J.H. from New Haven County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
We have a Board Secretary who does a very good job transcribing the notes that are recorded during the meetings, but rarely attends a meeting. When she initially ran for the Board she stated that she would be able to attend the morning meetings even though she had a full-time daytime job. After a few meetings, she said she could not attend daytime meetings. I give her credit for continuing to transcribe the minutes, but this is not fulfilling the responsibilities of a board member. She is now coming up for re-election this summer. Can we deny her the right to run for the Board based on her lack of attendance? I see no information on Board Members attendance in Roberts Rules.
Mister Condo replies:
J.H., there may be no requirements of attendance in Roberts Rules but that doesn’t mean a Board Member, regardless of position, should regularly miss meetings. However, this is a perfect example of democracy in action with regards to how the body of unit owners will handle this person’s candidacy come Election season. Also, your own governing documents (not Roberts Rules) may have clauses on absenteeism and ability to serve on the Board.
Aside from being what sounds like an awesome Board Secretary, this Board member has a duty to attend Board meetings to cast votes on association issues. You can’t do that if you are not there. While the function of the Secretary to keep accurate Minutes and handle association correspondence may not require this individual to be at the Board meetings, the function of voting Board Member is being missed entirely. That is where the disservice to the members of the association comes into play.
Your bylaws may be silent on the matter as well. Some by-laws state that missing two or three consecutive Board meetings is grounds for dismissal from the Board. Some by-laws state that absence from 25% or 50% of the Board meetings is grounds for dismissal. Many say nothing about attendance, which may be your situation. If so, the Board can adopt a measure that adds the requirement or they can do nothing, which is my advice.
When your annual election for Board members comes up next, provided there are enough volunteers ready to run for office, the unit owners should be made aware of this Board member’s attendance record and make a decision on whether or not they want this individual to serve on their Board. Her past attendance may not be indicative of her future attendance and she should have the opportunity to state why she wishes to continue serving on a Board where she never votes. Chances are she will be voted off the Board, which is bad news for the Board who will need a new Secretary and may be hard pressed to find one as diligent, but great news for the association who needs a thoughtful, voting member in attendance at Board meetings to represent their best interests at future Board meetings. All the best!