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Subject: Annual Meeting during pandemic
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Author Messages
SteveD7
(Florida)

Posts:3


07/20/2020 9:29 AM  
What are communities planning to do for their annual association meetings in the coming months? In-person meetings will incur the expense of a larger than normal facility, per-screening for symptoms, liability for people that then come down with the virus...etc. Going virtual may be difficult for some of our older, less-techie neighbors, How do we maximize inclusion?
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2902


07/20/2020 9:34 AM  
We did ours online (and with call-in) - very easy. Of 320 or so single family properties, we have never had more than 10-15 attend the annual meeting. For the online/call-in meeting, we had about three people.

I see no reason to attempt to do this sort of thing in person during C19.

If there are those that have access issues (hard to imagine they can't place a phone call), simply let them know in advance what the online/call-in process will be - IMO it is their responsibility to figure out a way to join in, if they desire.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:1120


07/20/2020 10:29 AM  
Our board has sent an announcement for an in-person annual meeting to be held in mid-September: roughly a month after schools and universities will open, and a couple weeks after the Labor Day holiday - all this in a state with still uncontrolled spread of the virus. I predict that it will be canceled.

While holding the meeting online may discourage some from participating, I believe that holding it in person forces older residents and others who are at higher risk to choose between protecting their health and exercising their right to attend the meeting and vote.

In addition, in-person meetings may incur liability risks for the association. Our meeting room may not allow people to spread out, and it may not have the necessary modifications to the ventilation system. Our governor still resists making face masks mandatory - although that may change - and who is going to enforce this? If we end up with a super-spreader event, what then?

So both online and in-person meetings could be viewed as discriminatory, although covid-19 specifically endangers older persons. Could this be viewed as problematic from a Fair Housing standpoint?

At this point I think trying to hold meetings in person is unconscionable unless you're in a state that has things well under control, and I fully expect things to get worse before they get better.


ND
(PA)

Posts:471


07/20/2020 10:32 AM  
Totally agree with George.

There is absolutely no reason to even attempt an in-person meeting and all the logistics involved.

You can host a zoom (or other software/app) virtual meeting that allows connection with computer/smartphone/device as well as simply a telephone. Non tech-savvy neighbors can call a phone number and participate/listen that way.

I suggest deciding what software/app you are going to use, pay the small amount for necessary license/full version, practice numerous times with numerous people (so you know how to use, create meetings, moderate activities, etc.), and then write simple instructions for homeowners to follow so they can connect.

Maximize inclusion by:
- deciding how you're going to do it and then stick to the method, time, date that you pick and send out. If you have to change or postpone from whatever is initially sent, you'll confuse folks and possibly lose attendees.
- make instructions for how to join as simple and straightforward as possible.
- publish your agenda ahead of time so everyone knows what is going to happen and be discussed (probably something you have to do anyway).
- offer some sort of incentive to be given away to a randomly selected neighbor who must be in attendance at the meeting in order to receive.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9678


07/20/2020 2:53 PM  
We notified owners we have not set a date yet and we are not sure when we can. We have not gotten any pushback. We are discussing on outdoor, social distancing, masks required meeting in Nov Dec. As thsi is SC the weather will be warm enough for such.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2902


07/20/2020 3:03 PM  
I recognize the desire to want to meet in person - due to the C19 pandemic it is simply unwise, and due to technology it is simply unnecessary.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3925


07/21/2020 12:23 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 07/20/2020 3:03 PM
I recognize the desire to want to meet in person - due to the C19 pandemic it is simply unwise, and due to technology it is simply unnecessary.

And if the board refuses to use technology, then it's still required to meet in person (at least in Florida).
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9678


07/21/2020 2:15 PM  
As of now we are still planning on an in person Annual Meeting but an electronic meeting has been lightly discussed. We will make a decision come October.
MercedesF
(Florida)

Posts:1


07/23/2020 5:34 AM  

Good morning all,
My name is Mercedes and I am a new board member from a HOA in Florida .
we are having problems with one Board member that want to have a meeting in person .
this member is sending e-mails to all owners in his own name calling to a meeting only
with him in person , he said we need to have more meetings because we are not transparent
enough when the reality is with the covi19 all country was closed for two month, we are closed again.
now we want to prepare the meeting in Zoom and he is doing all he can to instigate ours neighbors
against us. How we deal with a person like that.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:1120


07/23/2020 6:19 AM  
Posted By MercedesF on 07/23/2020 5:34 AM

Good morning all,
My name is Mercedes and I am a new board member from a HOA in Florida .
we are having problems with one Board member that want to have a meeting in person .
this member is sending e-mails to all owners in his own name calling to a meeting only
with him in person , he said we need to have more meetings because we are not transparent
enough when the reality is with the covi19 all country was closed for two month, we are closed again.
now we want to prepare the meeting in Zoom and he is doing all he can to instigate ours neighbors
against us. How we deal with a person like that.



The solution to misinformation being spread by a homeowner (or even a single board member) is for the board to communicate regularly with the community. If the board doesn't do this, there is an unmet need and you can expect someone to step in to fill it.

It's hard to stop a single board member from "going rogue" like this, and as long as he isn't trying to paint this meeting as official, you can't really stop it. He is entitled to meet as one homeowner to another. You can have opinions about the folly of in person meetings during a pandemic, but it's not your job to save people from their own foolishness.

What the board can and should do:

* regular newsletters: don't need to be fancy, can be email or paper placed in flyer boxes around the community, preferably both

* email and/or text message blasts for breaking news and community alerts

* HOA web site that is kept up to date with board meeting minutes, current financials, and other items that people want to know about (may want to steer clear of social media, though, since it often becomes a source of conflict)

Using all of these can allow the board to show how much they are doing right and can prove that accusations of lack of transparency are not true. The more of this stuff you can put online, the better, because the pandemic isn't going away any time soon.

(To be realistic, though, all of these things won't stop someone who is lying. Our current president went on and on about "transparency" as a new board member. This was both amusing and annoying since the board she was complaining about had: opened up board meetings to homeowners (Ohio is not an open meeting state), sent out quarterly newsletters in print and online, and developed a web site that was updated regularly with financials, meeting minutes, informational articles about things a homeowner should know, copies of the governing documents, and other items that homeowners might request. Once she became president, the flow of information stopped. So much for "transparency".)
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