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Subject: Open HOA Meetings
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Author Messages
RosalieJ
(North Dakota)

Posts:2


01/11/2020 9:38 AM  
We want our HOA members to have insight and input regarding the business of our community, but we also want to keep the meeting businesslike. What would be some recommendations about how to accomplish those goals at open board meetings? Also we have some members who can be volatile. How can they be kept from disrupting the meeting?
Thank you!
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8922


01/11/2020 10:03 AM  
Lower expectations... We held open meetings. The way to hold meetings is covered in your Articles of Incorporation. Should state what needs to be covered and order.

Our HOA the board sat at the table. Everyone else in chairs. We discussed financials. The expenditures we kept open and provided copies of. Collection reports were ONLY given to board members. Which we did NOT refer to anyone's names. Just Lot#'s. Plus we discussed what actions we were taking in collections. We had a rule of 6 months we liened and 1 year considered foreclosure. So we kept the discussion down to who was getting to 6 months or beyond.

After we did our business at the table we then would include comments from the general membership. Will note we also allowed people to write letters in. Which we would discuss in the open as well. Caveat is that if you wrote in and did not show up, then you let the board decide the answer.

Plus limiting people to a 2-5 minute cut off helps as well. If someone crosses the line, you can call the police. People get mad and heated. Let them let steam off or cut them off....

Former HOA President
MarkW18
(Florida)

Posts:382


01/11/2020 10:54 AM  
This might help:

https://www.realmanage.com/faq/how-to-run-a-successful-open-board-meeting/

https://www.fsresidential.com/corporate/news-and-events/articles/board-meeting-basics-for-hoa-board-members

https://www.allpropertymanagement.com/blog/post/how-to-run-an-hoa-or-condo-association-meeting/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmGxOQK6TU4
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:6817


01/11/2020 12:37 PM  
I'm sure MarkW's resources will be helpful, Rosalie. I can't take a look right now, but they're among a lot you can find online. Where does the board meet? How many directors are there? what size is your HOA?

Do you know if your state requires open board meetings? Do you know if your state requires an "open forum" at your board meetings when owners may speak and contribute? What do your bylaws say about board meetings re: whether they should be open?

But even if they're not required, I think it's a very good thing you want them to be open for Owners to attend.

While I'm sure this'll be covered in the sources from MarkW, in my opinion one of the most important things is to prepare an agenda in advance and stick to it during the meeting. Make sure during the motions and debate, directors stay on that agenda item only and do not stray.

I only know of AZ as a state when owners may make statements and ask questions while the board is discussing an item. Unless required in ND, I think it's better they reserve their comments for open forum. We have two one at the beginning of the meeting and one at the end. The second one allows owners to give their opinions of the decisions the board makes during the meeting. Our board actually has reconsidered decisions made and overturned them.

Perhaps also in Mark's sources you'll find advice about dealing with unruly owners. For starters, have th boards expectation on owners conduct listed on the backs of the agendas they pick up at the meeting.

JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9053


01/12/2020 8:26 AM  
It is also critical to outline when attending owners can and cannot speak.
RosalieJ
(North Dakota)

Posts:2


01/12/2020 9:04 AM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 01/12/2020 8:26 AM
It is also critical to outline when attending owners can and cannot speak.




Creating a scenario...Under "New Business" Board Member C brings up a topic regarding needing a better landscaping company. Member B is not in favor and speaks to that fact. Member D then gives her opinion.

Would this be the proper time for owners being allowed to give their opinion? Then would the president call for the motion from the Board and vote?
AugustinD


Posts:2411


01/12/2020 9:22 AM  
Posted By RosalieJ on 01/12/2020 9:04 AM
Creating a scenario...Under "New Business" Board Member C brings up a topic regarding needing a better landscaping company. Member B is not in favor and speaks to that fact. Member D then gives her opinion. Would this be the proper time for owners being allowed to give their opinion? Then would the president call for the motion from the Board and vote?
Here's what I have seen done:

First, at board meetings, the Board has no legal obligation to let HOA members give input. This is because the board is legally tasked with decision-making. It is the Board who is legally accountable if push comes to shove. Volunteer directors need to be able to attend to HOA business. Their time is precious. Efficiently run meetings are key to a HOA's success. Disruptive members destroy orderliness and efficiency.

Second, your scenario has a director 'bringing up a topic.' What should be happening is that the Board and especially the President are following an agenda of topics. Some topics will end up having motions by directors, which will pass, not pass or be tabled. A good agenda is key to a successful meeting. If your Board needs help in how to assemble an agenda, I suggest starting a separate thread.

Third, if an agenda topic has huge implications, and before directors vote on any motion the board President may invite open comment from members. Limit the members to two minutes each. Only the Board president should recognize members, with the caveat that directors should be allowed to ask the President to recognize members.

Fourth, for all Board meetings, and after the Board meeting is formally adjourned, set a time for "Member Comment." No agenda needed. People may speak for up to two minutes on any topic. Civility required. The manager should be taking notes on any problems raised that the manager can address without going through a formal complaint procedure.

Fifth, if there are members who are disruptive, even after setting the above terms, hire a security guard for a meeting or two. Inform members that anyone disruptive will be escorted out.

I suggest sending out a memo to all members explaining these terms of their participation.
AugustinD


Posts:2411


01/12/2020 9:26 AM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 01/11/2020 12:37 PM
Unless required in ND, I think it's better [HOA members] reserve their comments for open forum. We have two[:] one at the beginning of the meeting and one at the end. The second one allows owners to give their opinions of the decisions the board makes during the meeting. Our board actually has reconsidered decisions made and overturned them.
I like this. It's more efficient than what I posted above.
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