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Q. Our super is lazy and ineffectual, but whenever I speak to a board member about replacing him, they always shrug and say it's hard to do anything because he's belongs to the union.
Can that really be true--are we saddled with him for life?
A. Terminating a super who belongs to the union is not impossible, but it's usually lengthy, contentious and unpleasant all around, say our experts.
- Write a job description including a list of responsibilities. The RAB, which deals with these issues regularly should have some written materials to assist.
- Meet with the super and review the duties and responsibilities. Give the super a copy of them. Get the super’s feedback to determine if he/she has been performing ineffectually or not performing and also whether he/she has any comments that could sharpen the items on the list. Have the super acknowledge receiving of a copy of the rules and responsibilities. If possible, create benchmarks or timelines for accomplishing long overdue or forgotten work items and projects. Prepare a memorandum of the meeting to serve as a record of what was discussed at the meeting. Review the list with the union representative.
- Next, the managing agent, the house committee or the board should monitor the super’s performance and ask the managing agent and/or a board member to bring any shortfalls to the super’s attention. If they're significant, write them up and have the write-ups acknowledged by the super.
- If problems persist, the board can increase its response in proportion to include suspensions. Again, have the super acknowledge the write-ups leading to suspensions. When there is a pattern of defiencies documented through write-ups and suspensions, warn the super that he is in danger of being fired. If that doesn't work, termination is in order.
At any point during the process, "the super may see the writing on the wall and be willing to discuss a buyout," says Wagner.
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