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Tuesday, November 13, 2018
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Subject: annual meeting & homeowner open forum.
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Author Messages
JayF1
(Washington)

Posts:52


02/10/2018 3:09 PM  
Hi everyone.

Our annual meetings have very low attendance. Those who come, primarily come to voice our concerns regarding violations against them. They have been given multiple HOA notices by mail and reasonable time to address them. Each HOA notice is an increment of $30. My concern is they will be disruptive to our meeting and most likely have no positive results in these homeowner open forum. Any advice the proper way to address like these homeowners (1 or 2 of them).

I am thinking more in response how you would control these situations with Roberts Rules. How to execute an intervention if you are the chair of the meeting. Checking youtube Robert Rule videos but none really cover unruly or out of order situations. I never experience this but I am expecting the worst in order to be prepared. Any advice. Thank you!
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16004


02/10/2018 3:32 PM  
Time limits on speaking
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5842


02/10/2018 5:32 PM  
So...you expect a few with outstanding fines to bring up their issues or disagreements at the Membership meeting, is that right, Jay?

If so, why not invite them to meet with the board in executive session to represent their case? Matters of Owner discipline may be dealt with in Ex. Sess. Aren't they all between the Board & the owners? Weren't they called to a hearing before they were fined?

Why would you hold an Open Forum in a members meeting?? Is that required in WA? Don't you have open monthly or quarterly board meetings that include an Open Forum period?

In other words, for your agenda, list & publish the items that you'll cover, e.g., election matters. Simply don't permit any other discussion.

Now, from what I've read on this Forum, some annual meetings do seem to be bitching sessions and I cannot see why this should be the case.

There is materials in Robert's rules on this topic, but I don't have time to look it up now.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:7812


02/11/2018 6:24 AM  
Jay

Publish and stick to an Agenda. Do not be afraid to say this is not the appropriate place for that conversation, especially concerning violations and/or fines. You might even as art of the meeting package note it is not the venue for specific violations and fines discussion. Such specifics are between the owner and the BOD.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2296


02/11/2018 12:29 PM  
After opening the meeting, announce the rules of engagement - there is an open forum, but there will be a time limit on speaking. Inappropriate language, threats, yelling and that sort of thing will not be allowed. The first time you get a warning, the second time you'll be asked to leave and if you don't, police may be called to escort you out if things get hairy. Once the forum ends, the business portion of the meeting begins - no questions or comments will be allowed from the floor so the board can get through the agenda.

You should also explain that the open forum is NOT the place to discuss specific HOA violations, whether it's a denial of an exterior change request or a notice of lien for delinquent dues. If you'd like a hearing on a specific issue, follow the directions outlined on your letter - if you can't remember, here's a form to complete and turn in.
JerryD5
(Colorado)

Posts:204


02/11/2018 3:45 PM  
Here is how we do it in our HOA. We have a set agenda with official business conducted first. Usually it is approving the previous year's annual meeting minutes, a manager's report on our finances including our upcoming budget, and finally an election of officers. Only after the official portion of the meeting do we have an open forum. Only one year did we have a contentious open forum (4 years ago). It was when we approved new guidance prohibiting farm animals. One outspoken homeowner was illegally raising chickens on her property against our rules. She even had a friend show up in a chicken suit as a sign of protest. Fortunately, she was the lone person that had anything negative to say. Everyone else agreed with the board. Since then, we have extremely boring annual meetings. We still have open forums of course but mainly people just ask about landscaping improvements.
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:531


02/11/2018 5:37 PM  
First, I don't think you should eliminate the open forum. It is a meeting of the members so they have a right to speak, even more so than at a board meeting. A time limit is a good idea.

If their only comments are complaining about enforcement actions then I would let them vent. If they become disruptive inform them they are out of order and will be asked to leave if they continue. If they continue, call a recess until they control themselves. Walk outside and take a break if necessary.

BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:531


02/11/2018 5:39 PM  
Posted By JerryD5 on 02/11/2018 3:45 PM
She even had a friend show up in a chicken suit as a sign of protest.



I would love for someone to show up in a chicken suit. Our meetings are so boring.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2296


02/11/2018 6:33 PM  
Posted By BenA2 on 02/11/2018 5:37 PM
First, I don't think you should eliminate the open forum. It is a meeting of the members so they have a right to speak, even more so than at a board meeting. A time limit is a good idea.

If their only comments are complaining about enforcement actions then I would let them vent. If they become disruptive inform them they are out of order and will be asked to leave if they continue. If they continue, call a recess until they control themselves. Walk outside and take a break if necessary.






The problem with venting is (1) people can get wound up really quickly because the more they talk the madder they get and (2) they will often demand some sort of settlement on the spot and that really isn't what an open forum is for. It's one thing to say "hey, I think there should be more (or less) enforcement on X because..." and sitting down as opposed to "I'm getting sick and tired of you SOBs hassling me about my chickens (or number of cars in the driveway or...") The board can listen and then agree to investigate an issue (or have the property manager do it) and if it's something where a policy might need to be tweaked, bids obtained for new repairs, etc., that can be put on the next meeting agenda for further discussion.

AmyA1
(Washington)

Posts:86


02/11/2018 8:21 PM  
We had a homeowner show up with picket signs. She was told if she had issues she should join the board. She did, served one 2 yr term, was re-elected and was just appointed President. I am so glad, she did and look forward to working to working with her. Just goes to show, those "crazy" people CAN be one of your best assets.
JayF1
(Washington)

Posts:52


02/11/2018 9:01 PM  
Thank you, everyone!!! I really appreciate all your advice and experience. This saves a lot of time for newbies like us. Now, I have a general understanding what to do in open forums and how to address them if it becomes too disruptive.

That is very funny Jerry. I do admit, I wouldn't know what to do if someone came to our meeting dress in a chicken suit!
JerryD5
(Colorado)

Posts:204


02/12/2018 6:47 AM  
Posted By JayF1 on 02/11/2018 9:01 PM

That is very funny Jerry. I do admit, I wouldn't know what to do if someone came to our meeting dress in a chicken suit!




That was a very chaotic day overall. The person in the chicken suit (not a homeowner in our HOA) is actually a lawyer who sent out a press release to the entire media market (TV, radio, print) complaining about how our HOA was stopping a women's livehood of raising chickens. The local ABC news affliliate did a story and I was contacted by several papers. I granted 2 print interviews to give our side of the story. But the guy in the chicken suit was almost too much. Of course, it was and still is our most attended annual meeting.
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