One of the primary roles of a Community Manager is to schedule, prepare, and help conduct HOA Board meetings. The Property Manager helps keep the meeting on track and moving forward while ensuring that parliamentary procedures are in place and used during any meeting. It is also imperative, as a Community Manager, to know what type of meeting a Board of Directors should call and what can or cannot be discussed. Over the next few blog entries I will do a quick overview of meeting types and what roles they play for an association and its members.
To recap there are about 5 commonly used meeting types:
- Closed meetings; known as Executive Sessions
- Open meetings; known as Regular Sessions
- Work Sessions
- Annual Meetings
- Special Meetings
I will start with Closed/ Executive Meetings.This is the only meeting that is closed to homeowners/members; and is typically only attended by the board of directors or appointed members, Community Managers and invitees such as the attorney or a homeowner appealing a violation or collection issue. Executive sessions are typically called before the start of the general meeting or at the end, but the Board of Directors has the right to call for a closed session at any time during a meeting. According to ARS 33-1248 and 33-1804 the board may close a portion of the meeting to discuss one of the following topics:
- Legal advice from an attorney
- Pending or contemplated litigation
- Personal, health, and financial information about an individual member of the association, an individual employee of the association, or an individual employee of a contractor for the association
- Matters relating to the job performance of, compensation of, health records of, or specific complaints against an individual employee of the association or an individual employee of a contractor of the association who works under the direction of the association.
- Discussion of a member’s appeal of any violation cited or penalty imposed by the association except on request of the affected member that the meeting be held in an open session.
While it is not mandatory to hold a closed meeting for these topics, discussing this information in a closed meeting is recommeneded to protect the Association and protect individual privacy as much as possible. Under no circumstances should any of the following be discussed in a Closed/Executive Meeting:
- Annual Budget
- Assessment Increases
- Contract Negotiations
- Changes in Rules & Regulations
- Financial Decisions
- Improvements to Association property
- Architectural Submissions (unless in a legal status)
- Or any topic that directly impacts an association and its members
Because these topics involve or concern the community as a whole, they cannot be discussed in private or without homeowners/members present. This is where an experienced Community Manager is instrumental; they make sure that the discussions stay on task and follow appropriate guidelines. All Executive Meetings are to be noticed in accordance with state statute and the governing documents and should have separate board packets prepared by the Community Manager. Executive/ Closed board packets typically include:
- Minutes from the last meeting
- A Summary Arrears Report (list of owners with large outstanding balances)
- Legal Collection Status Report
- Small Claims Status Report
- Trustee Sales Report
- Pending Trustee Sales Report
- Pending homeowner appeals (with account/lot printout)
Having a laid out list of tasks ahead of time helps keep the meeting on track and makes the process straightforward for board members to discuss a topic and be able to make decisions in an appropriate and timely manner.
Closed Meetings/ Executive Sessions can, and do, include some of the more sensitive topics and sometimes may be found to be stressful. But with a proactive Board of Directors and an experienced Community Manager these sessions tend to be very productive for the overall good of the community.