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Subject: Incoming email to just one person
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Author Messages
RichardE10
(California)

Posts:4


06/16/2020 3:54 PM  
We use just one email for inbound email traffic. It's just an gmail account in the name of the association but it comes to me as the president. I have one board member who is insisting on seeing every single email and wants to be copied on every email I send. I told this person that for the sake of expediency, I am handling all small matters directly and that for anything important I would forward to other board members for input before replying to the email. Apparently, that's not good enough for this person. For you presidents out there, how are you handling the association's email traffic? Thanks.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9413


06/16/2020 4:07 PM  
Although President is the "Point" they are not the be all. It's a board decision not one person. Your just representing the HOA as a "whole". It's a difficult line to be sure and hard to let go of that "control". However, a HOA is made up of you and your neighbors. All of which fund that HOA. They have the right to know a certain amount of information.

Now I am talking spilling the tea. It's just that emails should be shared amongst the other board member so a collaborative response can be made. It seems an annoyance but it's more annoying to have a member go to various board members to get their way. Not all answers you have to give are the ones you agree with. They are the ones the board agreed upon.

Best advice someone gave me when I was president. Remember the HOA is NOT your HOA. It is YOU and YOUR neighbors. So the money isn't yours to decide what to do with. It's a group decision amongst those chosen to represent the general membership.

Former HOA President
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9413


06/16/2020 4:07 PM  
I meant to say NOT spilling the Tea...

Former HOA President
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7333


06/16/2020 5:37 PM  
Say, Richard, what size is your HOA? Do you have a property manager?
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3307


06/16/2020 5:53 PM  
What may be small to you may be viewed differently by someone else. Personally, I don't like the idea of only one person seeing all the emails - what if you step down or can't answer the email because of an emergency? What if there's a series of emails that addressed a major issue, something happens to you and then everyone else has to figure out what's been going on before determining what happens next?

I really don't see why you can't just set up a group email account - that's what our board did. Everyone can read the emails and decide if something should be referred to the property manager or at the next meeting.
BillH10
(Texas)

Posts:510


06/16/2020 6:29 PM  
As a Board president, I copy the Board on my response to every message I receive from owners and tenants, unless the message is personal, which it is occasionally. All Board members have personal email addresses, they are not always used by the 'folks'.

I always copy the Board on messages between myself and the PM, vendors, and personnel in the Master Association hierarchy.

My recommendation is just copy the Board, It is not worth the hassle of debating this with the Board member, there is very little overhead in doing so, and you can sleep soundly knowing someone is not conjuring up visions of inappropriate communications or hiding something.

BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:734


06/16/2020 8:27 PM  
Our secretary handles the email and forwards it to me or the appropriate person as necessary. I have access to the email and would have no problem with other board members seeing anything they want. I think the board has that right.

I would give the other board members access to the email rather than having to forward and cc everything.
DeidreB
(Virginia)

Posts:97


06/16/2020 8:28 PM  
From personal experience I recommend you share the log on credentials with your fellow board members. Share the duty to respond to member emails so it's not just you doing it. They have just the same amount of responsibility as you. You can each sign the replies as "The BoD" instead of as yourself or by name. This will drive more interaction and board thought and help avoid individual decisions which should not be taking place. Everything is a board decision including the communications.

With the exception of true emergencies, try to defer substantive responses until after the next board meeting where the board can discuss it. If it's just an info request, then reply knowing that your fellow board members can see it whenever they log on. If it's a request, let them know you have received it and it will be discussed at the next board meeting.

What i Have found is that if the President takes too much personal action (other than chairing meetings), other board members may become deferential to you. I know that's not your intent but if you handle all the communications yourself, that may send a message to other board members that you are the lead sled dog. You want debate, independent voting and board decisions with empowered board members. Sharing the email communications with them will reinforce that.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:1077


06/17/2020 5:10 AM  
Our association email is auto-forwarded to all board members and the PM and sends an automated response to the sender noting that we're received their email and that someone would contact them shortly. Easy-peasy.

We copy the PM because a good deal of the email we receive consists of requests for service of some sort, which is our PM's responsibility and shouldn't be delayed. Nearly all of the rest will get a formal acknowledgement from the board president along the lines of "thank you for your comments, the board needs to research/discuss this further".
MarshallT
(New York)

Posts:78


06/17/2020 6:49 AM  
As others have suggested, it's best to copy the entire board on email replies unless the email is intended for just you. This is good for transparency and inclusion, even if it feels unnecessary.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9577


06/17/2020 7:55 AM  
Our HOA Gmail is set up so that any Email sent to it automatically gets sent to each BOD Member. I believe Gmail calls it Designated.

We as a BOD decides who replies to specific issues/people.
BoardM3
(Arizona)

Posts:27


06/21/2020 7:30 PM  
A bit late to the party on this thread, but I did a lot of research regarding this topic recently you might find interesting. I thought adding a "Help-Desk" style system to our HOA would be beneficial - one that creates tickets for all incoming emails and the software would automatically reply to the sender "Thank you for your Email! Your request will be reviewed." And again when the issue is closed, allowing us to send custom replies to owners. The Help-Desk style software can also be used to track maintenance ticket issues and the like, so if there is a plumber called for a repair the property manager can send an email to the system and generate a ticket to track plumber calls/costs in the notes.

But the biggest benefit would be adding transparency to our on-site Property Manager (not Management company). A board member could request to see, for example, all suggestion tickets submitted last month, or a list of all outstanding repair tickets, simply by accessing the system. Today our property manager has a very bad habit of telling owners, "I'll send your request to the board" and then the Board never hears about it. I know, having the system does not mean our property manager will use it... but its a good place to start adding transparency.

There are lots of options out there but for a cheap one ($30/mo plus a free trial) you can try this one. I am in no way affiliated with this company and our Property Manager convinced the other board members they dont need it... much to my disappointment. But here is the link: https://www.jitbit.com
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16808


06/22/2020 1:00 AM  
Richard,

As others have pointed out, the President is simply a signature on official documents and runs the meetings. Responses to any email should be along the lines of:

I'll forward this issue to the correct person/committee
I'll place this issue on the agenda, our next board meeting is mm/dd/yyyy



I also believe that all emails should be copied to all board members.
To my knowledge, this can be done in gmail accounts.
Make it a rule that only one person responds (and take a board vote to identify who).


Note: the exception to this rule (in my opinion) would be communications to/from the treasurer to members. The board needs to know about specific issues but not who missed a payment. When I was treasurer, I provided the totals of how many were 30/60/90/120/in collections/in a payment plan to the board each month (which included the previous months for the year as well).

BoardM3
(Arizona)

Posts:27


06/22/2020 6:28 AM  
Tim brings up a great point - every organization should keep all emails for documentation. I heard emails can actually count as board "Meetings" if decisions are being made, so that documentation must be kept. I'm not 100% certain but some rules might apply in your state/CCR's about if this is even allowed without notification to the Owners (because meetings must be announced).
MarkW18


Posts:1195


06/22/2020 7:36 AM  
Posted By TimB4 on 06/22/2020 1:00 AM
Richard,

As others have pointed out, the President is simply a signature on official documents and runs the meetings. Responses to any email should be along the lines of:

I'll forward this issue to the correct person/committee
I'll place this issue on the agenda, our next board meeting is mm/dd/yyyy



I also believe that all emails should be copied to all board members.
To my knowledge, this can be done in gmail accounts.
Make it a rule that only one person responds (and take a board vote to identify who).


Note: the exception to this rule (in my opinion) would be communications to/from the treasurer to members. The board needs to know about specific issues but not who missed a payment. When I was treasurer, I provided the totals of how many were 30/60/90/120/in collections/in a payment plan to the board each month (which included the previous months for the year as well).




I am going to strongly disagree with your assessment of what a president of an association is. Below is an opinion, based on California Corporate Code of what an HOA president roles and responsibilities are. While there should be checks and balance to every officer position, the president is the Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation.

Title. Unless an association's governing documents state otherwise, the president is elected by fellow directors, not by the membership, and serves at the pleasure of the board. (Corp. Code §7213.) More often than not, the president is referred to as the "Board President" or "President of the Board." There is no harm in using the term although technically most governing documents define the office as "President of the Association."

Duties. Unless otherwise provided in the bylaws, a president's duties generally include:

presiding over board and membership meetings,
serving as liaison between management and the board,
serving as liaison between the association's attorney and the board,
serving as general manager and overseeing day-to-day matters, such as meeting with vendors, soliciting bids, etc. (unless a manager has been hired to handle those duties),
co-signing checks with the treasurer or secretary,
serving as an ex officio member of committees.
Small Associations. In small associations, it is not unusual for the president to oversee day-to-day operations. That means handling calls, meeting vendors and authorizing small expenditures. Boards can pre-authorize the president to spend up to $100, $200, $500, etc. on HOA matters at the president's discretion. The amount authorized varies from board to board and depends on the association's budget. Once a limit has been established, expenditures by the president must be reported to fellow directors. Reporting can be done as costs are incurred and then noted in the board's monthly financial report.

Duty to Monitor. Boards have a duty to monitor the president's actions. If the president fails to abide by spending limits set by the board, fails to timely report matters affecting the association or exceeds other limitations set by the board, fellow directors can immediately appoint a new president.

No Veto Power. The president cannot veto board decisions.
FredS7
(Arizona)

Posts:926


06/22/2020 8:49 AM  
> I have one board member who is insisting on seeing every single email and wants to be copied on every email I send.

Bring it up at the board meeting for discussion and a vote.

It wouldn't hurt to copy the board on almost all outgoing emails. Although eventually most of the board may wish that you didn't.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16808


06/22/2020 4:16 PM  
Mark,

We are saying the same thing.

Just because someone is a liaison doesn't mean that they are anything other then a messenger between the two parties. Typically, the Bylaws only specifies that the President cosigns checks, contracts and presides at meetings. If this is what the Bylaws state, then any other authority must be authorized by the board or the individual would be exceeding their authority as outlined in the bylaws.
MarkW18


Posts:1195


06/22/2020 4:35 PM  
Posted By TimB4 on 06/22/2020 4:16 PM
Mark,

We are saying the same thing.

Just because someone is a liaison doesn't mean that they are anything other then a messenger between the two parties. Typically, the Bylaws only specifies that the President cosigns checks, contracts and presides at meetings. If this is what the Bylaws state, then any other authority must be authorized by the board or the individual would be exceeding their authority as outlined in the bylaws.



These were my bylaws. They gave the president far reaching powers.

Section 7.6 President. The President shall be the chief executive officer of the Association, and
subject to the control of the Board, shall have general supervision, direction and control of the
business and officers of the Association. He shall preside at all meetings of the Members and at all
meetings of the Board. He shall be ex officio a Member of all standing committees, including the
Executive Committee, if any, and shall have the general powers and duties of management usually
vested in the office of president of a corporation, and shall have such other powers and duties as may
be prescribed by the Board or by the Bylaws. The president shall sign all leases, mortgages, deeds
and other written instruments and shall co-sign all checks and promissory notes of the Association.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7333


06/22/2020 5:07 PM  
And here are our Bylaws: "Section 5.5. President. The president shall be the chief executive officer of the Association and shall, subject to the control of the Board, have general supervision, direction and control of the affairs and officers of the Association. He shall preside as chairperson at all meetings of the Board, and shall, unless otherwise determined by the Board, have the general power and duties of management usually vested in the office of president of a corporation, together with such other powers and duties as may be prescribed by the Board or the Bylaws. The president shall see that the orders of the Board are carried out."

As you can see there's a big though subtle difference between mine & MarkW's (his are in CA, I think). our also clearly state that the board may delegate the day-to-day supervision, direction, etc.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16808


06/23/2020 1:38 AM  
And this is ours:


The President shall preside at all meetings of the Board of Directors; shall see
that orders and resolutions of the Board are carried out; shall sign all leases,
mortgages, deeds and other written instruments and promissory notes.
MarkW18


Posts:1195


06/23/2020 8:42 AM  
Posted By TimB4 on 06/23/2020 1:38 AM
And this is ours:


The President shall preside at all meetings of the Board of Directors; shall see
that orders and resolutions of the Board are carried out; shall sign all leases,
mortgages, deeds and other written instruments and promissory notes.



Not sure I would give much power to a director that didn't need to be an owner.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9413


06/24/2020 3:19 PM  
If a Director doesn't need to be an owner it usually indicates still Developer controlled. If not, then the HOA forgot to change that reference in their HOA documents when they updated them. Which is a big falacy when remove all references to the developer. It gets over looked and then becomes "law". The reason for the not needing to be an owner is so the Developer can use their employees to be on their board.

Former HOA President
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9577


06/24/2020 4:51 PM  
Posted By MarkW18 on 06/23/2020 8:42 AM
Posted By TimB4 on 06/23/2020 1:38 AM
And this is ours:


The President shall preside at all meetings of the Board of Directors; shall see
that orders and resolutions of the Board are carried out; shall sign all leases,
mortgages, deeds and other written instruments and promissory notes.



Not sure I would give much power to a director that didn't need to be an owner.




I agree. Fortunately our BOD Members must be owners and in good standing.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7333


06/24/2020 5:44 PM  
My Doh! I see MarkW's & our bylaws on the Prez area really similar. The prez does seem to have a lot of power, but, in three places, we can easily see that such power is or CAN BE moderated, constrained and limited by the Board.

Boards can remove presidents from that office without cause though the former prez would still be a director. (In our HOA all directors must be owners, and it now is CA law eff. 1/20)

The trouble I've seen over the years on this forum is that too many Boards let presidents dominate and rule them and the HOA. Scared? Lazy? Indifferent?

Additionally, as noted above, elsewhere in our Bylaws and probably in MarkW's too, the supervision, direction, etc. can be, and is in our case delegated to a Mgmt. company & their PM. Neither the president nor any other officer or director may direct staff, etc. It's very clear in our contract with our MC.
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