ANNUAL MEETING TIPS FOR ASSOCIATIONS
by Enrolled Agent Steven J. Weil, Ph.D., EA, LCAM, Royale Management Services, Inc.
As associations plan their annual meetings, these reminders and specific steps will be useful.
The annual meeting is a membership meeting in which every member can and should participate. Participation comes through properly-made motions, seconds, taking part in the discussion of motions and through voting.
The first order of business he is to appoint the chairperson to run the meeting. The chairperson can be anyone who the members agree should chair the meeting. In many associations the board president chairs the meeting; however, this requires approval of the members. Some associations ask their manager or attorney to chair the meeting. This is acceptable as long as it is approved by the membership. In large associations having a professional chair the meeting can help to keep it on track and see that the required business gets done properly.
A motion as to who shall chair the meeting can be made by any member of the association. This motion must be seconded and then voted on by the members present. If the motion is approved by a majority of the member’s present, the chairperson is elected for the meeting.
The second order of business is to determine whether a quorum of the members is present in person or by proxy. The quorum requirement is spelled out in the association documents or by state statute. Without a quorum, no business can take place at the meeting. However, ballots must still be collected.
The third order of business is to appoint the election monitors. Election monitors will supervise and participate in the counting of the ballots cast. Election monitors may not be candidates for the board or members of a candidates’ family.
The fourth order of business is to collect the ballots. All ballots received by mail prior to the election and brought to the meeting should be delivered to the election monitors and placed in the ballot box.
Ballots must be collected, and all ballots must be properly cast, i.e., enclosed in an outside envelope which shows the unit number, name of voting member and signature and then enclosed in an inner envelope which should not provide any identity information.
Note: ballots cannot be accepted once the counting process begins. Thus, it is important to make an announcement that all ballots must be cast before the counting can begin and not to accept any additional ballots once the counting process has begun.
Ballots are then verified for the association ownership records and voting certificates. Units with more than one owner, units owned by a trust, or units owned by a corporation must have a voting certificate on file that shows who is authorized to vote for the unit.
For the election to be valid and counting to continue, at least 20% of the eligible unit owners must have cast a ballot.
Next, the outside envelopes are opened and separated from the ballots, which are still sealed in the inner envelope. Once all outside envelopes are opened, the ballots are returned to the ballot box and mixed before opening the inside envelope. Ballots are then opened and counted.
At the conclusion of the ballot count, the results are announced; and the ballots, counts, outer and inner envelopes must be saved as part of the association’s official records for a period of three years.
The fifth order of business (if a quorum is present) is the reading and approval or waiver of reading and approval of last year’s meeting minutes.
The sixth order of business is to conduct the remaining business of the association, including the reading or presentation of any officer and or committee reports, old business from last year, new business for this year, owner comments and questions.
The final thing to do is to adjourn the meeting. The chairperson can ask for a motion to adjourn the meeting, which must be seconded and voted on by the members.
It should be noted that in most associations, newly elected board members begin their term immediately once the vote has been concluded.
It is also advisable to schedule an organizational board meeting to immediately follow the annual meeting. In this way officers can be appointed and take their positions without a lapse in leadership.
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