Posted on April 3, 2019 4:11 PM by Melissa Gentry
Welcome to part one of Robert's rules of order for association board meetings. Part one covers the agenda items that should be present on every meeting agenda.
Call to Order.
- State the actual time the meeting begins.
Proof of Notice.
- The Chair must verify that all members of the board have received proper notice of the meeting or confirm that all are in attendance.
- The Chair may call the meeting to order only if a quorum of the board is present in person.
- Telephone is acceptable provided that the phone participant can hear and be heard by all other board members and the owners in attendance.
- The meeting must be open to all owners and the board and must receive notice of the meeting according to Texas property code.
- The code states that notice must be posted in a public area and emailed to all owners.
Approval of Previous Minutes
- The minutes do not be read aloud but they should be entered into the Association’s records.
- The minutes are prepared by the secretary or other assigned person.
- Any board member may suggest changes to the minutes before the board adopts them.
- Minutes should state precisely each motion considered by the board, and identify the board members voting in favor, against, or abstaining, and whether the motion was carried.
- Minutes should not reflect the comments made except in those instances when the board desires to make a specific record.
- Dissenting votes by a board member should be fully stated in the minutes.
Officer or Committee Reports
- This is the time in the agenda when any committees of the board or officers of the board may report their findings or recommendations to the board.
- The full report should be presented and then each board member, in turn, may ask questions or comment.
- Any items that need a vote should not be voted on this section of the agenda. These items should be voted upon under new or old business.
- The board opens the floor to provide an open forum for the owners to speak about their concerns.
- Strict time limitations should be imposed by the board.
- Each unit owner should address the Chair and must speak courteously and to the point.
- Board members may question the unit owner about the problem or concern.
- Other owners are not entitled to comment or question the speaker, except with the permission of the board.
- Once the open forum period is closed, the unit owners are not allowed to participate and may not seek to be recognized unless the board specifically requests input or information from a particular unit owner.
Old and New Business
- All items that were tabled during previous meetings must be revisited during the old business portion.
- Items that were voted on via email between meetings should also be ratified in old business.
- The board may vote to postpone consideration of any old business or it may remove any item from consideration.
- All business must be conducted in the form of motions or resolutions adopted by a vote of the board.
Executive (or Closed) Session
- The board should move into executive (closed) session only after the regular business is conducted but before formal adjournment.
- All owners must be asked to leave except for those having a reason to participate (such as an owner at a rule violation hearing).
- No decisions, resolutions, or motions may be adopted in executive session.
- All business must be conducted in an open portion of the meeting.
- Discussion of items are held in closed section but the actual voting occurs when the meeting is called to order again for open session.
- The board should not take minutes of executive sessions.
- A motion is made by the board to adjourn, or, upon the conclusion of the agenda, the Chair shall announce the meeting is adjourned and the minutes should reflect the time of adjournment.
Part 2 is coming soon and will focus on common phrasing and protocol using Robert's Rules.
Posted on March 4, 2019 11:43 AM by Melissa Gentry
From time to time you may hear that the board of the association operates in a fiduciary capacity for the homeowners. Or you may read about the board’s fiduciary responsibility in the governing documents. Just exactly what does this mean?
Fiduciary duty simply means the board has an ethical and legal obligation to make decisions in the best interests of the entire association. That’s a small explanation for a very big responsibility.
Fiduciary duty includes a duty of loyalty to the association, which means that board members should never use their position to take advantage of the association. They should never make decisions for the association that benefit themselves at the expense of the association and its members.
Fiduciary duty also includes the duty to exercise ordinary care. This means board members must perform their duties in good faith and in a manner they believe to be in the best interest of the association, with such care as an ordinary prudent person in a similar position under similar circumstances would use.
In short, boards must act in the best interests of the association and act reasonably. In the first quarter of the year, the board makes decisions regarding collections for unpaid assessments.
Our management company advises your board of directors to ensure the board balances their fiduciary responsibility with protection of owners under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA).
The association makes every effort to work with homeowners who are having problems paying their assessments. But sometimes people get behind anyway. We want our homeowners to know that your association adheres to the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA), and we do not harass homeowners for unpaid assessments.
Community associations are required to collect assessments, which many state and federal courts consider to be debts. The FDCPA requires those who collect debts from individuals—like homeowners in a community association—to refrain from tactics that might be considered invasive. The FDCPA prohibits the association from:
- Harassing owners
- Threatening you with violence or harm
- Publishing names of owners who are delinquent or refuse to pay
- Making false statements
- Misrepresenting the amount owed
- Depositing your post-dated check early
- Threatening to take legal action against you when we don’t really mean it
- Providing personal information to anyone else without the owners permission
The FDCPA also requires the association to notify the owner in writing about delinquent assessments. This correspondence must state that it is an attempt to collect a debt, include the amount of the debt and the association’s name, and it must state that the owner has 30 days to dispute the debt in writing. If an association violates any of these stipulations, it could be liable to the homeowner for damages, attorneys’ fees, and court costs.
For more information about the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information page at www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0149-debt-collection.
Posted on February 4, 2019 1:43 PM by Melissa Gentry
Residents are encouraged to attend and observe association board meetings. If you’d like to bring an issue to the board’s attention, you’re welcome to speak during the homeowner forum—a time set aside just for you. So that everyone who attends has an opportunity for a meaningful exchange with the board, we ask that you observe the following guidelines:
- Although we’re all neighbors, this is a corporate business meeting. Please behave accordingly.
- If you’d like to address the board, please sign in when you arrive. You will be called in the order you entered. This allows the board to contact you if we need further information and to report back to you with an answer.
- The homeowner forum is an exchange of ideas, not a gripe session. If you’re bringing a problem to our attention, we’d like to hear your ideas for a solution too.
- To keep the meeting businesslike, please refrain from speaking if you’re particularly upset about an issue. Consider speaking later, speaking privately with a board member, or putting your concerns in writing and e-mailing them to the board.
- Only one person may speak at a time. Please respect others’ opinions by remaining silent and still when someone else has the floor.
- Each person will be allowed to speak no more than five minutes. Please respect the volunteers’ time by limiting your remarks.
- If you need more than five minutes, please put your comments in writing. Include background information, causes, circumstances, desired solutions and other considerations you believe are important. The board will make your written summary an agenda item at the next meeting.
We may not be able to resolve your concerns on the spot, and we will not argue or debate an issue with you during the homeowner forum. We usually need to discuss and vote on the issue first. But we will answer you before—or at—the next board meeting.
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