Many look forward to, and some even dread, their association’s annual meeting. To quote a long term Association Board President: “It gives everyone in the membership the opportunity to praise or condemn the board’s performance over the prior year.” The best definition of an annual meeting is a meeting of the association’s membership to discuss the general well-being and accomplishments of the association and to elect directors. Annual meetings are important because the membership has the right to know what was accomplished throughout the prior year with the assessment income. The annual meeting should be a forum by which the will of involved homeowners is heard. Homeowners show their interest in the community through their attendance (or lack thereof) at the annual meeting, as well as by voting for/running for the Board of Directors.
The Annual Meeting Basics:
Because of the important nature of the annual meeting, always maintain a businesslike atmosphere.
The Chairman or Chairwomen opens, directs, and adjourns the meeting. To enable the Chair to direct the meeting efficiently, meeting procedures should be established at the beginning of the meeting. Meeting procedures maximize meeting time and ensure that important issues are addressed. Robert’s Rules of Order provides a systematic and efficient method of conducting a meeting.
Items of a personal nature that do not affect the entire association and/or the membership as a whole should not be discussed.
The Chair prepares an agenda in accordance with the association’s governing documents. The agenda outlines what is to be discussed. Without a fixed and focused agenda the meeting can quickly go off-course.
The Chair should point out to the membership at the beginning of the meeting that there will be an open floor discussion session at the end of the
meeting which allows the membership to voice issues of a nature that involve and relate to the entire membership. During this open floor discussion, please refrain from discussing issues that solely affect individual matters such as unit maintenance, others in the membership, etc. Issues of an individual nature can be discussed after the annual meeting or you can request to be added to the agenda of the next Board of Directors’ meeting.
Issues to Avoid:
-Legal matters. These issues are by their nature very sensitive. An annual meeting is NOT the forum in which to discuss any legal matters involving association members.
-Delinquency of specific association members. State Statutes and fair collection practices prevent the publication of delinquency information. Remember, information of this nature should be considered private. Only the Board of Directors, your property manager, the delinquent homeowner in question and, in some cases, an attorney, should be discussing delinquency information about specific homeowners.
Some governing documents dictate specifically what should be included in the annual meeting agenda.
The role of the Chair is to maintain order by keeping to the agenda. The Chair must overcome the fear of appearing rude or overbearing by calling people down who deviate from the agenda or speak out of order. The Chair must always remember that the member who deviates from the agenda or speaks out of order is the one being rude and inconsiderate of the rest of the membership. WDPM
Copyright – William Douglas Management, Inc. 2016