IS DEBATE AND PROPER DECORUM POSSIBLE ANY LONGER?

By Eric Glazer, Esq. 

Published August 12, 2019

           

Maybe itís the mediaís fault, talk radio, reality TV, our medications, our upbringing or a simple degradation of how we feel and respect each other, but it seems that pure debate has been replaced with vulgarities, interruptions and even threats, both physical and verbal.

 

One of the worst inventions in terms of human behavior is e-mail and the ability to text each other.  Everyone is a tough guy behind the key board.  People put in print words that they would never have the courage to say face to face.

 

Clients are always showing me one e-mail or another where either a board member,  unit owner or renter drops f bombs and terrible accusations.  Some of them are truly stunning and may be criminal.  Others are just rude, crude and plain rotten.  When I see some of the comments men say to women I cringe and admittedly hope the guy gets his lights punched out one day.

           

As we all knowÖ..board meetings are often times worse than e-mails or texts.  So how do we maintain decorum?  Is it even possible?  Do we let anyone say anything as long as they do it within three minutes?  Do we post rules that say no profanity, no screaming, no yelling?  If these rules are violated, do we sue?  Do we fine?

           

All of these remedies may be possible, and in many an instance the right thing to do.  But, there may be easier solutions. I have generally found that people who know they are being recorded by a video camera are less likely to act nuts.  Video record your meetings.  Use a timer when giving people their three minutes to speak that can easily be seen.  Have a firm rule across the board Ė everyone gets three minutes.  No exceptions.

           

Finally, if there is genuine concern for violence to occur at your meeting, hire a police officer to attend.  Contact your local police department and make the necessary arrangements. This is very common now and works well.  People may be passionate about how they feel, but that passion tends to diminish when the police officer tells them theyíre going to get handcuffed if they donít calm down.  Itís unfortunate that this may be necessary, but if we canít talk to each other in a civil tongue, there may not be much of a choice.  Iím open to suggestions!


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About HOA & Condo Blog

Eric Glazer Eric Glazer graduated from the University of Miami School of Law in 1992 after receiving a B.A. from NYU. He has practiced community association law for more than 2

decades and is the owner of Glazer and Associates, P.A. a seven attorney law firm with offices in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando and satellite offices in Naples, Fort Myers and Tampa.

 

Since 2009, Eric has been the host of Condo Craze and HOAs, a weekly one hour radio show that airs at noon each Sunday on 850 WFTL.

   

See: www.condocrazeandhoas.com.

   

He is the first attorney in the State of Florida that designed a course that certifies condominium residents as eligible to serve on a condominium Board of Directors and has now certified more than 10,000 Floridians all across the state. He is certified as a Circuit Court Mediator by The Florida Supreme Court and has mediated dozens of disputes between associations and unit owners. Eric also devotes significant time to advancing legislation in the best interest of Florida community association members.


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