The top story in the news the last week or two has certainly been the tragic death of Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York. Regardless of whether or not you believe the grand jury did or didn’t make the right decision, it seems that everyone is in agreement that it’s a shame all this originally came about because Mr. Garner’s crime was selling some loose cigarettes. Perhaps the police could have asked him to stop, confiscated the cigarettes, or simply looked the other way instead of attempting to arrest him for such a petty offense. Sure, technically he was committing a crime, but he didn’t rob or steal from anyone or otherwise assault or batter anyone. What he was doing was simply no big deal. On that day, at that very moment, there were certainly other crimes occurring in Staten Island that were more deserving of the attention and resources of several of New York City’s finest.
Our readers of this blog live in community associations throughout the state, all of which have rules and regulations in place. There is always a debate about whether or not the board must enforce every single rule on the books. Some bylaws say the Board “shall” enforce the rules. Other bylaws say the Board “may” enforce the rules. So, there is some discretion there, as long as all residents are treated equally. In other words there can’t be selective enforcement, requiring some owners to comply with a rule while looking away as to other owners who violate the same rule.
Are there rules in your community though that while on the books, simply lack any reasonable justification and shouldn’t be enforced? On the contrary, are there rules which obviously serve a legitimate purpose but are not enforced enough by your Board of Directors? Should there be some discretion or should all the rules be enforced unless changed or removed by the Board or community?