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Subject: Board Elections
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Author Messages
ConchoP
(Texas)

Posts:107


09/27/2018 1:20 PM  
We are trying to save money on postage for board elections. Because we never meet the quorum we end up spending almost $1000 in supplies and stamps.

The question came up was can we do one mailing place all the quorum dates on the 1st notice with each date being set 15 days after each date, in accordance to our Bylaw and Texas Property Code 209.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:15999


09/27/2018 3:26 PM  
I see no issue having a primary and an alternate date on the same notice.
Make sure it is plainly seen that the alternate is only if a quorum is not met.

Of course, the problem becomes, how do you then inform the members if a quorum was met or not?
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:3059


09/27/2018 4:03 PM  
You would need to check your governing documents and state statues. It is generally noted that it is the persons present, either by ballot or proxy that decide whether or not the meeting can be adjourned to a later date IF quorum has not been met. It would not be proper to make that determination ahead of time.
BillH10
(Texas)

Posts:281


09/28/2018 8:25 AM  
Concho

A few questions:

1. Do your documents state that if a quorum is not met, the meeting is adjourned until a later time and the number present in person or by proxy required for a quorum at the subsequent meeting is reduced?

2. Do your documents stipulate a minimum or maximum time interval between the first attempt at convening a meeting and the second attempt.

3. Do you include a proxy with your annual meeting documents?

4. Do you include an absentee ballot with your annual meeting documents.

5. Are you familiar with the changes to 209 regarding the election of members of the Board which were implemented in the 2015 or 2017 legislative session?

6. Which county are you located in? ISTR you are in Harris or Bexar.

7. Have your owners be polled to secure agreement from those who consent to receive Association communications electronically.

Once you post a reply I--and probably others-- can provide you with specific actions you can take to reduce annual meeting expenses.
ConchoP
(Texas)

Posts:107


09/28/2018 9:12 AM  
1. Yes
2. Yes
3. Yes
4. Yes
5. Yes
6. I'm not in Harris or Bexar
7. If they signed up on the website they have agreed and if they provided us an email address they have agrred.
BillH10
(Texas)

Posts:281


09/28/2018 10:06 AM  
OK, good.

1. Include the notice of the first and second meetings on the same sheet of paper, printed on both sides or both on one side of a single sheet. Get creative with borders and fonts to draw attention and save space. Schedule the second meeting for the same date as the first meeting, with a start time of 10 minutes later if your documents permit doing so. That way you do not have to try to gather everyone up a second time two weeks later.

2. Aggressively, and I mean aggressively (e-mail blasts with a countdown to the quorum with an emphasis on how much it costs if you do not have a quorum and have to try a second time, telephone calls, knock on doors, etc.) seek proxies or absentee ballots. Explain to everyone they should send in the proxy even if they plan to attend; it can be revoked if they do attend, you have the proxy if there is a last minute problem and they cannot attend. We sent e-mail reminders every day for the last 10 days before the meeting to those who had not voted or submitted a proxy with both the proxy and ballot attached. Don't make them try to find it in the mail pile. Have your community manager carry blank proxies and at all times and seek to obtain one every time they have an in-person interaction with an owner. Provide alternatives for submitting the proxy/absentee ballot--scan and emailed, faxed, community manager offers to pick it up while on property, Board member pick-up, regular mail, on-property message delivery box if you have one, etc.

3. Print the ballot and the proxy on the same sheet of paper. Tell those who submit an absentee ballot that doing so automatically submits a proxy and that they do not have to sign both. Do you offer the "proxy for purposes of attaining a quorum only" option? If not, do so. A lot of people selected that option when it became available as it eliminated the need to find someone to be a proxy or having it assigned to the president or whomever. That option really boosted proxy participation.

4. Do you offer electronic voting? If not, it can be done for a small expense and the electronic vote also counts as a proxy.

5. OK, so you know you can elect a Board (but conduct no other business) without a Quorum. Our legislature does enact helpful legislation at times.

6. This may seem counter intuitive but, we finally got over the quorum hurdle by including a stamped self-addressed envelope with the annual meeting package. I don't think it is as necessary now as it once was courtesy of the legislature providing the ability to elect a board without a quorum. This, proxy for quorum only, and electronic voting combined to get a client to the high 80% level.

7. Confine your annual meeting package to a #10 envelope with no more than six sheets, seven if you use really light weight paper.. That will eliminate the cost of excess postage. I know that can be tough to do, print every sheet double sided.

8. Send only that which is necessary by first class mail to those who have opted-in to receive documents by e-mail. E-mail everything else. Our clients chose to send those folks hard copy notices of the meeting, proxy, and ballot in addition to using email just to be on the safe side regarding the notice requirements.

9. Tell those who have not opted-in that the budget for the upcoming year, management report, etc. will be provided at the meeting and they can request it by email if they wish. Don't spend money mailing it with the notice package. Let them ask for it by email or come to the meeting. Or, if you have one, post it to a website.

10. By using the above techniques, we were able to reduce the cost of producing and mailing the annual meeting package in half or less.

I asked about the county as there is some funky language in 209 about Harris County.

For all of you in other states, everything listed above is permitted in Texas. Association documents may say otherwise,in some cases that language is no longer valid due to changes enacted by the Legislature.

Good luck.
ConchoP
(Texas)

Posts:107


09/28/2018 10:34 AM  
Thanks for the input Bill!

1. If we do not meet a quorum,we have no less than 14 days between meeting dates
2. Great ideas
3. We are a new HOA, Because out bylaw are kinda screwy... we can't send ballots via mail because nominees have until 5 days before the vote to turn in their form.
4.I would like to do electronic voting..I think we need to still send a 30 day notice because that is what the bylaws state.
5. yes
6. That is an interesting thought.
7. Hoping to keep it to 4 pages or less
8. If bylaw says 30 day written notice, would that include emails???

Even if we can put the 3 dates in the original letter save us almost $600.Because we lack volunteers to help we are looking at using UPS to copy,stuff and mail it was a reasonable priced.
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:3059


09/28/2018 12:53 PM  
Unless someone can post a separate procedure via an HOA Bylaws, it is the Members that are present at a specific meeting determine by a majority vote whether to adjourn to a new meeting date, not a piece of paper prepared ahead of time.
BillH10
(Texas)

Posts:281


09/28/2018 1:43 PM  
Concho, whatever form of notice you use must observe the notice window number of days requirement, apparently 30 days in your association.

Just to be clear, as I've never seen language like that you have described--does it say the second meeting must be held not sooner than 14 days or not later than 14 days.

There are commercial mailing firms which can also provide those services, see if there are any near you.

We used to hold 'stuffing parties' in the HOA in which we formerly resided. You have not mentioned the size of your association, with six or seven people and the copies ready to go,we set up two assembly lines and had a mailing to 237 homes ready to go in 60-75 minutes. We used a MS Word mail merge to put the names and addresses on the first page and used a window envelope. Using that process we did not have to touch the envelopes a second time to affix an address label.
BillH10
(Texas)

Posts:281


09/28/2018 1:51 PM  
Richard, I do not agree.

If there is no quorum there is no meeting which can be called to order hence the assembled members cannot vote on anything as there is no structure under which a motion can be made--including an adjournment or the selection of an alternate date.

In practice, the President of the Association simply announced the requisite quorum had not been attained and he would call everyone to order 10 minutes later as had been noticed in the annual meeting package. This process is widely used in Texas however, the language in the Bylaws has to support doing so. In most I have seen the Bylaws state if a quorum cannot be attained, a second meeting shall take place not more than some number of days later. 10 minutes later fits within that language.
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:3059


09/28/2018 2:02 PM  
Can you show me where it says whaty you say, because I can show the section of a Texas HOA that says members have the right to adjourn a meeting to try and reach quorum, sometimes at a reduced number.
ConchoP
(Texas)

Posts:107


09/28/2018 2:11 PM  
Bill I went back and looked and it says Written notice of place,date, and hour of each reconvened meeting must be given to each
Member not more than sixty (60) nor less than fourteen (14)days before the reconvened meeting.

We tried the stuffing party and me and my husband ended up doing all 300.

If bylaw says 30 day written notice for Annual Meeting, would email be considered written notice?
BillH10
(Texas)

Posts:281


09/28/2018 2:37 PM  
Concho--and Richard

Not more than 60 days notice and not less than 14 days notice means you can schedule both meetings 10 minutes apart assuming you have language in your Bylaws like that which is quoted below.

Example: You plan to have the annual meeting on November 5, 2018 at 6:30 PM. Assuming I counted correctly, your notice window opens on Friday, September 8th and closes on Tuesday, October 23rd. Your notice of annual meeting must be dated, and perhaps delivered!! sometime between those two dates. Your notice for meeting one is 6:30 PM, your notice for the second meeting is 6:40 PM.

Presumably your Bylaws state something along the lines of:

"At the first meeting called, the presence at the meeting of Members and/or of the proxies, entitled to cast 40% (for example) of all the votes of the Members shall constitute a quorum. If the required quorum is not present at the first meeting, one additional meeting may be called, subject to the notice requirement hereinabove set for, and the required quorum at such second meeting shall be one-half of the required quorum at the preceding meeting provided, however, that no such second meeting shall be held more than 60 days following the first meeting."

10 minutes later for the second meeting is less than 60 days later, which is allowed.

Richard, I think we may be talking past each other. The language above is a direct quote from the Bylaws of an active association in Texas which was amended three years ago, the language is directly from the association attorney who has a HOA/condo practice.

The paragraph doesn't say anything about adjournments or selections of a date for a later meeting by those present, it says a second meeting can be called, subject to the notice window, not more than 60 days later. The Board determines the date, time, and location of the Annual Meeting, and any second meeting if the first meeting cannot be called to order due to a lack of quorum.
BillH10
(Texas)

Posts:281


09/28/2018 2:44 PM  
Conch, sorry, I missed a response--

You cannot use e-mail for the communication of official Association information and notices unless the owner has been presented with a form which, when signed and returned to the association, permits electronic notification. Once the official notices have gone out via regular mail, you can use email for reminders, aggressive follow up for proxies, etc.

However, email will suffice if the above has taken place. We prefer to be conservative and use both regular and email for mission critical communications--annual meeting notice (without all the supplementary information which is emailed) and changes in assessment amounts. We do use email for assessment statements if the owner has opted in.
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:3059


09/28/2018 2:50 PM  
Sorry that is not the intention of a Member meeting. It is the Members who are suppose to determine whether or not a second ,meeting should be called.

But that is your interpretation, so be it.
BillH10
(Texas)

Posts:281


09/28/2018 3:22 PM  
Richard, I completely agree with you that once the meeting has met the quorum requirements and is called to order, any necessary adjournment is up to those gathered in person and the proxy holders if any. I suppose a motion would be made to reconvene on the 15th at 7:00 PM or whatever. That decision is not under the purview of the Board.

The process I am describing is before the meeting can even begin, i.e., the quorum requirements have to be met to legally convene the meeting and there are two bites at the apple to make quorum. Since we are essentially discussing the Annual Meeting, but it also applies to Special Meetings of the Members as well, the Board is given the responsibility for scheduling either type of meeting, and any necessary second meeting if the quorum requirements for the first meeting are not met.
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:3059


09/28/2018 4:14 PM  
That is not how how we do it in Kalifornia.
BillH10
(Texas)

Posts:281


09/28/2018 6:05 PM  
I know., I spent 75% of my life in California before a corporate relo to Texas in 1997 from San Ramon.

There was a learning curve regarding HOAs and Condos here once I had time away from corporate responsibilities to understand what was going on. I left before Davis-Sterling and have no knowledge of what that imposed.
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:3059


09/28/2018 8:14 PM  
Posted By BillH10 on 09/28/2018 6:05 PM
I know., I spent 75% of my life in California before a corporate relo to Texas in 1997 from San Ramon.

There was a learning curve regarding HOAs and Condos here once I had time away from corporate responsibilities to understand what was going on. I left before Davis-Sterling and have no knowledge of what that imposed.



Actually the Davis-Stirling Act was formed out of California Civil Code in 1985. The issue discussed here come out of California Corporation Code.
MaxD1
(Missouri)

Posts:1


09/29/2018 10:57 AM  
can non paid up members be stopped from voting or holding offices?
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:3059


09/29/2018 11:08 AM  
Posted By MaxD1 on 09/29/2018 10:57 AM
can non paid up members be stopped from voting or holding offices?



Yes, as long as the specific language is in both the CCRs and Bylaws and proper procedure are followed to suspend. Also you would need to check state statues to see if they have put restrictions in their statues.
NigelB
(Texas)

Posts:242


09/30/2018 5:33 PM  
Posted By MaxD1 on 09/29/2018 10:57 AM
can non paid up members be stopped from voting or holding offices?



Not in Texas, which is where the original poster is from.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:7772


10/01/2018 7:10 AM  
Posted By MaxD1 on 09/29/2018 10:57 AM
can non paid up members be stopped from voting or holding offices?




They can be in SC.
RoyalpitA
(South Carolina)

Posts:149


10/01/2018 9:06 AM  
Once again (into the breech anew):


What do your 'governing documents' state ?

Have you actually read them ?

How many times ?




sheeez
BillH10
(Texas)

Posts:281


10/01/2018 9:33 AM  
Royal, it matters not in Texas what the docs say on this subject. Nigel's post above is the only guidance which matters as his information is derived from Section 209 of the Property Code.

Sec. 209.0055. VOTING.
(b) A property owners' association described by Subsection (a) may not bar a property owner from voting in an association election solely based on the fact that:

(1) there is a pending enforcement action against the property owner; or

(2) the property owner owes the association any delinquent assessments, fees, or fines.

and

Sec. 209.00591. BOARD MEMBERSHIP. (a) Except as provided by this section, a provision in a dedicatory instrument that restricts a property owner's right to run for a position on the board of the property owners' association is void.

(The allowable exceptions in the section do not speak to being current on monies owed the Association)
RoyalpitA
(South Carolina)

Posts:149


10/01/2018 9:59 AM  
..... What do your 'governing documents' state ? .....



Governing Documents INCLUDE applicable State Law, since said law would 'govern' and is a document of public record.


sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeez



? shall we, yet again and again and again, publish the 'hierarchy of documents', or, shall we assume SOME knowledge on the part of corporate members ?
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