Minnesota Community Living November/December 2012
Successful Homeowner Association Non-Executive Regular Board Meetings
By Rich Klobuchar
urposes of Open Board Meetings
- Allow board members to discuss issues and make decisions through motions and votes—only board members can vote.
- Comply with MN law—"board meet- ings must be open to unit owners” (owners, as observers, can choose to attend or not attend).
- Fulfill requirements of the By-Laws— e.g. have one annual board meeting to follow the annual meeting and a minimum of four additional board meetings within a year.
- Give owners confidence that board decisions are transparent, in the best interest of the Association, and are shared with owners.
- Distinguish board meetings from other meetings—annual, ad hoc, special, unit owners, executive and committee meetings.
- Inspire and prepare future board members and community leaders.
- Provide stability and continuity for the Association when board members leave the board and new board members are elected.
Notice of Board Meeting to Owners
Reminder Notice of Board Meetings to Board Members
- About a week before the meeting, a packet of materials should be sent to board members including a current agenda (also, minutes and financials from the prior month) to be read by board mem- bers before the meeting. Board members should let the President and Secretary know their attendance plans at least several days before the meeting.
Timing of Board Meetings
- Having monthly meetings on a set day of the month at a fixed time has worked well (e.g. Third Thursday of the month at 6:30 p.m.) Board Meeting Location—a static public place rather than a home, that is quiet and that can accommodate observing owners and guests.
Open Forum Before Board Meeting Begins, 6:30 p.m.
- Board members listen to owners express their thoughts, with a time limit per speaker of 2 to 3 minutes (overall time limit of 15 minutes) The Secretary or Vice President should keep track of the time and let the President know when the speaker’s time limit is reached.
- Rather than board members respond- ing to the speaker at this time, the Secretary, with the aid of a laptop computer, takes notes regarding who spoke and what their concerns are for later follow up.
- After the meeting ends, the Secretary can make copies of written material the speakers may provide and give the material to board members.
Preliminary Quorum Check
- The President determines if a majority of board members are present so the meeting can begin, including those on speaker phone. Proxies are not allowed. If there is a quo- rum, proceed to Board Meeting. If not— wait, call member, or reschedule.
Board Meeting, 6:45 p.m.
- President states there is a quorum and calls the board meeting to order—only board members are permitted to speak.
- Secretary takes minutes indicating the start time and which board members are present and not present.
- Agreement on agenda with approximate time limits—although most agenda items should be sent to the President and Secretary well before the board meeting, some changes, additions and/or deletions can be directed to the President. A motion and sec- ond to accept agenda as amended are made. Following discussion, a vote is taken.
- Secretary makes a motion with a second to approve prior board meeting minutes. Following discussion, a vote is taken.
- Treasurer makes a motion with a second to accept financial statements from prior month. Following discussion, a vote is taken.
- Management Report
- Committee reports – e.g., building and grounds committee.
- Unfinished business—carryover items from prior board meetings including last board meeting’s action items.
- New business issues.
- Secretary summarizes new action item list—who, what and by what date — 7:20 p.m.
- Announcements—here and/or after adjournment.
- Next Board Meeting to be held—day, date, time, and location.
- Adjournment—motion with a second to adjourn; vote. The secretary should specify the time the meeting ended— 7:30 p.m.
Helpful Tips for a Good Meeting
- Be respectful in tone and manner to all—use at least some form of Robert’s Rules of Order when appropriate.
- Use several microphones so everyone can hear—permit only one person at a time to speak—no side conversations.
- Stick to the issues—no personal attacks or questioning another’s mo- tives.
- Indicate in the minutes what was done and not what was said.
- Within a week after the board meeting, the secretary can send out unapproved draft notes of the board meeting to board members for their editing suggestions. The actual minutes need to be approved by the board at the next board meeting.