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Thursday, November 26, 2020

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Subject: Removal of Member at Monthly Meeting
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11/05/2020 8:54 AM  
Good Morning,

I am assuming most HOA meetings are being done on a virtual format these days. There has been several occasions where the same individuals over and over attempt to individually crucify individual board members and other personal attacks vendetta ect.

At what point do you remove disruptive individuals from a meeting? Our last 3 meetings presents the same regurgitation of issues same people and same attacks. We do not have a policy per se’ for such incidents.

Does anyone have actual policy for this or is it done on a case by case basis?


11/05/2020 9:21 AM  
Many HOAs have rules that spell out appropriate conduct at board meetings. Everyone, including the board members, should be expected to conduct themselves in a business-like manner. These rules can limit when owners may speak and for how long: for example, only during the Homeowners Forum part of the meeting and only for 5 minutes. These rules should be enacted and publicized ahead of time so that all attendees understand that they're expected to behave themselves. It's completely appropriate to say that any complaints owners make must be put in writing - if the person wants to waste their 5 minutes on nonsense, so be it - just thank them for their comments and move on.

The good thing about being on something like Zoom is that the moderator can mute or even remove people as needed. When you're back to in person meetings, it's harder - but board presidents can do things like adjourn the meeting for a "rest break" to allow tempers to cool.

Depending on your state's laws, it may be illegal to disrupt lawful meetings, and some HOAs have gone as far as having off-duty police in attendance to remove attendees who are out of control, if necessary. Hopefully it won't come to that, but people are not their best selves nowadays.


11/05/2020 9:36 AM  
Like CathyA3 indicated, it's legally best if the Board in advance publishes rules for conduct at meetings. Then the Board should reasonably enforce these rules. Yes, to some extent this will be case-by-case. But if these owners are so disruptive that the Board cannot stay on its agenda and get association business done, the board has a duty to mute them.

Some boards abuse this power. I think Boards must bear in mind that Members have an absolute right to hear board discussion and votes held in an open meeting. AFAIC Boards have to respect this right. At the same time, Boards must be reasonable, and toss out da bums as needed, for the sake of others attending the meeting and accomplishing the board's duties of discussing and voting on important topics.

Da bums perhaps should be reminded that if they are unhappy with a director, their recourse is to vote in a new director. Harassment at meetings or outside of meetings is not acceptable.

Before the pandemic and when in-person meetings were the norm, it was not uncommon for some boards to hire a security guard.


11/05/2020 10:00 AM  
Cathy & Augustin offer good insights, Michelle.

As you know, in CA the board must provide an Open Forum for owners to contribute what they wish. So a first step is to forbid owners comments during the business portion of the meeting. Our GM mutes all except the Board during the is business portion.

During open forum, and we do have written guidelines for attendees, we permit only one topic at a time from an owners and a 2 minute limit, which is plenty of time.

Until your board comes up with written guidelines, your presider should announce at the beginning of open forum that no personal attacks will be tolerated. Remnd them to be respectful and civil. Another is that maintenance requests should be done with the appropriate a staffer or director outside of meetings.


11/05/2020 10:03 AM  
I think KerryL1 nailed it. Love that muting feature and doing so automatically during the specific time that, as Kerry proposes, is set aside for board discussion. As well, I think having another time period set aside for members to say anything and everything, with reasonable time limits per member comment, is wise.


11/05/2020 10:06 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 11/05/2020 10:03 AM
As well, I think having another time period set aside for members to say anything and everything, with reasonable time limits per member comment, is wise.
And if I recall correctly, California statute requires that HOAs/condos offer this period time for members to say anything.


11/05/2020 10:29 AM  
I agree with all of the posts. When I was presiding over our board in Ca. we had a similar vocal minority and you knew what you were going to hear based on who was in the room back then. We set a 3 minute limit with 20 minute total for Public comments. We ran timers to insure we closed it at that time. We later decided to have an additional Open forum at the end of the meeting so we could stop the disruptions during the meeting. If they had any concerns about the decisions we made they had this time to speak again.
(South Carolina)


11/05/2020 12:55 PM  

It is going to be a matter of your BOD controlling the meeting. Not sure in CA but in most states once the meeting has been called to order only BOD Members are allowed to speak. If any others spak, shut them off.

That said, hold an open Q&A/Comment Session before concluding the meeting. Limit anyone to 3 minutes times. Let them vent there.


11/07/2020 4:20 PM  
Our townhome association has a Rule in our regulations that come from our state law on harassment. Check out your state law that pertains to harassment.
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