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Subject: Forums like this to serve the intent of open board meetings
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JK7
(California)

Posts:22


03/04/2017 7:27 AM  
It seems the intent of open board meetings is so that homeowners can see the deliberation and decisions made by board members.

It would seem forums like this can serve the intent of open board meetings.

For example, I noticed that a google account can set up a group forum where only the selected members (board members only) can write each other. This group forum can be publicized to the homeowners. Each conversation can then be deleted after it is put into minutes.

Is there any reason why this wouldnt work to serve the same intent as open meetings?

Why I ask is because sometimes waiting for open board meeting to decide on very important and urgent matters is limiting, time-consuming, and sometimes costly for our association.

Our association is in financial trouble and the need to act quickly is a necessity sometimes.

PitA


Posts:0


03/04/2017 8:26 AM  
quick, knee jerk decisions most likely CAUSED or CONTRIBUTED to whatever issues you are having


quick decisions are only necessary in an EMERGENCY situation
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:14635


03/04/2017 8:33 AM  
Posted By JK7 on 03/04/2017 7:27 AM

Our association is in financial trouble and the need to act quickly is a necessity sometimes.




CA law (although others may disagree) allows for action without meetings providing it is an emergency.

Per the statutes an emergency is defined as: "circumstances that could not have been reasonably foreseen which require immediate attention and possible action by the board, and which of necessity make it impracticable to provide notice" to the membership.

See: EMERGENCY MEETINGS on the davis-stirling site.

Additionally, the Board can authorize certain individuals to act upon the issue without additional approval.

example: We authorized the maintenance officer to spend funds for snow removal loader service ($200 per hour) providing the Maintenance Officer and VP were in agreement.

You might authorize the Treasurer to do the same (for specific situations) providing that the President concurs. This way, action can be done with less then a quorum and a report is simply made to the Board each month under the heading of that topic (listed on the agenda).

The other option is to call an emergency meeting each time.
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:2032


03/04/2017 9:41 AM  
A "meeting" as defined by the California Legislative branch is a gathering of a majority of directors at the same time and place to "hear, discuss, or deliberate upon any item of business that is within the authority of the board. The key words, which are not understood by some, is the same time and place.

A forum, such as this is not "same time and place", neither is an email. Now, if you have some techno wizards, you could do this by webinars or teleconference. A couple of years ago I had two associations that I set up GoToMeeting accounts and that is how they conducted their meetings. Surprising, they had just as many members join the conversion as if it was held in person.

Another option is to delegate the hell out of everything, so that meetings really aren't necessary. Delegation better be in writing as a Resolution and you better make sure that the actions taken are in writing and readily available to the members upon request.

How is it that the association is in financial trouble and then you want to conduct meeting without the members present?
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:4253


03/04/2017 10:23 AM  
What size is your HOA, JK? How many directors?

GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:1515


03/04/2017 2:06 PM  
Posted By JK7 on 03/04/2017 7:27 AM
Is there any reason why this wouldnt work to serve the same intent as open meetings?

Since you're the one proposing the idea I think it's incumbent on you to provide reasons why it would work. In Florida, at least, the statutes give homeowners the right to participate and speak on any matter that comes before the board at an open meeting. How's that going to work on an internet chat board in real time? I think observing directors at a board meeting in-person can also provide visual cues, e.g. facial expressions, body language and subtlety (or sarcasm), that are quite valuable and impossible to replicate on an internet forum.

In short, no thank you.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:4253


03/04/2017 2:33 PM  
I agree completely with Geno. We all can learn a great deal through visual cues. In CA, homeowners need to be able to hear and SEE the decision-making processes. Electronic meetings for open HOA meetings are just as inadequate as our national elected officials holding town hall meetings for their constituents by electronic means only. Owners' participation in the CA-required Open Forum at each open meetings is, imo, difficult in an email meeting.

As you can see below, email may be used for emergencies as Tim noted. If meetings are difficult to convene due to most directors living off the premises or for other reasons, delegating is a solution.

Here's another portion of the Open Meeting Act in CA:

Civil Code §4910. "Board Action Outside of Meeting Prohibited.

(a) The board shall not take action on any item of business outside of a board meeting.

(b) (1) Notwithstanding Section 7211 of the Corporations Code, the board shall not conduct a meeting via a series of electronic transmissions, including, but not limited to, electronic mail, except as specified in paragraph (2).

(2) Electronic transmissions may be used as a method of conducting an emergency board meeting if all directors, individually or collectively, consent in writing to that action, and if the written consent or consents are filed with the minutes of the board meeting. These written consents may be transmitted electronically."

As you probably know, JK, open meetings can be held telephonically so long as Owners & all directors can hear one another. Only one director is required to be physically present at the meeting site. In addition, there's no notice requirement for open meetings in emergencies.

What kind of urgent situations arise, JK, that can't wait for even an emergency meeting?
JK7
(California)

Posts:22


03/13/2017 9:31 AM  
Sometimes it's just that there needs to be some amount of collaboration on documents.

For example, our association needed a Rules and Regulation Guideline for Remodeling of units because bad and inappropriate remodeling has caused major emergency plumbing damage to our building. Our reserve account has become dangerously low because of these many emergency plumbing issues which has caused damage to our common areas and adjacent units. Also, because our CC&R are old and outdated and not well written, the improper assignment of responsibility has the Association to take the full brunt of the cost particularly when it comes to insurance claims. Many insurance companies are not willing to insure our building and we almost didnt get insurance this year.

We needed to pass some sort of Rules Guideline which i started sometime last November. I requested the other board members give their input and other suggestions as necessary (using Google Docs) so that these Rules could be quickly approved at the next board meeting.

No one gave their input.

In fact, at the next board meeting the officers started giving me their comments and edits to the Remodeling Rules and they told me to make the corrections. I was not only tired and overwhelmed because I had worked on the Rules during the weekends and Thanksgiving holiday, I felt a little insulted.

I took back the Rules and again asked the Officers to give their input and make the corrections they wanted on the google docs.

In the meantime and sure enough as most people use their kitchen during the holidays and as several remodeling was happening as well, we had an onslaught of emergency repairs during Dec.

I started to make the corrections myself during the weekends and Christmas and New Year’s holiday. I took it to the next meeting. Yet again, the officers came back with a other suggestions and corrections. The reason for them not making any suggestion prior to the meeting is because of the rule:

(b) (1) Notwithstanding Section 7211 of the Corporations Code, the board shall not conduct a meeting via a series of electronic transmissions, including, but not limited to, electronic mail, except as specified in paragraph (2).


Needless to say, not only am I feeling overworked I feel treated like some sort of employee working for them when we a colleagues and partners to the same cause.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:1919


03/13/2017 11:44 AM  
Well, you shouldn’t be making any rule changes via email and like everyone else, I agree that it’s best for these issues to be debated in public. It seems to me the real problem here is that you’ve put in a lot of work, but the other board members are sitting there and letting you do everything (I’ve been there, believe me). This will go on as long as you allow it, so if you’re tired and frustrated (I’ve been there too!) it’s time for you to put your foot down and insist they start pitching in – because you've done your part and more besides (and mean it).

If they don't start helping out, the association will continue to toss money down the toilet because your main problem is – inappropriate remodeling. I suspect your documents have something about the board needing to pre-approve certain projects, especially if it’ll impact the common area, but no one’s done it – because people aren’t submitting change requests to the board for pre-approval.

What you really need is someone (other than you, since you started the process) to write up a draft policy, submit it to the homeowners for their input. THAT is where an online group forum can come in handy - use those comments and suggestions to put together a final policy. Give everyone a deadline so this doesn't go on and on forever. If the board doesn't want to do anything more than what they've done so far (which is little or nothing), it can can charter a committee to do all this stuff and send final recommendations to the board for their review and final vote. Depending on how extensive you want this policy to be, you may be able to have something in place by this summer – if your money situation is becoming grim, you might want to make it effective immediately.

JK7
(California)

Posts:22


03/13/2017 12:48 PM  
Hi Sheila,

Thanks for your input. In case you didnt know, "google docs" is an online word document that allows collaboration from authorized contributors. You are able to see edits live.

A forum I think would be helpful so that people can add to the list of ideas already put forth. Since I am in the building industry, I of course, lead the way but still needed other's to be on board to pass the Rules quickly.

That's why I am wondering why a forum wouldn't work for instance where collaboration on documents would be helpful. It's hard to make edits while in a meeting and then have to wait the next meeting for approval.

I feel like a puppy dog trying to get these louses to approve something they, with all due respect, know very little about but to pontificate in a meeting.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:1515


03/13/2017 2:06 PM  
I'm in complete sympathy with you and Shiela regarding putting in a lot of work on something while everyone else drags their feet. As far as collaborative work on word-processing files, or spreadsheets, or what have you, I think the thought processes that go into that are precisely the things that should be hammered out at open meetings. If you're really in dire straits and need to get this stuff done quickly I would suggest calling special board meetings to do the work. Special board meetings still need someone to take minutes but they can be simple and sparse for working sessions. There's no need to go through the rigmarole of a typical meeting agenda; no pontificating allowed, you're there to work.

You don't have to wait a whole month.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:1919


03/13/2017 3:05 PM  
If I had suggestions on a document or policy, I'd send it to everyone (board members) in a memo and I would tell them I need your responses by X day. If they liked it fine - some would comment, others wouldn't and a few never said anything about any topic whatsoever. During an open meeting, we'd make a final decision and the draft would be attached to the minutes along with my memo so everyone knew what I was talking about and why.

I'm now wondering if some of your colleagues are stalling on this whole thing because there's always some pushback when new rules are enacted. If you applied careful thought to the process, kept the homeowners in the loop and then apply the rules fairly and consistently, things usually calm down after a while. It may be these guys and gals are afraid if they enact a rule saying things like "homeowners will be responsible for all repair expenses if they make unapproved changes to the common area." Maybe you need to ask people point blank why they refuse to move on this issue - sometimes a kick in the rump (or teeth) is what boards really need.

In any case, put in whatever changes people have suggested so far, give them the document and let them know this as far as you're going with this - if anyone else wants to take it further, they're welcome to do so. Otherwise, get on with a vote and move on - they've had several months to review it and while I realize life happens and people may forget, there's no reason this should take as long as it has.
LarryB13
(Arizona)

Posts:4099


03/13/2017 4:37 PM  
Posted By JK7 on 03/04/2017 7:27 AM
Our association is in financial trouble and the need to act quickly is a necessity sometimes.


The very people who caused this problem did so by disregarding generally accepted accounting principles and now wish to solve the problem by disregarding state law.

Just out of curiosity, just what kind quick action would be necessary to remedy a long-term financial trouble? Does the Powerball jackpot have any influence on this need to act quickly?


JeanI
(Louisiana)

Posts:99


04/12/2017 2:09 PM  
I live in a senior community and some of our members do not own computers. Louisiana has an Open Meetings Law which states in part:"It is essential to the maintenance of a democratic society that public business be performed in an open and public manner and that the citizens be advised of and aware of the performance of public officials and the deliberations and decisions that go into the making of public policy.." There are some rare exceptions to Open Meetings such as cases of extraordinary emergency which is limited to natural disasters, threats of epidemics, civil disturbances, suppression of insurrections, the repelling of invasions or other matters of similar magnitude.

These Laws apply to public servants however our bylaws require Open Meetings of the Board of Directors and in my opinion, the same policies apply.
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:2032


04/12/2017 2:46 PM  
Posted By JeanI on 04/12/2017 2:09 PM
I live in a senior community and some of our members do not own computers. Louisiana has an Open Meetings Law which states in part:"It is essential to the maintenance of a democratic society that public business be performed in an open and public manner and that the citizens be advised of and aware of the performance of public officials and the deliberations and decisions that go into the making of public policy.." There are some rare exceptions to Open Meetings such as cases of extraordinary emergency which is limited to natural disasters, threats of epidemics, civil disturbances, suppression of insurrections, the repelling of invasions or other matters of similar magnitude.

These Laws apply to public servants however our bylaws require Open Meetings of the Board of Directors and in my opinion, the same policies apply.



Corporations are PRIVATE entities.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:4253


04/12/2017 3:40 PM  
HOAs in CA must also follow the open meeting laws mentioned above and that, too, are found in my HOA's bylaws, Jean. These laws for HOAs were patterned to some extent along the lines of CA open meeting legislation for public entities. You do point out that open meetings are required by your HOA's Bylaws.

Imo, a good way for JK's Board to collaborate on a document, is to have a committee of less than a quorum of the board work on it before it's brought to the board as a whole. My experience on boards in my HOA for 10 years is that only a few directors are interested in wordsmithing.
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:2032


04/12/2017 3:53 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 04/12/2017 3:40 PM
HOAs in CA must also follow the open meeting laws mentioned above and that, too, are found in my HOA's bylaws, Jean. These laws for HOAs were patterned to some extent along the lines of CA open meeting legislation for public entities. You do point out that open meetings are required by your HOA's Bylaws.

Imo, a good way for JK's Board to collaborate on a document, is to have a committee of less than a quorum of the board work on it before it's brought to the board as a whole. My experience on boards in my HOA for 10 years is that only a few directors are interested in wordsmithing.



Jean is posting what the open meeting laws for public entities are, not HOA's.
JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:3427


04/13/2017 9:33 PM  
Posted By GenoS on 03/13/2017 2:06 PM
I'm in complete sympathy with you and Shiela regarding putting in a lot of work on something while everyone else drags their feet. As far as collaborative work on word-processing files, or spreadsheets, or what have you, I think the thought processes that go into that are precisely the things that should be hammered out at open meetings. If you're really in dire straits and need to get this stuff done quickly I would suggest calling special board meetings to do the work. Special board meetings still need someone to take minutes but they can be simple and sparse for working sessions. There's no need to go through the rigmarole of a typical meeting agenda; no pontificating allowed, you're there to work.

You don't have to wait a whole month.


JK7 ... I commend you for your hard work to help fix items. I can understand how frustrating it can be but you and I both know the hard work will pay off for both your family and neighbors in the future. While it is hard and frustrating it also in many instances is a necessity. I agree with GenoS to potentially have just "Special Board Meeting Work Sessions" where everyone just spends that date and time to tackle the project. If you do this a couple of times and post so members can attend if desired (LOL ... probably none will), the project most likely will be completed more timely and with less interruptions or distractions. And probably less frustrating for yourself
PitA


Posts:0


04/15/2017 8:28 AM  
Posted By RichardP13 on 04/12/2017 2:46 PM
Posted By JeanI on 04/12/2017 2:09 PM
I live in a senior community and some of our members do not own computers. Louisiana has an Open Meetings Law which states in part:"It is essential to the maintenance of a democratic society that public business be performed in an open and public manner and that the citizens be advised of and aware of the performance of public officials and the deliberations and decisions that go into the making of public policy.." There are some rare exceptions to Open Meetings such as cases of extraordinary emergency which is limited to natural disasters, threats of epidemics, civil disturbances, suppression of insurrections, the repelling of invasions or other matters of similar magnitude.

These Laws apply to public servants however our bylaws require Open Meetings of the Board of Directors and in my opinion, the same policies apply.



Corporations are PRIVATE entities.




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