Rules of the Road for Productive Board Meetings
Those of us who specialize in community association law spend a whole lot of time at HOA board meetings. Based upon experience, I can tell you that how well a meeting is run can make a world of difference in the amount of business which gets accomplished and whether the interactions at the meeting are constructive. While board meetings are open to members and they are encouraged to attend, it’s important to remember that these meetings are held for the purpose of conducting important association business.
I’m a huge fan of boards blowing the dust off and utilizing their HOA’s Conduct of Meetings Policy. This is one of the 9 required Responsible Governance Policies which HOAs are required to have under Colorado law. (These policies are commonly referred to as the “SB 100 Policies”). A well written Conduct of Meetings Policy will address the procedures utilized to promote productive meetings in the member meeting and board meeting settings. A well written policy should also address the ability of homeowners to speak in an open forum and prior to the board taking formal action on a matter.
Because most residents of HOAs do not want to flip through a Conduct of Meetings Policy during an actual meeting, I have boiled down a few of the major concepts into what I call Board Meeting Rules of the Road. I encourage the boards I work with to have a copy at their side and to hand them out to everyone in attendance at a board meeting.
Board Meeting Rules of the Road
● Do not speak until you are recognized by the Chair.
● While the Board is conducting business, please do not interrupt the deliberations of the Board.
● Prior to the Board taking formal action on an issue (after a motion is made and seconded), a reasonable number of Owners will be allowed to speak for and against the issue.
● Every Owner who wishes to speak will have an opportunity to speak one time during the Open Forum.
● Be respectful of the fact that other Owners may wish to speak and do not monopolize the floor or take up unnecessary time.
● Please do not interrupt someone who is speaking.
● Please do not repeat issues that have already been addressed by someone else.
● Please refrain from personal attacks and be respectful of everyone in attendance.
● Please do not raise your voice or use profanity.
As you will notice, most of the Rules of the Road are really just about good manners. By boards and residents following these simple rules, I think you will find that board meetings will be more productive, efficient and constructive.