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Subject: How to conduct an annual meeting of the members
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JeffT
(Maryland)

Posts:67


09/28/2008 9:16 AM  
I know there has been a lot of talk on a lot of threads on this and that when you do a search on annual meeting you get tons of hits. This makes it tough to browse for comments, so here goes.

How should an annual meeting of the members be conducted? Ours seem to be a bitch session for members to show up and bitch at the board, who sit at a table at the head of the room. I remember reading one poster who believes that the board should not be at at the head. I like that.

What is the meeting for? I don't think that it is an annual board meeting. It should be a meeting of the members to discuss issues among themselves and make motions on issues, vote, etc. The board is just another member. I think the the President should preside with the function to see that it is orderly. Of course a report on the state of the community and actions of the board should be given. The secretary should take minutes and verify the quorum and rights to vote and such. Elections would be another issue for the board. Other than that it should be a discussion by members and a chance for them to sound off to other members about their concerns and make changes by motions and votes.

So, how would a proper annual members meeting be held and what are the roles?
GlenL
(Ohio)

Posts:5237


09/28/2008 10:09 AM  
Jeff, the purpose of the annual meeting should be spelled out in your doc's, here's what ours says.

Annual Meeting. The annual meeting of the members of the Association for the election of members of the board of trustees, the consideration of reports to be laid before such meetings, and the transaction of such other business as may properly be brought before such meeting shall be held at the office of the Association or at such other place upon the Condominium Property or elsewhere as may be designated by the Board of Trustees and specified in the notice of such meeting, at such time as may be designated by the Board of Trustees and specified in the notice of the meeting. The first annual meeting of members of the
Association shall be held within thirty (30) days after the expiration of one year after the date of incorporation of the Association. Thereafter, the annual meeting of the Association shall be held each succeeding year, on the 15th day of the month in which the first annual meeting was held, if not a legal holiday and, if a legal holiday, then on the succeeding business day.

Order of Business. The order of business at all meetings of members of the Association shall he as follows:


(1) Calling of meeting to order;
(2) Proof of notice of meeting or waiver of notice;
(3) Reading of minutes of preceding meetings;
(4) Reports of Officers;
(5) Reports of Committees;
(6) Election of Inspectors of election;
(7) Election of Trustees;
(8) Unfinished and/or old business;
(9) New Business;
(10) Adjournment.

French historian and author of Democracy in America Alexis de Tocqueville famously observed, "In a community association, members get the boards they deserve."
SusanW1
(Michigan)

Posts:5202


09/28/2008 11:07 AM  
Jeff - much of the success in any meeting is HOW the presiding officer conducts that meeting. That person must know all the CCRs, bylaws and parliamentary procedure thoroughly. He/She is somewhat like a conductor of an orchestra - overseeing all parts while trying to keep harmony so as to end up with a nice melody.

The presiding officer has keep the meeting going using a timed agenda, let the everyone speak, keep order, and bring the conversation to an end. The President should give a report of the year's accomplishments and all the Committee heads should also report. Each Committee should explain its own budget and how it spent its allotment.

Those complaining sessions are really counter productive. One ways to bring the issue to a point is to ask - when a person goes on and on and on - if he/she has a motion to make. Most folks don't, they just want to vent. If a motion is made, it can be considered (if it is legal, workable, non-conflicting, etc) and the process does include debate and a vote. But as I have said before, I have never seen a motion made by one of these characters.

I would suggest the Board appoint an ad hoc Annual Meeting Committee and especially, a Teller, if there is to be an election. Let this committee hammer out the logistics - even down to where the Board should sit.

A good presiding oficer is the lynch-pin, however.

GlenL
(Ohio)

Posts:5237


09/28/2008 12:08 PM  
Jeff in addition to the monthly Board meetings and the annual Members meeting our Association holds three Open Forum meetings a year. While homeowners are allowed to speak at the Board and Annual meetings, the primary purpose for them is to conduct the business of the Association and speaking time is limited. At the Open Forum meetings the primary focus is what's on the minds of the members; in these meetings there is no agenda, anything can be asked, problems aired, opinions expressed etc. Everyone is given ample speaking time and I've never heard anyone complain they didn't get a chance to make their point. Since these were started a few years ago the tension is down in the community and the rumor mill while still here has a much harder time to start problems.

P.S. Even the "dreaded renters" are allowed to speak at these meetings.

French historian and author of Democracy in America Alexis de Tocqueville famously observed, "In a community association, members get the boards they deserve."
ReneeD
(Illinois)

Posts:201


09/28/2008 4:31 PM  
I am so glad JeffT/Maryland resurrected this subject. I have tried to explain to other homeowners that our Annual Homeowners Meeting should be our chance to speak up even though the main order of business has always been to just elect new or incumbant officers to the Board. However, in the past four years, our BOD seems to believe that an attorney used by our PM for several of their properties should "run" this meeting. The answer I get from the attorney is that it is the BOD's decision to have him there. If that were the case, shouldn't this be brought up at a meeting as a motion and included in Meeting Minutes? Our CCR's are silent on this so, how can homeowners go about changing this or, must we wait another year? -Renee
SusanW1
(Michigan)

Posts:5202


09/28/2008 4:38 PM  


IF the bylaws say that one of the President's duties is to lead the annual meeting, then he must. The Board has no right to put in another presiding officer, UNLESS they have the power. Ask where they got the power to put this particular person in power to preside at the Annual Meeting.

If it is not in the bylaws that the president lead the ANNUAL MEMBER's meeting, a member can call a point of order at the beginning of the meeting and motion to hold a vote on the presiding officer for that meeting. Majority needed to pass. Then hold a election for the presiding officer. If you don't have someone in mind, then the lawyer would be OK - IF the bylaws allow a non member to preside over a meeting.




MaryA1


Posts:0


09/29/2008 10:23 AM  
Renee,

My assn bylaws also state the Pres. shall preside at all meetings of the members and of the board. However, there is also a provision titled "other agents" which says the BOD may appoint other "agents" to "exercise such powers and perform such duties as shall be determined from time to time by the BOD." This means the BOD could appoint the assn attorney to preside over the annual meeting. Does it really matter that the attorney presides over the meeting instead of the Pres?
ReneeD
(Illinois)

Posts:201


09/29/2008 9:34 PM  
Thank you for your responses.

MaryA - Other than the BOD Prez presiding at meetings, our Bylaws do not mention "any other agents" to perform other duties. As far as the attorney being present, I'm sure we are being charged a bundle for his services; two of the BOD have been on the board for over 4 years. Also, our PM always attends these meetings, always has every proxy/ballot opened and tallied against her homeowner roster BEFORE the meeting of homeowners actually begins. When I brought this up, both she and the lawyer said this is done to save time and the BOD actually decides how the meeting will be conducted. I am not happy with the manner they conduct these meetings and, the only chance homeowners have to express their views are at these meetings--held once a year! Renee
MaryA1


Posts:0


09/30/2008 8:32 AM  
Renae,

Well, frankly, I do think it strange that the Pres would ask their attorney to preside at the meeting. Do alot of members attend the annual meeting? Is there generally alot of confrontation; angry outbursts, etc.?

Our assn has a P.M. also. She is a whiz! She attends all the board meetings and of course the annual meeting. Our Pres. presides over all board and member meetings, but the P.M. is available to answer any questions or offer additional insight -- there is nothing she doesn't know. IMO, every assn should have a P.M. like ours!

In most assn's the annual meeting is the only time the members have their "day in court" so to speak. Although AZ law does state that members have the right to attend all meetings (board meetings included) and also have the right to speak to an issue before the board takes action. Many states do not have open meeting requirements and members are effectively shut out of board meetings. Depending upon how communicative the board is with the membership, this could cause more confrontation at the annual meeting because the members are not aware of what is taking place.
ReneeD
(Illinois)

Posts:201


09/30/2008 9:39 PM  
Mary,

I'm not sure who exactly is requesting the attorney's presence at the annual homeowners meeting as neither our PM or BOD will give a straight answer. Most homeowners are left "in the dark" on most goings-on anyway during the year.

We used to have a pretty good turnout of homeowners up until 2004; now, we're lucky to see at 10 homeowners to show up at these annual homeowner meetings. I have tried unsuccessfully to get the BOD to open up to other homeowners and share information to no avail. Our BOD operates under the 'what you don't know won't hurt you' attitude or, until the last bloody minute which by then there isn't much a homeowner can do.

Count your blessings that you have a PM that has the knowledge and expertise you speak of!

-Renee
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