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Subject: Board Candidates
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Author Messages
CfD
(Virginia)

Posts:262


02/02/2015 12:14 PM  
I know it sounds crazy, but we have an election for open board seats coming up and the board won't tell us who is on the ballot, or if anyone at all is on the ballot. Some have asked our appointed board communication liason if anyone is on the ballot, and after saying she would check with the president she has now refused to respond to any inquiries.

Is it normal to withhold who the candidates are, or even refuse to answer inquiries about the candidates?
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16852


02/02/2015 12:33 PM  
Is it normal? No. But you knew this.


Per notice requirements, VA § 13.1-842, only the date, time and place of each annual and special members' meeting and Notice of a special meeting shall state the purpose or purposes for which the meeting is called.

Therefore, the Association technically, based on my research and laypersons interpretation, would not have to disclose who is on the Ballot. It's stupid not to, but it's not a requirement unless your governing documents specify that it is.

I would suggest reading your governing documents concerning nominations to the Board. Many are silent but some specify specific procedures and may even allow nominations from the floor.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3987


02/02/2015 12:33 PM  
Our practice, which I think is fairly standard, is to send a 1st notice about 30 days before the meeting asking for candidates, and a 2nd notice about 15 days before the meeting with all of the candidate names on our ballot/proxy form. Included with the 2nd notice is a half page bio on each of the candidates.

Can you provide a bit more detail about your HOA's practices?

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
CfD
(Virginia)

Posts:262


02/02/2015 1:04 PM  
I would say since I left the board two years ago obfuscation in all things communicated to the members seems to be the norm, especially in the board minutes. Manipulation of facts is prevalent as well.

We used to send out a list of candidates and / or bios with the annual meeting notice. Our current president had his image and ideas for a better neighborhood distributed to the entire membership. When I ran for and was elected to the first homeowner controlled board my name was distributed throughout the membership and I had more than one person show up at my door to ask about my views. I had absolutely no problem with that and wish I had the same opportunity.

Not really sure why or for what purpose this information is being withheld.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9690


02/02/2015 1:57 PM  
CfD

In many places nominations can be accepted from the floor at the time of the election thus any ballot done prior to that might well not contain the name of all candidates.

I say the function of a BOD is to be sure the elections follows the Bylaws, not to be an aid to a candidate in politicking such as distributing political information. It is the candidates job to do such.

My BOD is presently having such a discussion. I say we announce when the election will be held (at our Annual Meeting). We state how many vacancies exist. We vet the candidates to be sure they are eligible. We announce who is running. We provide an up to date owners mailing list to any candidate requesting such from which they can do their own mailing. We arrange for proxies/ballots to be counted.

I am torn as to how much the BOD should do before it crosses the line of being a candidates friend, worker, campaign, etc.

JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9690


02/02/2015 2:52 PM  
Posted By NpS on 02/02/2015 12:33 PM
Our practice, which I think is fairly standard, is to send a 1st notice about 30 days before the meeting asking for candidates, and a 2nd notice about 15 days before the meeting with all of the candidate names on our ballot/proxy form. Included with the 2nd notice is a half page bio on each of the candidates.

Can you provide a bit more detail about your HOA's practices?




NPS

Do your docs allow nominations form the floor? If so, how do you handle them?

TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16852


02/02/2015 3:00 PM  
John,

Our Documents allow nominations from the floor. In the proxy we specify that this is allowed and that all candidates may not be known. We then include spaces for write-ins.

Our ballots also include spaces for write-in candidates.


At the meeting we ask if there are any nominations from the floor (ok, we typically beg for nominations from the floor because it's rare that we have a full set of nominees). We list their names on a white board and then pass out the ballots.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16852


02/02/2015 3:02 PM  
Posted By CfD on 02/02/2015 1:04 PM
I would say since I left the board two years ago obfuscation in all things communicated to the members seems to be the norm, especially in the board minutes. Manipulation of facts is prevalent as well.




As much as you might not want to, it appears that you may need to be willing to serve again to ensure the Association runs properly. That, or find others who have similar thinking and encourage them to run.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9690


02/02/2015 3:12 PM  
Posted By TimB4 on 02/02/2015 3:00 PM
John,

Our Documents allow nominations from the floor. In the proxy we specify that this is allowed and that all candidates may not be known. We then include spaces for write-ins.

Our ballots also include spaces for write-in candidates.


At the meeting we ask if there are any nominations from the floor (ok, we typically beg for nominations from the floor because it's rare that we have a full set of nominees). We list their names on a white board and then pass out the ballots.




Tim

I started another discussion about this.

Thanks
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7407


02/02/2015 3:22 PM  
So, CfD & Tim, it sounds like in VA you aren't required to send ballots to H/Os to left directors. Is that right? And H/Os only may f vote at the annual meeting in person or by proxy. Is that right?

I guess if I were a candidate I'd do whatever VA/your HOA docs permit to get my name out to H/Os. Get a mailing list and send a nice campaign letter to all owners asking for their vote and briefly saying why they should elect me.

In CA, those running may not use HOA funds to send campaign literature. But since w mail out ballots, the names are known well before the annual meeting.

We permit nominations from the floor, but that never happens since H/Os can vote by mail, which counts them as present to establish quorum.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16852


02/02/2015 3:45 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 02/02/2015 3:22 PM
So, CfD & Tim, it sounds like in VA you aren't required to send ballots to H/Os to left directors. Is that right? And H/Os only may f vote at the annual meeting in person or by proxy. Is that right?




Correct, voting by mail is typically not used unless authorized within the governing documents.
The closest we get is directed proxies.

Per VA § 13.1-855 (which does defer to the Articles of Incorporation) requires that elections take place at meetings:

Directors shall be elected or appointed in the manner provided in the articles of incorporation. If the corporation has members with voting privileges, directors shall be elected at the first annual members' meeting and at each annual meeting thereafter unless their terms are staggered
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9690


02/02/2015 5:10 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 02/02/2015 3:22 PM
So, CfD & Tim, it sounds like in VA you aren't required to send ballots to H/Os to left directors. Is that right? And H/Os only may f vote at the annual meeting in person or by proxy. Is that right?

I guess if I were a candidate I'd do whatever VA/your HOA docs permit to get my name out to H/Os. Get a mailing list and send a nice campaign letter to all owners asking for their vote and briefly saying why they should elect me.

In CA, those running may not use HOA funds to send campaign literature. But since w mail out ballots, the names are known well before the annual meeting.

We permit nominations from the floor, but that never happens since H/Os can vote by mail, which counts them as present to establish quorum.




Kerry

In SC we are not required to send out ballots nor have secret ballots. No need for wax sealed, triple envelope, swear on my Mother's grave, signatures in blood, fingerprint on ballot, ballots counted by CPA's, as it seems to me some states require......LOL

We do have "stuff" in out Bylaws about a Nominating Committee but we are throwing the election open to all and any owner. All one has to do is submit their name to the Secretary of the BOD. This is part of our attempt to not try and control things. Nominating Committees are a controlling method and many associations have dropped them.

One of our Bylaw requirements is "candidates shall have a reasonable opportunity to communicate their qualifications to the voting members and to solicit votes". I say we can cover this by providing them with a copy of our owner mailing list upon their request.





KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7407


02/02/2015 8:06 PM  
However goofy you think absentee/mail-in ballots are, we never have trouble making quorum, JohnC..

But how do others here interpret the following, from your bylaws, JohnC? "...candidates shall have a reasonable opportunity to communicate their qualifications to the voting members and to solicit votes."

Does that mean they can all speak at a special meeting before the election? Does that mean the HOA should pay to send out a bio of each and their names?? You seem to think, JohnC, that it only means that candidates can have the address list of owners.

It could mean many things. What do others think????

TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16852


02/02/2015 8:25 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 02/02/2015 8:06 PM

It could mean many things. What do others think????




To me, at the very least, it means that the individual may make a short speech or take questions during the annual meeting. At best, it would mean that the Association holds a meet the candidates meeting. In the middle, a short bio would be sent with the meeting notice and proxy form.


JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9690


02/02/2015 9:01 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 02/02/2015 8:06 PM
However goofy you think absentee/mail-in ballots are, we never have trouble making quorum, JohnC..

But how do others here interpret the following, from your bylaws, JohnC? "...candidates shall have a reasonable opportunity to communicate their qualifications to the voting members and to solicit votes."

Does that mean they can all speak at a special meeting before the election? Does that mean the HOA should pay to send out a bio of each and their names?? You seem to think, JohnC, that it only means that candidates can have the address list of owners.

It could mean many things. What do others think????





Kerry

Do keep in mind this is our first election. I am on the BOD (VP and Treasurer) so I have some say in how we run the election. I want an open and fair election thus I am looking for suggestions how to make it such, but candidly I believe many have gone overboard creating rules/laws concerning them.

I do not think absentee/mail-in ballots are goofy. I do think the double secret type stuff surrounding them can be. In general elections one has to request such. I do not think the association should have to absorb the cost of sending such out to all owners.

I am not in favor of the association absorbing costs to mail out candidate bio information. I am in favor of providing our mailing list and let the candidates do so on their own dime.

I am having issues with the logistics of candidates speaking at the Annual Meeting. Does one give the ballots out when owners register and then have them vote after the candidates speak? We also allow Proxies so we have to account for them. This could make for a long drawn out night. Not against such, just trying to get my head around the logistics.

Some have suggested a candidates night prior to the election. I like that idea, but as we do not have a clubhouse/location we would have to rent a site to have such. Same as we have too pay for our Annual Meeting.

We have made arrangements for candidates to be able to submit a "resume" to be published in the 3 editions of our monthly electronic newsletter prior to the election. There is also talk about a special election edition of the newsletter two weeks prior to the election. I say arrangements as the BOD does not control the newsletter's content. The newsletter reaches about 70% of our owners.

Each home has a USPS letter box stand with a box attached to the side for newspaper insertion. A candidate could have flyers printed up and inserted in that newspaper box,

I am open to suggestions.




TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16852


02/02/2015 9:10 PM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 02/02/2015 9:01 PM

Some have suggested a candidates night prior to the election. I like that idea, but as we do not have a clubhouse/location we would have to rent a site to have such. Same as we have too pay for our Annual Meeting.




John,

As a nonprofit organization, we are able to use our local school for our annual meetings (we use their cafeteria). We had to fill out some paperwork, but we are allowed to schedule a room to use for free. Obviously, school activities take priority but scheduling hasn't been that big of an issue.

You may want to check into that as an option.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16852


02/02/2015 9:17 PM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 02/02/2015 9:01 PM

I am having issues with the logistics of candidates speaking at the Annual Meeting. Does one give the ballots out when owners register and then have them vote after the candidates speak? We also allow Proxies so we have to account for them. This could make for a long drawn out night. Not against such, just trying to get my head around the logistics.




We hand out ballots and meeting packets as the members sign in at the front door.
The Treasure has a list of who is delinquent and therefore may not vote.
The Secretary or election official receives the proxy and the proxy rep signs in for that owner.
Once a proxy has been received, a ballot for the proxy is handed out.

We don't care when the members fill out the ballots during the meeting.
We simply allow a time frame for it to happen (typically 5-10 min. is all that is required).
When we have candidates speak, we limit the time to 3 min per candidate. Typically, they take less time.

Our meetings typically run 90 min. 60 for the Reports and election, 30 for the open forum.


One thing that helps keep the meeting short is to have the Officers and committees prepare written reports. Then the officer simply mentions highlights, directs the members attention to the written report and asks if there are any questions. Typically, only the Presidents and the Treasurer's reports take the most time (10-15 min each) depending on the questions raised.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9690


02/03/2015 5:22 AM  
Posted By TimB4 on 02/02/2015 9:10 PM
Posted By JohnC46 on 02/02/2015 9:01 PM

Some have suggested a candidates night prior to the election. I like that idea, but as we do not have a clubhouse/location we would have to rent a site to have such. Same as we have too pay for our Annual Meeting.




John,

As a nonprofit organization, we are able to use our local school for our annual meetings (we use their cafeteria). We had to fill out some paperwork, but we are allowed to schedule a room to use for free. Obviously, school activities take priority but scheduling hasn't been that big of an issue.

You may want to check into that as an option.




Our Annual Meeting is at a local primary school. $103 charge.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3987


02/03/2015 5:49 AM  
We use buildings owned by our township at no charge.

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
CfD
(Virginia)

Posts:262


02/03/2015 11:23 AM  
"At best, it would mean that the Association holds a meet the candidates meeting. In the middle, a short bio would be sent with the meeting notice and proxy form. "

This makes sense to me as well. In fact, our registered agent's web site for HOA advice encourages a meet and greet meeting for the candidates.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7407


02/03/2015 4:30 PM  
I also agree that a short bio of each candidate go out in US mail to all owners with the meeting notice and proxy form. Invite owners to submit this bio and DO limit the words to 150 or a similar number.

Beyond that, candidates might want to take further steps.

Again, you'd write as we do, and apparently Tim's HOA does, that the "known" candidates are etc., etc.

We tried a "Candidates Night" a couple of times in the past and the turnout was pathetic. Candidates also don't speak at the annual meeting as most here already have voted by then (because of mail in voting). The election IS that night as that's when the secret ballots are counted.

How did you do it in the other HOAs where you've owned, JohnC?

I'm curious about your newsletter, which you say your HOA doesn't publish. Who does?? Only using it does not reach all owners. Mailboxes don't either unless you're 100% owner occupied.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9690


02/03/2015 7:57 PM  
Kerry

In my 5 or so association (IL, MA, SC) we never had a mail in ballot. In my last association (700 homes) we rarely reached a Quorum (only one time in 8 years) at the first Annual Meeting so we would adjourn the meeting and reconvene in 30 days. This reduced our Quorum requirements by 50% each time (351 of 700 first meeting, 176 the 2nd meeting, 88 the 3rd meeting). We had to go to the 3rd meeting several times and we allowed Proxies.

112 homes in my present HOA.

Some say no Quorum is apathy but also owner contentment can have the same result.

Only way to assure a Quorum at an Annual Meeting is to announce a dues increase vote.....LOL
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