Have you attended a Board meeting for a condominium, cooperative, or homeowner association that lasted for what seemed like hours on end? If so, you are not alone. Many communities spend more time than necessary at their board of director meetings. Below are some tips and strategies on how to hold an efficient board of directors meeting.
Have a Clear Agenda
Make sure that the agenda properly indicates which items are set for discussion. Any items previously discussed at a meeting that require further action should be placed under “Old Business.” Any new items proposed by an officer, director, employee, or any other agent should be placed under “New Business.” Member comments and participation are more specifically discussed below.
Do Your Homework!
No, this doesn’t mean you should be reciting your governing documents or applicable statutory materials the night before your meeting. However, directors should review the agenda and any information prepared in advance of the meeting, such as a manager’s report, financial report, or any other contracts requested in advance of the meeting. This will ensure that directors come prepared without having to spend time reviewing such information during the meeting.
Establish Rules on Member Participation
Members are entitled to speak on agenda items at a director meeting. However, the board may establish rules governing when members may comment. Depending on your community, you may find it best to allow comments at the beginning or at the end of the meeting. Alternatively, you may find it appropriate to allow comments when a specific agenda item is discussed. It is important to remember that while members are allowed to comment, it is not a question and answer session with the board.
The board should consider its role to develop policy, and to delegate the task of implementing that policy to its manager, officers, or committee members. Meetings can last too long if directors “get into the weeds” on the details of proposals that can be more specifically looked at by a committee, for example. The manager, officer, or committee can review an item in more detail and thereafter make a recommendation to the board on how to proceed (or move forward with certain actions, if within their authority to do so).
Stay on Task
A board that sticks to its agenda will run a faster, smoother meeting. While discussion of new items is acceptable, it should be limited and referred to a future meeting so that it can be more thoroughly discussed and allow members to know that it is on the agenda.
These suggestions are not all-inclusive, and of course each community is different. However, if your board is having problems holding efficient meetings, you may want to consider implementing some of these strategies. Consultation with your community association manager (if a managed community) is also imperative and will assist with the operations of your community. Finally, any questions regarding the implementation of rules governing member comments, or the notice and agenda requirements for meetings, should be referred to an attorney experienced in representing condominium, cooperative and homeowner associations.