Always read your Declaration as there should be rules you can use to make your board comply. Many newer condos have rules that make it mandatory for the membership to be presented with new budget each year. The new budget cannot be put in place without the membership voting. Older condos, like mine, did not protect homeowners and boards can spend freely without much accountability. Changing your Declaration with 60% or whatever is mandated is a good approach as it builds a community and further protects your interests. It is unfortunate that condo boards somehow fuel the power fantasy. Dictators, visionaries and Gods somehow come to rule condos. It is just a condo, not a soverign nation or tribe of religious followers!
If your condo is incorporated, then the board must also comply with your state corporate regulations. This means that they must record minutes, comply with all corporate rules and treat members as shareholders. Sometimes the burden of accountability is higher through the corporate regulations than the state's condo regs. You can always contact the State Atty General and find out if there is any agency that will help you. Here is Washington, there is no real enforcement authority protecting the rights of condo owners. With as many condos being built each year, you would expect that these consumer issues would have bubbled more to the top than they have.
I had a condo board member badmouthing me and others on the board, sending libelous letters to homeowners. I ended up getting an attorney and having to send a letter to the potatohead to cease and desist. It cost me nearly $300 but was well worth it. The potatohead is one of the original owners, is a crooked as any human could possibly be and somehow he still is able to garner votes from the seniors in the building. He is sneakier now at bad mouthing me, but one day he will slip or if I am lucky, will sell his two units he rents and will move on to bother someone else. My contempt for him is pretty deep since he refused to turn the water off in my side of the building when I was being flooded out by my neighbor above. I had $100, 000 in damage and potatohead told me point blank that he did not want to inconvenience anyone by turning the water off. It would have been for an hour or two while the plumber fixed the rupture in the line. Instead, I had to store all of belongings, lived in a tacky hotel for 4 months during the restoration and lived out of two suitcases during Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentines Day. The insurance company refused to pay the remainder of my claim and I suffered additional losses of more than $10K. No, potatohead is not on my Christmas card list. Board members are not necessary smart nor decent people.
My experience at my condo has really opened my eyes to the fact that many people would prefer to be a lemming than actually stand up for themselves and do the right thing. As long as their life is uninterrupted, they would prefer to remain ignorant. Even when our president was arrested for raping an autistic girl, many just wanted to put their fingers in their ears and turn away.
You would think that I lived in a bad area...I actually live in one of the most prestigous areas in Washington State. Doesn't matter what your address is there is always garbage.
If you're thinking about buying a condo, do your homework. Go door to door and talk to the neighbors. Go talk to the neighbors across the street, not just in the condo. They hear and see things and will talk. READ the minutes from meetings for the past two years. Go online and read as much as you can about the association. READ the declaration and see if it is protects your rights and is aligned with current law. Ask about the financials, if there will be assessments, if there is a reserve study. Don't rely on your realtor to do what you should be doing to protect yourself. ASK ASK ASK. If not, you will pay the price.