Community Insider Spring 2018 - Page 26

PARLIMENTARY THREE STEPS TO BETTER HOA MEETINGS By Victoria Cohen A s a volunteer board member of your homeowner association (HOA), you have a lot of responsibility, and a lot of challenges. The ability to conduct effective 1, efficient 2 , and transparent 3 meetings should be the goal of every board. Where do you begin? EFFECTIVE meetings don’t just happen; they are well planned. ✓ A well-planned meeting requires an agenda with a realisticnumber of business items, a board packet with supporting informationfor each agenda item, and each board member needs to review the board packet in advance of the meetingand be prepared to discuss the supporting documentation, make a decision, or refer the item for furtherinvestigation. EFFICIENT: Board meetings should rarely exceed two 4 hours for Executive and Open sessions. for homeowners to speak to the Board. The Board can (and should) limit the time for each homeowner to three (3) minutes7, and limit the total homeowner forum time to 15 minutes8. Establish Time Limits: Create a timed agenda by placing time limits on each agenda items. When the time arrives, the Chair states that the time has been exhausted for that topic and the Board must move on to the next item of business. The Chair can direct management to place the item onto the next month’s agenda. The Board will learn how to pace the meeting, with a little bit of practice. The Chair should recognize the homeowner; the homeowner speaks; the Chair thanks the homeowner; the homeowner sits down. In general, the Board is not in a position to give the Establish Meeting Protocol: homeowner an answer to their questions or statements. If the Board does have an answer, the answer should be delivered by the Chair, or a board member who has asked the Chair for permission to speak. These steps help maintain an orderly meeting. It may seem weird at first, but with practice, this really does work. Remember: The Board cannot take action on any item not listed on the posted agenda9. Board Protocol: Most association’s governing documents indicate that the meetings should be conducted using some form of parliamentary procedure5. If your association documents are silent on this topic, California Civil Code includes a provision for adopting a Parliamentary Procedure6. The Golden Rule: No board member may speak without asking permission from the Chair. This may seem silly, but it is very effective in maintaining an orderly meeting. Remember: Everyone wants to be heard, but if everyone talks at the same time, nobody is heard. Homeowner Protocol: According to the Open Meeting Act, the Board must allow time 26 | SAN DIEGO COMMUNITY INSIDER SPRING 2018 WWW.CAI-SD.ORG | 27