Homeowners’ association or HOA board meetings can get touchy pretty fast. Minor points can take up too much bandwidth, and the loudest people are not always the best informed. Meanwhile, serious needs can go unaddressed while the fabric of the community is all too easily frayed.
If this is a concern of yours, you have plenty of company. Here are some ideas that others have used to help support professionalism and progress at HOA board meetings.
Disagreement happens. Here’s one vital technique to ease the friction. Ask the property manager to offer recommendations, without siding with any of the parties in disagreement. Then, you can discuss how they have played out in other communities. The board chair should ensure everyone’s points go on record, and encourage movement to the next agenda item if an impasse cannot be resolved.
This strategy depends, of course, on having a clear agenda. An HOA board can set time limits for each item, and write the agenda with that timetable included. Then, stick to those limits. A well-planned agenda equips directors with a structure to guide the meeting wisely. Further, it provides a framework for courtesy from all attendees and their representatives.
Everyone should reasonably assume that the HOA board meeting will stay on track and conclude on time. Frayed nerves usually aren’t soothed by lengthy evening sessions.
What about the board member most likely to get too into the details and drag the discussion on? What if there really is no way to address the controversy within the meeting time and pay proper attention to all the perspectives needed? If this is how things play out despite the best-laid agenda, the president must make a decision about the best way to address the issue.
Think about whether forming a subcommittee or task force makes sense. It could be the best way to give the matter the attention interested owners demand, while keeping the meeting on track, civil, and properly led.
Your state law provides the answer to this, and it varies by situation.
For the answers, consult state law. Take Florida, for example. There, the law allows closed meetings where the matter involves discussion between the board or board committee and the HOA’s attorney, and the question involves a legal claim or pending litigation. Or it can involve board discussions on personnel matters.
(This means the answer to both of the above-posited questions, at least in Florida, is no. Board members are elected directors, not personnel. And contract discussions aren’t included in the allowances for closing a meeting.)
Consider dedicated software for your HOA board. A board focused on using a single portal for its work is less likely to send accidental emails. Other human errors that trigger or complicate delicate situations are also reduced. And dedicated software allows for carefully tailored agendas, schedules, and anonymous or public voting.
Want to know how your HOA board of directors and staff can be more productive and efficient through the use of technology? With Boardable’s board portal, you can centralize board information and communications, where everything (and everyone) is just a couple of clicks away. Click below to get started with Boardable.