It’s Mr. President to you

Posted by on March 20, 2008 in Random pontification

As most of you know, I bought a condo in Harlem in June 2007. The unit is an apartment in a brownstone, but in fact, the developer bought two brownstone buildings and combined them together to make it a double-wide brownstone with a single address and shared access. There are 10 units in total and when I moved in, there were still three or four units available for sale.A few months ago, the last unit was sold and the new owner of that last unit sold initiated some calls to me and another neighbor to see how we can begin to establish our own board. You see, the developer had incorporated into our contract documents his rights to retain control of our building until all the units had been sold and thereafter, he’d hand over control after some period of time unless the building initiated efforts to do so earlier. I think that our newest neighbor is so eager to emancipate ourselves because she and her husband want to re-model their new home and don’t want to rely on the developer with respect to permits, licenses, insurance, etc.

We’ve had a few meetings in the building so far and in all of them, I’ve been pretty vocal. Anyone surprised by this news? We’ve also developed an e-mail list where we share updates on individual tasks or new goings-on. Among our concerns was the fact that many of us had different interpretations of the contract language, so after contacting several attorneys with the eventual goal of hiring one on retainer, it occurred to us that we should establish some leadership roles so that all ten units don’t have to be involved in every decision.

Maybe it’s because of my business acumen or just because I like to focus on getting things accomplished (I attribute this to triathlon; with so little spare time thanks to training, I’ve become pretty efficient), but folks in the building have been turning to me for opinions on how certain matters should be handled… and when we opened up the meeting for nominations for President, all fingers were pointed at me. I was flattered, I think. The reality is that it’s probably just more work for me when I’d rather eat chips, watch TV and play Yahoo backgammon. Even though it’s only a ten unit building, it is a leadership position and I’ll take it very seriously. It’ll also be good practice for managing relationships and issues among a constituency, skills that will hopefully serve me well in the professional arena should I eventually get motivated enough to want to climb higher up the corporate ladder.

In any event, I’ve given Deborah the options of calling me Mr. President, Sir President, El Commandante, Your Honor, His Highness, etc. The feedback wasn’t positive.

As a postscript, it should be noted that it’s not official by any means until we establish a charter document. At one point in the meeting after I accepted the nomination, my neighbor Claudia walked in late and as my first act as President, I stated that I will not tolerate such insubordination in this administration. Again, no positive feedback. Something tells me my idea of humor isn’t really very funny at all.

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