Re: Fiduciary Responsibilities - Taking Care of the Community
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 9 Jul 2012 08:25:03 -0700 (PDT)
On 9 Jul 2012, at 12:46 AM, Norman Gauss wrote:

> An example of a situation where only the Board should act is in financial
> problems with individual members.  

Fidiciary means acting for the good of all the individual homeowners. not one's 
_own_ personal interests. It is still the responsibility of the board to 
protect the interests of individual homeowners. The both/and view is important 
as opposed to the either/or.

> These are considered confidential.  Also,
> we feel that determining penalties on members who purposely violate the
> association rules or abuse their parking privileges are not suitable matters
> for general discussion.

Why? Many people hold this view but I find it odd. If the aim is to build a 
community is which everyone is caring and supportive of other members, they 
need information to do that. The "negative" is just as important as the 
"positive" in developing relationships. Otherwise you have fair weather 
"polite" relationships that are not will be as meaningful as relationships that 
anyone would have with neighbors. 

Is that the aim of cohousing? Perhaps it is. I want/wanted more from cohousing.

>  The whole community cannot be its own fiduciary because
> it cannot prevent personal interests from figuring into community decisions.

Why? If members of the board can, why can't others? Why assume that Board 
members have more insight than other members?

> A Board is legally required to manage the community for everybody's benefit.
> People are elected to perform such duties.  The whole community cannot elect
> itself to perform such duties.

Why not?

I understand that these are the "normal" expectations in the legal community 
but they are there to be questioned. Cohousing has asked Why? in many areas. 
Unless it also asked them in the legal and financial areas, it will be subtly 
and not so subtly shackled with assumptions that are not valid or useful.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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