What Should You Trust In After a Volatile Election?
I don’t know if you remember this, but there was an election recently that was rather volatile. Whether you are happy or unhappy with the outcome, the question on everyone’s mind is: What happens next? How will our government change? How will we be governed? The final answer to those questions will not be known for some time, but what we do know is that whatever the intent, significant change in policy will be tempered and guided by our country’s Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, laws and the multitude of checks and balances inherent in the structure of our democracy. Those fundamental concepts or “governing documents,” to use a term of art, form the core of our democracy. They provide our country with stability and allow our country to transfer power relatively peacefully, no matter how contested the election.
That same respect and trust in America’s governing documents should apply with equal force to community associations. Associations are small representative democracies that face the same questions and concerns following volatile elections. What will happen next? How will our association be governed? As you attempt to address those questions, keep in mind that no matter who gets elected to your board of directors, no matter what promises they made, they still need to follow your governing documents. New board members can effect change, but what they can do and how they can do it is limited by the fundamental principles of the community’s articles, Declaration and Bylaws. New board members, no matter how much of a mandate they received during the election, cannot unilaterally change the community’s Declaration or CC&R’s and upend the core structure of an association, at least not without substantial owner input. As a result, a community’s governing documents provide an association with stability and a measure of predictability regardless of its leaders. That is a good thing.
Democracy can be beautiful and meaningful, but is often unpredictable. Fortunately, that unpredictability is tempered by the governing documents. You may love or hate your board, but your governing documents should provide you with continuity and peace of mind.