Correcting a Major Officer Mistake
© 2014 EEASI Corporation


Another practical question that occurs infrequently, but is very serious when it does occur, is when someone unknown is elected as a officer but proves not to have the skills necessary to lead the organization.

An officer does not have to commit a felony to require removal. The most serious offense is breach of fiduciary duty. However there are other subtle but serious reasons to consider removal. Most prominently is that the new officer polarizes the organization and damages its ability to function efficiently.

Polarizing personalities and adversarial personalities are not good for the club. Typical of these personalities is a high degree of self centeredness that results in their being in a constant state of denial with respect to the damage they are dong to the organization. Among the worst of these personalities is the individual with an unshakable belief in their ability to lead regardless of what damage they do. When criticized, the officer will deny responsibility for anything that has gone wrong on their watch, even if it has been documented that they are responsible. The worst case individual has many of the traits listed in Table 1 Below:

  • Has an exaggerated sense of self-importance which may include claiming exaggerated professional achievements; and, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements 
  • Believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other "special" people 
  • Requires excessive admiration and obedience from volunteers on penalty of expulsion
  • Has difficulty tolerating anyone who disagrees with their opinion
  • Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations or may feel that they should have total authority over the organization without anyone looking over their shoulder
  • Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others. Is capable of offending others, but is unable to recognize, accept or apologize of any offensive behavior 
  • Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes: they claim to know what is good for the organization more than any other successor or anyone else. They will be inclined to defend any actions or even missteps on the basis that they alone know what is good for the organization
  • May be rude and condescending to previous officers without any awareness of the offensive nature of their actions
  • Unable or unwilling to accept responsibility for their missteps
Table 1

The type of personality listed in Table 1 cannot be persuaded to resign for the good of the organization and so must be micromanaged to control the level of damage they are capable of doing. Four steps must be taken:

  • Reject any suggestions or recommendations presented to the Board by the officer
  • Carefully review everything the officer is assigned to do for compliance with 501 regulations
  • Micromanage the officer
  • Whenever possible, assign action items to anyone other than the offending officer

Any normal individual, when confronted with a consistent pattern of errors that have polarized or have otherwise damaged the organization will either act decisively to remedy the errors and ask for advise and council from the board, or willingly step down for the good of the club.

In a worse case scenario, the IRS can be involved to remove the officer through the IRS Form 13909 route.