Q&A: Super Defense

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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?

                          —Trying to Right a Wrong

A. “A board of trustees has a right and obligation to employ individuals on behalf of an association and hire and fire them in accordance with the terms of any contract,” says Hackensack-based attorney Donald Onorato. “Generally, the president would not have the authority to fire a superintendent unless the rest of the board joined in the decision. Again, it is a board decision and not up to an individual director.

“Nevertheless, association members under most bylaws would not have any say in the hiring or firing of an employee. Based upon the writer, they may have called a special meeting to ascertain why the board terminated the superintendent, but the board has no obligation to provide a response except to say that it is a privacy or employment issue and they are not permitted to discuss it at an open meeting.

“If the residents believe that the president acted in his own self-interest and breached his fiduciary duty to the membership, they should call a special meeting under the condo documents for purposes of removing the president. Most bylaws contain a provision where if the residents obtain a certain number of votes in favor of calling a special meeting, the board would then be under an obligation to do so. If the board then calls a special meeting, there would be a vote as to whether or not to remove the president. I believe that is probably the most prudent course of action if the residents believe that the board is not serving their interests and has some hidden agenda which is detrimental to the residents of the community.” 

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