elected officials if you didn’t bother to vote in the election.

As a resident who dutifully attends all the meetings, I would like to flip Ted and Alice the bird (and dare them to try to sell their house in this market). As president, I have to take the high road, and send out a very tactful response. But I will send it out to the entire association, and lay on the guilt trip. I don’t expect the floodgates to open and see a vast majority of members at the next meeting, but it would be nice to have a quorum before the proxies are counted. For once.