Florida statutes governing condominium and cooperative associations specifically provide that it is the association’s board of directors that is responsible for the administration of the association. Similarly, the governing documents for most mandatory homeowners associations governed by Chapter 720 of the Florida Statutes and community associations governed by Chapter 617 of the Florida Statutes provide for administration by a board of directors elected by the association’s members.
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for a President to overlook or ignore statutes and the association’s bylaws and attempt to bypass the association’s board (and in the most extreme situations, the association’s members) in making decisions or taking actions unilaterally.
These decisions or actions are often taken without any input from other board members or the community’s manager. As a result, the President may have already committed the association to a particular course of action (such as entering into a contract to purchase a vehicle or other expensive piece of equipment) before anyone else in the community knows that the purchase has occurred.
In these situations, the President may have clearly exceeded his or her authority–however, he or she may have nonetheless bound the association under the doctrine of "apparent authority" and the association’s members would be obligated to honor a contract that the association’s board of directors never approved.
Presidents should be reminded that, in most, if not all, community associations, the President is elected by only a small group of individuals–the members of the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors does not have the authority to delegate the power to run the association and the community to any one person, including the President.
The association’s members elect a Board of Directors and it is that Board–and not any one person– that is empowered with the administration of the ROC.
Presidents should also remember that a Board that appoints one of its members as the association’s President has the power to remove that person from the office of President if that Board sees fit to do so.
Obviously, there are certain day-to-day operational decisions that should fall within the discretion of a President and/or ROC manager. However, the President that chooses to exceed the scope of his or her authority does so at the President’s peril–and that of the association itself.