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Subject: Annual meeting in continuance, BOD changing ballot
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Author Messages
GinaM2
(Florida)

Posts:6


01/13/2015 10:42 AM  
Candidates wishing to be on the ballot for our annual elections had to submit their names and bios by 11/5/14. Our FL HOA recently attempted to hold its annual meeting and election of Board of Directors on 11/22/14. The meeting was properly noticed, but unfortunately we did not achieve a quorum. A motion was made and seconded from the floor to hold a continuance after the holidays when a quorum would more likely be achieved. The BOD held a meeting on 1/12/15, and announced they will be adding four additional names to the election ballot. A member in attendance questioned the BOD's right to add names to an existing ballot, considering the meeting is in limbo until its continuance, which is scheduled for 2/4/15. By creating a new ballot, some members feel that the BOD is creating a new meeting/election. The deadline for candidates to submit names and bios was 11/5/14. The proxies that were originally obtained (will still be valid for the continuance meeting) are for the original set of candidates, but now the BOD is adding four more names to the ballot that will be distributed at the continuance meeting. Does this sound right to you? While this is certainly unethical, can someone advise whether this is illegal in any way?
JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:4211


01/13/2015 11:31 AM  
Hi Gina: welcome to the forum. If you want legal advice you will need to consult an attorney as we can only offer based on our experience and are not lawyers. First question: are you in an HOA or Condo?
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3987


01/13/2015 12:02 PM  
Hi Gina

Technically, you are probably correct. Continued vote should ordinarily proceed as originally set.

On the other hand, when something is continued, BOD can usually make adjustments based on changed circumstances.

You could argue nothing changed to warrant change in candidates. BOD could argue the opposite. Not likely to be anything in your organizing documents or state law that defines things down to that level.

So:

1. If no violation of docs or laws, then no legal issue to pursue.

2. You can always demand that the original ballots be voted on. If you have enough votes to support you, you can probably override the BOD's decision to create a new list of candidates. Then again, if you have the votes, you can vote in the people on the original ballot and achieve the same result.

Good luck.

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9316


01/13/2015 12:47 PM  
Gina

I am not nor do I play a lawyer.

At best what your BOD was shifty but legal and at worst, illegal.

My first (personal) blush is as there was no Quorum, then business (such as an election) could not be conducted so there was no meeting thus there is time to "change" things (who is running) before the next meeting. Along the lines of in many states nominations can be made from the floor regardless of any printed ballot.

What Janet is saying is that FL has many regulations on associations but they can vary between condos (high rise type buildings) and other type associations (standalone homes), etc. This must be looked at as my personal belief does not amount to a pee hole in a snow bank....especially in FL.

GinaM2
(Florida)

Posts:6


01/13/2015 12:51 PM  
Thank you for the quick responses. This is an HOA, not a condo association. I realize nothing here will be legal advice...I was more interested in whether someone else has experienced a similar scenario. This is our first non-quorum annual meeting election situation. I have practically memorized the F.S. 720 and there isn't anything there to this detail. Same with our by-laws. Nominations can be taken from the floor during the meeting on 2/4/15, which is why some members feel there is no need to add these four new candidates to the ballot. They did not step up for the 11/5/14 deadline like the other candidates did, so they should fall under the "nomination from the floor" category. Shifty sounds like a good description of the activities!
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16700


01/13/2015 2:53 PM  
I actually disagree with John.

You said that the meeting was recessed (placed into continuance), not adjourned.

Had the meeting been adjourned, the Board would have the option to call another meeting with new information. However, since the meeting was recessed, there should be no change (unless you are going to comply with FL Notice requirements and send out the new info).

Had the meeting been adjourned, the existing Directors would have continued to serve. They then could appoint their own replacements and then resign.

Since there are already questions concerning the change on the ballot, I would recommend that the Board stick with the initial information and those who wanted to run, can be appointed to the Board to fill a vacancy or wait until next year.

KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7050


01/13/2015 4:57 PM  
I, too, think those 4 names should not have been added and that it's smells really awful.

Are you, Gina, one of the original candidates who met the 11/5 deadline?

Whether you are or are not, what do you and others who object propose to do about this problem? Will your HOA attorney attend the election on 2/4?
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9316


01/13/2015 5:25 PM  
Posted By TimB4 on 01/13/2015 2:53 PM
I actually disagree with John.

You said that the meeting was recessed (placed into continuance), not adjourned.

Had the meeting been adjourned, the Board would have the option to call another meeting with new information. However, since the meeting was recessed, there should be no change (unless you are going to comply with FL Notice requirements and send out the new info).

Had the meeting been adjourned, the existing Directors would have continued to serve. They then could appoint their own replacements and then resign.

Since there are already questions concerning the change on the ballot, I would recommend that the Board stick with the initial information and those who wanted to run, can be appointed to the Board to fill a vacancy or wait until next year.





Tim

Interesting and I respect you point of view.

But..the big but..if no Quorum then no business could be conducted thus it was not even a meeting and hence new "stuff" could be added.

That said, I do consider the move to be sneaky but there are many ways to skin a cat....LOL



GinaM2
(Florida)

Posts:6


01/13/2015 5:48 PM  
Yes Tim, the meeting was recessed. I was one of the candidates that did comply with the 11/5 deadline. The incumbents did not send out their bios with the new candidates'...they sent them out a few days before the election (which did not occur due to no quorum). Another strange thing...that they were immune to the deadline. I do not feel threatened by the additional candidates, but it frustrates me that the incumbents consistently play these games. Since September, there have been 5 Board members resign. We only have 5 directors/officers in total, but as they resign, the Board appoints a new one.

They stated at the meeting on 1/12/15 that they are going to hire the HOA attorney (at the expense of all members), to attend the annual meeting continuance. This attorney is not trusted by the majority due to some issues we've had with him and the Board shenanigans over the past several months. Some of us have uncovered Board activities that against our by-laws, and F.S. 720. Nothing too horrific, but dishonest and truly unethical. They spent over 10% of our budget (not allowed to do this) on items without putting it to a vote, one Board member is receiving periodic compensation, etc. This attorney is not going to be there unbiased - he is going to be there to support the current Board and their appointees!

We're not sure if there is anything we can do. Those who oppose do not have a clue how to attack this issue, which is why I thought I'd seek others who may have had a similar experience.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7050


01/13/2015 6:08 PM  
You need to band to gather with others who share your views, Gina. If there's someone who is not a candidate to kind of guide all of you, that would be best.

This unified group must put pressure the current Board via petition or letter copied to lots of Homeowners about the Board not following its own bio turn-in rules.

"your" team also should ask the attorney very hard but legit questions at the 2/4 meeting. Yes, owners pay for the attorney's attendance and that's commonplace. Ask about the "compensation" (different than reimbursement, right?). I don't think he will want to go on record with sleazy replies.

You have time to get organized so do it. Otherwise, get ready for more of the sam nonsense. Only Owners can turn these problems around.

What size is your HOA? Are most Owners residents there?
GinaM2
(Florida)

Posts:6


01/13/2015 6:21 PM  
Great advice, thank you!

We have 166 lots here, 120 have homes and the rest are either under construction or are vacant lots. All Owners are owners, not renters. The neighborhood is about 10 years old, and because it's so small, many have already been involved and left with a bad taste in their mouths afterwards. It's difficult to get volunteers, and participation has not been routinely encouraged by this or previous Boards. Sad.
GinaM2
(Florida)

Posts:6


01/13/2015 6:21 PM  
Great advice, thank you!

We have 166 lots here, 120 have homes and the rest are either under construction or are vacant lots. All Owners are owners, not renters. The neighborhood is about 10 years old, and because it's so small, many have already been involved and left with a bad taste in their mouths afterwards. It's difficult to get volunteers, and participation has not been routinely encouraged by this or previous Boards. Sad.
GinaM2
(Florida)

Posts:6


01/13/2015 6:26 PM  
Oh, and yes, I mean compensation. She also gets reimbursed for legitimate expenses, but this is something else. The property manager explained it to one of the owners. There is so much more but y'all don't have time for that!
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