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Subject: Voting and agenda
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ThomasD2
(California)

Posts:204


04/08/2018 1:42 PM  
I live in a townhouse development of 22 in Southern California. I thought our business practices were poor, so I did the worst thing; a year ago I ran for a seat on the board (just joking, but yes, I am on the board ow.)

We had a general meeting. One of our most important items was a vote to eliminate an amenity, our spa. I have been pushing to vote to get rid of it, it too expensive for the little use it gets. Several board members agreed with a couple of residents who said we did not have enough information to move forward, we needed to postpone the vote. This has happened before. I have complained that this is essentially a veto, and that the agenda stated we would be taking a vote. I said we could not cancel the vote. Am I right? (We postponed the vote.)

Also, another board member wants to install camera on the outside walls of his unit. I told him that if he wanted to do this he could propose it as an item to put up vote. I said that before he did such a thing the residents had a right to vote on whether they wanted this. During the meeting he said he wanted to add it to the agenda. I said that he could not just add it to the agenda like that. Someone else said they did not see the harm in voting for it immediately. I insisted he could not add a vote to the agenda during a meeting. (We postponed this also, and have no policy on cameras. )

Unfortunately this happens often.

Am I right?
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:15577


04/08/2018 2:45 PM  
I'm not sure why the membership would even vote on allowing cameras.

If the CC&Rs don't prohibit, then the Board (or Architectural Committee) can likely approve (as it's an exterior change).

Listen to those who said they needed more info and gather the info.
We don't know how the vote was presented. I would suggest a multi-year account of the cost vs. the number of users known. I would also include the cost of closing or renovating the spa along with the expected savings and how those savings would be put to use (lower assessments, funding reserves, etc.).

KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5090


04/08/2018 4:07 PM  
Thomas wrote: "We had a general meeting. One of our most important items was a vote to eliminate an amenity, our spa." First I believe that you held a meeting of the members (Owners), right, Thomas. I take it your CC&Rs require a vote of the members (Owners) to remove a common area amenity. Is that right? If so, did you send out double envelopes containing ballots as required in CA? And follow the other election statutes in CA HOAs?

There is no such thing as a "veto," or I don't understand what you mean. If you didn't conduct the vote per CA HOA statues, you need to learn more about this topic along the lines that Tim suggests, and then vote on it correctly IF it even needs the Owners' votes.

2nd, with Tim, Owners would have no vote on installing an alarm. Next, you're right. Even if Owners could vote on it, agenda items at meetings of the members or of the board must be posted well in advance. So...neither the board nor Owners could have voted on it at that meeting.

He needs to put it on the agenda before your next meeting. It most likely would require Board approval with a recommendation from your ARC if you have one.

I'm pretty sure I've suggested in the past that you go to davis-stirling.com and poke around the various topics, especially meetings.
ThomasD2
(California)

Posts:204


04/08/2018 5:43 PM  
Posted By TimB4 on 04/08/2018 2:45 PM
I'm not sure why the membership would even vote on allowing cameras.

If the CC&Rs don't prohibit, then the Board (or Architectural Committee) can likely approve (as it's an exterior change).

Listen to those who said they needed more info and gather the info.
We don't know how the vote was presented. I would suggest a multi-year account of the cost vs. the number of users known. I would also include the cost of closing or renovating the spa along with the expected savings and how those savings would be put to use (lower assessments, funding reserves, etc.).





I don't want to be photographed, don't other residents have a right not to be, unless they consent to it?
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:15577


04/09/2018 4:31 AM  
Posted By ThomasD2 on 04/08/2018 5:43 PM


I don't want to be photographed, don't other residents have a right not to be, unless they consent to it?




Not in public areas where there is no expectation of privacy.

Recording audio is a different matter and varies by State.
In CA, all parties must give consent to have the audio recorded.

See: https://www.rcfp.org/reporters-recording-guide/state-state-guide/california
AugustinD


Posts:792


04/09/2018 6:06 AM  
Regarding the vote on the spa that was scheduled and did not happen: To me, this agenda item meant a director is going to motion to remove the spa and seek a "second to the motion." If seconded, the directors discuss this, and then a vote happens. One way or another, the other directors did not want to even discuss this. This is their right. You as a director are free to ask for the matter to be put on the agenda again in the future. I hear you that this has happened before. It does not change my thoughts on 'process' here. It is the other directors' right not to second a motion for a vote, whence the motion dies due to a lack of a second.

I wonder what information the other directors want. Added value of a spa to property values? I think this will be tough to compute. Hours used per resident? A survey of residents to see how they feel about removing the spa?

Like Kerry, I too want to know if the spa is listed in your HOA's governing documents. If so, does removing it amount to an amendment to the governing documents? If it is an amendment, then usually a member vote must be taken, at some expense and trouble, and with a super majority voting to support the amendment.

Regarding the proposed agenda item on the camera: I would need more information about what your HOA's governing documents say about architectural standards.

You are right that an agenda item cannot be added during a meeting. Agenda items have to be "noticed" in advance to board members, and often the audience, so all may come ready to discuss the issue (or not second the motion) and know that by missing the meeting, they missed a chance for input.

ThomasD2
(California)

Posts:204


04/09/2018 11:23 AM  
Posted By TimB4 on 04/09/2018 4:31 AM
Posted By ThomasD2 on 04/08/2018 5:43 PM


I don't want to be photographed, don't other residents have a right not to be, unless they consent to it?




Not in public areas where there is no expectation of privacy.

Recording audio is a different matter and varies by State.
In CA, all parties must give consent to have the audio recorded.

See: https://www.rcfp.org/reporters-recording-guide/state-state-guide/california




It is a gated community, with a common use driveway. The camera would point at the driveway. Is that public? I did not think so. The other camera would point at my garage; not very public!
ThomasD2
(California)

Posts:204


04/09/2018 11:26 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 04/09/2018 6:06 AM
Regarding the vote on the spa that was scheduled and did not happen: To me, this agenda item meant a director is going to motion to remove the spa and seek a "second to the motion." If seconded, the directors discuss this, and then a vote happens. One way or another, the other directors did not want to even discuss this. This is their right. You as a director are free to ask for the matter to be put on the agenda again in the future. I hear you that this has happened before. It does not change my thoughts on 'process' here. It is the other directors' right not to second a motion for a vote, whence the motion dies due to a lack of a second.





This was our once a year, general meeting of residents. I have argued we shouldn't cancel votes that the board had a agreed on as part of the agenda. Not sure I get the "second the motion" business. I have never heard that has to be part of our annual meeting process.
SueW6
(Michigan)

Posts:255


04/09/2018 11:39 AM  
The agenda could NOT say there would be a VOTE; it should have said there would be a motion put before the general member-owners at this Annual Meeting for consideration.

If the motion WAS made, (the motion didn't even HAVE to be made) there could have been a withdrawal after being made, or even amended. Perhaps it needed to go back to committee.

The idea of the camera could have been formed into a motion IF the expenditure was under the amount needed for a motion to approve. But it sounded like this was just an idea and should have been forwarded to a committee, then brought back to the Board for a vote.

Who made up the Agenda? The Annual Meetings are NOT Board meetings. Only the President and Secretary should be at the front; all others have their "general member" hat on at that meeting. Usually, Committee reports are given, including the Treasurer's to the Members, and the president reports to the members about what was done last year and what's on for upcoming year. Election of board, too.

KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5090


04/09/2018 11:44 AM  
First, Thomas, the meeting was your Annual Meeting of the Members (owners). There is no such thing as a "general meeting." Iff you see that phrase in your Bylaws, please quote it for us.

2nd, I don't know what you mean by the Board canceling votes for something on the agenda. Does your Board vote what gets to be on the agenda, and what does not?

3rd. IF it's OK (per your CC&Rs) for the Board (not the membership) to vote on the spa topic, why was this on the agenda for a meeting of the members? It should just be on a board meeting agenda.

Camera: What Tim is saying is that no residents have any expectation of privacy in our HOAs' common areas. The entrance to your HOA and to your garage are common areas, yes? The larger question is if any owners can attach anything to your exterior walls.
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:2450


04/09/2018 1:50 PM  
It is not uncommon for smaller HOA's to allow their residents to vote on some items. Two of my HOA's do this all the time. Takes the pressure off the Board. We will put a survey in with their statements and once we get 50% response they will move forward.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:15577


04/09/2018 3:07 PM  
Posted By ThomasD2 on 04/09/2018 11:23 AM

It is a gated community, with a common use driveway. The camera would point at the driveway. Is that public? I did not think so. The other camera would point at my garage; not very public!




An argument for the courts.


I know that within some States, video surveillance of the common corridor of a condominium is allowed as the corridor is considered public vs. private.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:7420


04/09/2018 3:10 PM  
Richard made an interesting comment. The OP's association is only 22 members. As it is easy enough to corral 22 members, I can see many things being put up to a vote. Let them decide their own fate/issues.
ThomasD2
(California)

Posts:204


04/09/2018 4:33 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 04/09/2018 11:44 AM
First, Thomas, the meeting was your Annual Meeting of the Members (owners). There is no such thing as a "general meeting." Iff you see that phrase in your Bylaws, please quote it for us.

2nd, I don't know what you mean by the Board canceling votes for something on the agenda. Does your Board vote what gets to be on the agenda, and what does not?

3rd. IF it's OK (per your CC&Rs) for the Board (not the membership) to vote on the spa topic, why was this on the agenda for a meeting of the members? It should just be on a board meeting agenda.

Camera: What Tim is saying is that no residents have any expectation of privacy in our HOAs' common areas. The entrance to your HOA and to your garage are common areas, yes? The larger question is if any owners can attach anything to your exterior walls.




The CCR's say "No owner shall at his expense or otherwise make any alterations or modifications to the exterior portions of the buildings, fences, railings, or walls ... without the prior written consent of the Board." I might be willing to give consent, but was not happy it was just suddenly put up for a vote at a meeting without any advance notification. (We ended up not taking any action. ) That does not qualify as prior written consent.
ThomasD2
(California)

Posts:204


04/09/2018 4:39 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 04/09/2018 11:44 AM
First, Thomas, the meeting was your Annual Meeting of the Members (owners). There is no such thing as a "general meeting." Iff you see that phrase in your Bylaws, please quote it for us.

2nd, I don't know what you mean by the Board canceling votes for something on the agenda. Does your Board vote what gets to be on the agenda, and what does not?

3rd. IF it's OK (per your CC&Rs) for the Board (not the membership) to vote on the spa topic, why was this on the agenda for a meeting of the members? It should just be on a board meeting agenda.

Camera: What Tim is saying is that no residents have any expectation of privacy in our HOAs' common areas. The entrance to your HOA and to your garage are common areas, yes? The larger question is if any owners can attach anything to your exterior walls.





This was the Annual meeting of the Members. We always discuss in advance what the agenda will be for both board meetings and annual meetings. But this is a recent development at my urging.
I assumed if we were eliminating something, an amenity, the members needed to have a vote. It is hard for me to believe it is not true. I would never support the removal of something like a spa without the owner's vote.
I am just angry we decided to take a vote, then cancelled it at the meeting. It feels like the adoption of a default veto. Even if I lost , I wanted to vote, and I went around wasting my time talking to some of my neighbors about it, some of whom supported me. They did not get to vote either. I think it is wrong. Several neighbors said they needed more information; fine, they can vote no.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:1972


04/09/2018 5:15 PM  
Posted By ThomasD2 on 04/09/2018 4:39 PM
This was the Annual meeting of the Members. We always discuss in advance what the agenda will be for both board meetings and annual meetings. But this is a recent development at my urging.
I assumed if we were eliminating something, an amenity, the members needed to have a vote. It is hard for me to believe it is not true. I would never support the removal of something like a spa without the owner's vote.
I am just angry we decided to take a vote, then cancelled it at the meeting. It feels like the adoption of a default veto. Even if I lost , I wanted to vote, and I went around wasting my time talking to some of my neighbors about it, some of whom supported me. They did not get to vote either. I think it is wrong. Several neighbors said they needed more information; fine, they can vote no.

While I understand where you're coming from and sympathize with your situation, I would caution you to get used to the idea that a lot of what you attempt will end up being a waste of time. I think that's the norm in associations that have been somewhat lax or dormant with a history of not rigorously following good business principles.

With respect to cameras we were told by our HOA attorney that if your garage door was open anyone walking down the street - and our streets are private - was perfectly within their rights to take pictures of what's inside as long as it could be seen from outside the home from common property. Pointing a camera at a window attempting to look inside would be a big no-no since anyone inside a home is entitled to a reasonable expectation of privacy. People on common property do not enjoy that same expectation.
ThomasD2
(California)

Posts:204


04/09/2018 11:47 PM  
Posted By GenoS on 04/09/2018 5:15 PM
Posted By ThomasD2 on 04/09/2018 4:39 PM
This was the Annual meeting of the Members. We always discuss in advance what the agenda will be for both board meetings and annual meetings. But this is a recent development at my urging.
I assumed if we were eliminating something, an amenity, the members needed to have a vote. It is hard for me to believe it is not true. I would never support the removal of something like a spa without the owner's vote.
I am just angry we decided to take a vote, then cancelled it at the meeting. It feels like the adoption of a default veto. Even if I lost , I wanted to vote, and I went around wasting my time talking to some of my neighbors about it, some of whom supported me. They did not get to vote either. I think it is wrong. Several neighbors said they needed more information; fine, they can vote no.

While I understand where you're coming from and sympathize with your situation, I would caution you to get used to the idea that a lot of what you attempt will end up being a waste of time. I think that's the norm in associations that have been somewhat lax or dormant with a history of not rigorously following good business principles.
.




I think your attitude is probably the most realistic, but I recall there was a bed of roses listed in the job description when I joined the board. And I would like the opportunity to actually vote when a vote is scheduled.
SueW6
(Michigan)

Posts:255


04/10/2018 1:19 PM  
How was the motion (you call it a vote) removed from consideration?

Here's a possible scenario:

CHAIR: Next on the agenda is a vote to close the pool. All members have been noticed that this vote will be taken at this meeting. After looking at costs, the Board has recommended that the pool be closed. All proxies should be forwarded now and the vote will be taken by secret paper ballot."

MEMBER: Mr. Chairperson, I motion that the plan be withdrawn due to the lack of information given to the members. We cannot make a decision at this time. (no second needed)

CHAIR: If there is no objection, the motion is withdrawn.




ThomasD2
(California)

Posts:204


04/11/2018 9:41 AM  
Posted By SueW6 on 04/10/2018 1:19 PM
How was the motion (you call it a vote) removed from consideration?

Here's a possible scenario:

CHAIR: Next on the agenda is a vote to close the pool. All members have been noticed that this vote will be taken at this meeting. After looking at costs, the Board has recommended that the pool be closed. All proxies should be forwarded now and the vote will be taken by secret paper ballot."

MEMBER: Mr. Chairperson, I motion that the plan be withdrawn due to the lack of information given to the members. We cannot make a decision at this time. (no second needed)

CHAIR: If there is no objection, the motion is withdrawn.






I want to attend that meeting, much better than ours! That is about right, but we have used paper ballots only once, it is rare. I moved that we move forward with a vote and was not happy that a the member who wanted to 'postpone,' not withdraw, did a major eye roll. That made the meeting so much better, of course!
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