If you own property in an HOA, you know there are several types of association meetings that take place throughout the year. These are board meetings, annual meetings, special meetings, executive meetings, and committee meetings. And, of course, other types of meetings may pop up from time to time. While each type of meeting has a specific purpose, the business conducted and who attends these meetings can vary. This blog post will discuss the different kinds of HOA meetings and what goes on at each.
Board meetings are held at regular intervals (usually monthly or quarterly) and are attended by the board members, the community manager, and sometimes community members. In these meetings, the board goes over things like the association's operations, financial state, policies, maintenance issues, and other problems that need attention. The community manager often attends board meetings and assists the president with developing the agenda. Board meetings are conducted per the association's bylaws and should follow Robert's Rules of Order, the widely-accepted "go-to" for parliamentary procedure. Following Robert's Rules allows the process of conducting association business and making decisions to be handled in a format that makes room for open discussion and thorough deliberation of each issue. Can owners attend board meetings? It depends on your governing documents and state statutes, but it's recommended that boards hold an "open session" at some meetings so members can ask questions and voice opinions.
Annual meetings are an important part of the community association's operations, especially since they only happen yearly. These meetings allow association members to vote on new board members, hear updates from the board, get a report on the association's financial status, and hear about the budget for the upcoming year. Annual meetings are open to all owners in the community, and owners typically must be given a 30-day written notice before the meeting. The annual meeting is also a time when the board may present any large-scale issues, upcoming projects, and future plans for the community that will affect the membership. Community-wide meetings keep everyone informed and engaged and are an important part of the democratic process that helps to ensure communities are run effectively and efficiently. In order to conduct business, a quorum is required, which can be a struggle if there is a lack of engagement within the community.
Executive sessions are private meetings held among board members only. Legal matters, employee-related discussions, or disciplinary actions should always be addressed in executive sessions. Minutes from executive sessions are taken, but they're generally not provided to association members. Therefore, executive sessions should be used sparingly and only when necessary. If board members find that they're holding executive sessions too frequently, it might indicate that something is wrong with how the board operates. In that case, it may be time to consult your community manager to look for some solutions.
Special meetings for an HOA are typically called on short notice to address a pressing issue. For example, if there is an approaching hurricane, these meetings may be held to discuss how the property will be prepared. Alternatively, if another disaster has occurred, such as a fire or flood, these meetings may be held to discuss how repairs will be handled. Since there may not be time for advance notice, these meetings can take place over the phone, in person, or online, depending on the urgency of the situation and as required per the bylaws. Ultimately, these meetings provide a forum for addressing immediate concerns and ensuring everyone is on the same page and ready to handle the impending crisis.
Committee meetings are held periodically to discuss and handle committee-related business as authorized by the committee charter. These meetings may be conducted like open board meetings, with the committee members and board members in attendance. However, service providers or other association members may also be present depending on the community's size and the issue at hand. For example, if it's time for the architectural review committee's meeting, those who have submitted ARC applications may want to attend. Committees themselves, and thus committee meetings, are important because they allow board members to focus their attention on the business aspects of the association while still getting input from those affected by their decisions.
While meetings can be a drain, an association can strategically use them as a tool to greatly benefit the association. When a contentious issue is on the horizon, creating a forum for members to ask questions and get answers can allow the board to fully explain an issue, listen to concerns, and gather feedback. Some neighborhoods find great value in holding regular townhall style sessions in addition to the annual membership meeting. Most importantly, meetings must be business-like, ensuring equitable treatment for attendees and members, respectful congregation and discussion, and the ability to accomplish the objective.
Community association meetings are necessary to maintain a harmonious, democratic HOA. By understanding the different types of meetings and what they're for, you can ensure that your community's meetings run smoothly and efficiently. And, of course, if you're having trouble getting your meetings to go as well as they should, reach out to your community manager for Trusted Guidance.
In business for over 31 years, CAMS is North and South Carolina's premier community management company. With experienced local managers in each of its nine regions, CAMS is dedicated to providing innovative solutions to the community associations it serves. Additionally, CAMS was featured on Inc. Magazine's 2022 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America. To learn more, visit www.camsmgt.com/choose-cams
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