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Subject: General Meeting Rules for discussion
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RobertW31
(New York)

Posts:20


11/14/2018 1:23 AM  
We had a general meeting of residents and one resident became very confrontational on an issue but then left the room. Others in the comments on subjects would speak more than once on the same subject. I guess it seemed a little bit like a free for all meeting and was wondering if anyone has any rules they can share which we could publish in our newsletter and implement at our next general board meeting.
DouglasK1
(Florida)

Posts:1394


11/14/2018 7:46 AM  
It is up to the chair of the meeting (typically the president) to set the ground rules of meetings and enforce them. For board meetings, many associations limit non-board discussion certain times on the agenda. The chair can rule people out of order, maybe even get a gavel if needed. Worst case, a disrupter can be ejected from the meeting.

During member meetings it would be expected that all owners should be able to talk on all topics, but again, if somebody has the floor anyone who interrupts can be ruled out of order.

In the end if you want orderly meetings, the chair person needs to conduct them that way.

Escaped former treasurer and director of a self managed association.
SueW6
(Michigan)

Posts:491


11/14/2018 8:13 AM  

Many HOAs have an open discussion time at the beginning of the meeting for residents who want to speak on topics not on the agenda. That is listed on the agenda. But set a limit on the time that people can speak. For any issue, you can say the Board will look into it and get back to them.

During the board meeting, the board is trying to discuss business, so comments from the audience are usually not taken UNLESS a person is recognized from the floor by the chairperson. That's why you need someone who knows how to run a meeting and limit side talk during a board meeting.

Find someone who is a parliamentarian to sit in on meetings, if needed.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:6350


11/14/2018 9:44 AM  
First, our HOA usually only has one membership meeting a year, which is our annual meeting and election of directors. Owners (not all residents) may ask questions and make remarks during our Open Forum, which, for this meeting, we have while ballots are being tabulated.

In CA, board meetings must be open to owners (except for a very few confidential topics). Our Board meets monthly and we offer an Open Forum at the beginning of the board mtg., and also one at the end. We rarely permit owners to speak during the meeting except for these Open Forums.

On the back of the agendas that Owners pick up, are our rules for Owners' conduct during meetings. We crafted it a few years ago when we had some owners who'd constantly talk among themselves wheel the board was conditing its business. Here it is as some, none or a lot of it might help various boards.

BOARD MEETING CONDUCT

We welcome homeowners as observers of the Board of Directors meetings. During the discussion and votes about agenda items, only those at the conference table may speak. Please remain silent so that we are able to hear one another and conduct our community’s business.

We invite your comments about the board’s agenda items or other related topics at the beginning of every board meeting during our Open Forum. We hold a second Open Forum at the end of the board meetings for your additional input.

During Open Forum:

Raise your hand to be recognized.

State your name, unit# and tower.

Express your topic in concise, clear terms.

Convey only one topic each time you’re recognized to speak.

Limit your remarks to two minutes.

Never interrupt others while they speak.

As A Reminder:

Ideas for improving Condo Highrise or concerns about Board policy are acceptable.

Berating any individual director, homeowner, or manager will not be tolerated.

We ask that maintenance items be reported to management outside of meetings.

Please realize that the Board or Management may not be able to respond to your Open Forum remarks without research. Board deliberation or votes on non-agenda items, per Calif. Civil Code 4920, cannot occur on the spot. The Board will consider these for a future agenda.

Thank you for your interest in our shared community!



SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2470


11/14/2018 10:42 AM  
I like Kerry's rules - that's a great place to start. Not only would I publish them in every newsletter (that's what our association did), but I think the president should highlight them at the start of the meeting.

If you have several people, make sure you get around to EVERYONE first before going back to someone else. If a topic is on the agenda, note that in your response - if the person tries to bring it up again, remind him/her gently but firmly that topic will be discussed at the appropriate time. If after the meeting the person has additional comments or suggestions he/she may write the board for further review. Or you can hold another short resident forum near the end of the meeting where you could hear comments on the agenda items discussed (I usually don't recommend this because people are usually tired and want to go home at that point!)

When the forum (the first one) is complete, the president should tell everyone the business portion of the meeting is about to begin - everyone's welcome to stay and listen to the proceedings, but no comments or suggestions will be allowed so the board will be able to address all agenda items.

Don't be afraid to eject people who will not behave - warn them the first time. the second time tell them if they don't stop, they will be asked to leave. If they really begin showing their ass, call police. At our meetings, we had our security officers stay until after the resident forum in case things got hot, but usually people spoke their piece and then left.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:6350


11/14/2018 1:20 PM  
Sheila adds good advice.

The Best part about a 2nd open forum in our HOA is that occasionally, maybe once a year, one or more Owners will ask the board to reconsider a decision previously made that evening. This sometimes has resulted in a director making that motion and the board voting on a different course of action.
AdamD1
(Indiana)

Posts:179


11/18/2018 12:04 PM  
We just had our annual meeting. Our former president (who resigned b/c she didn't like following the rules and was constantly called out on it) and her husband came to the meeting and once quorum was not reached, stood up and started shouting "Point of order!" repeatedly, then stated the Board has it within the governing documents to reduce quorum but hasn't (100% true). They put on a petulant performance throughout the entire annual meeting with consistent outbursts. I, as chair, kept stating "Sir, you are out of order please sit down." People in the audience started to yell at the former president and her husband for their boorish behavior. They showed their true colors and I kept calm as a clam the entire time.

When we finally got to the open forum part of this informal meeting (due to lack of quorum) the former president's husband was first to raise his hand so I called on him. He got up and started approaching the podium and demanded I hand over the microphone. I told him "Sir please do not approach the podium" multiple times into the microphone which he replied "What? Do you think I'm going to hit you?" I didn't want him to have the mic b/s I'm sure he would only give it back once he was finished and not after 2 minutes (per stated ground rules for discussion).

They are now the laughing stock of our 442 single family home neighborhood.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:2906


11/18/2018 12:12 PM  
"... throughout the entire annual meeting"

But it wasn't a meeting at all. You went through an elaborate charade with all the signs, bells and whistles of a bona fide "Annu al Meeting" and got upset because somebody else wasn't playing nice? Wow. That's some chutzpah.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1209


11/18/2018 12:44 PM  
Sounds like an attempted annual meeting that didn’t meet quorum requirements?

It does sound like the former Pres and spouse were out of order and quite obnoxious.
AdamD1
(Indiana)

Posts:179


11/18/2018 1:08 PM  
Posted By GenoS on 11/18/2018 12:12 PM
"... throughout the entire annual meeting"

But it wasn't a meeting at all. You went through an elaborate charade with all the signs, bells and whistles of a bona fide "Annu al Meeting" and got upset because somebody else wasn't playing nice? Wow. That's some chutzpah.




It was an informal shoot-the-breeze session (still with rules to keep things on the up and up) since we didn't reach quorum. If you don't like that, I suggest you not move into our HOA.
AdamD1
(Indiana)

Posts:179


11/18/2018 1:10 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 11/18/2018 12:44 PM
Sounds like an attempted annual meeting that didn’t meet quorum requirements?

It does sound like the former Pres and spouse were out of order and quite obnoxious.




Correct. We did not reach quorum. Instead of just sending the homeowners away, we went on in an informal capacity of educating them on what we have been up to (minus election of Directors and budget approval which would require quorum to do). State law allows Directors to continue to serve and a budget to be passed absent a quorum at the annual meeting.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1209


11/18/2018 2:27 PM  
Sounds reasonable and legal ... did I miss something that made it awful?
AdamD1
(Indiana)

Posts:179


11/18/2018 2:58 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 11/18/2018 2:27 PM
Sounds reasonable and legal ... did I miss something that made it awful?




Nope, that was just their demeanor. Very unfortunate and was a missed opportunity on their part. While they may have had a legitimate question, their boorish presentation turned off the vast majority of homeowners in attendance. Of course, we have open Board meetings (former president never wanted them but was over-ruled) so they could have come to the Board anytime throughout the year to voice their concern about annual meeting quorum (they are both retired and have the time). However, us as a Board never heard from them. In fact, the former president is now a committee member on an ad hoc group we started recently. She and her husband waited for the annual meeting so they could have a platform to try and humiliate the Board. Very sad!

Of course, they want the Board to do ALL the work, yet they don't want to help change quorum. They can go petition homeowners to get quorum changed which would be more representative of the HOA than a few Board members. However, that would require them doing work w/o a platform to trash the Board! I'll end my mumblings here.
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