P.M. from Hartford County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I am a new HOA President. Who can present a Motion in a Board of Directors meeting? Is it Board members only? Or can Unit Owners also make motions? If only Board members, how does a Unit Owner get a Motion on the floor?
Mister Condo replies:
P.M., welcome to the world of community association governance! Congratulations on becoming your Board president. I hope you find it a fulfilling experience. Associations have different rules on how motions are made so let me speak in generalities. You should review your particular rules of governance to address the particulars of your association. Board meetings are generally restricted to Board members for making motions and voting on measures. Homeowners are allowed to attend and observe quietly. If the Board has an open period for homeowner questions, it is usually at the beginning of the meeting and homeowner comments are usually limited to just a few minutes. The Annual Meeting is the place for homeowners to participate more fully and cast their votes on major items such as the Annual Budget and the election of Board Members. Generally speaking, the agenda for the meeting sets the topics that will be discussed and where motions will be made. It is quite common for an agenda item to include a discussion on a particular topic followed by a motion from a Board Member that the item be voted on. If a unit owner had an item of such great importance that it needed discussion and a vote before the Annual Meeting, they should be encourage to speak with a Board Member who they voted for in advance of the meeting so the Board Member could propose the measure and ask for a vote. The Unit owner might be present at the meeting and might even be called upon by the Board for further explanation of the item if necessary. However, unless your documents say otherwise, it is highly unlikely for a unit owner to even speak at a Board meeting, let alone propose a motion for discussion. It is also paramount that any item that will be voted upon be published in the agenda for all homeowners to be aware of before the meeting. Otherwise, on a more controversial issue, homeowners could claim the vote is improper because notice of the vote was never given. A properly prepared agenda assures that important business items are discussed and voted upon. It also allows Board members to come to the meeting prepared for the meeting’s business. Hope that helps!