H.W. from Fairfield County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I have always used Roberts Rules to conduct meetings of all government and condo meetings. Our new President is using something called “President’s Rules”? What is this about? They suspend Roberts Rules at the beginning of each meeting and run wild. What can be done to restore order?
Mister Condo replies:
H.W., while Roberts Rules are the gold standard for conducting condo association meetings, they are not required to be used, so long as there is a vote to suspend their use, which is exactly what you have described here. However, if the meetings are “running wild” as you say and there is a need to restore order, it might make sense for the Board to stick to Roberts Rules to avoid problems. While they are not obligated to use Roberts Rules, they are obligated to conduct the association’s business in good order and to keep minutes of such important items as budgets, elections, and resolutions and rules. It would seem to me that keeping minutes of meetings that been “running wild” would be quite difficult. Also, there is a requirement that a meeting agenda be published prior to the meeting. The Board is bound to act only on items that are part of the published agenda. With or without Roberts Rules they are bound to keep to the agenda. In other words, if the agenda says items A, B, and C will be voted upon and, out of nowhere, a vote was held on a special assessment to fund Item D that was never on the Agenda, any unit owner could question the legitimacy of such a vote and nullify the action taken by the Board.
My advice would be for you to offer your guidance to the current President. Explain that you would like to see him succeed and that Roberts Rules are an effective method of keeping order during the meetings. The current President would be under pressure to accept your suggestion but might be open to the idea as presiding over meetings that are “running wild” is not fun and can be quite demoralizing as the business of the association tends to get handled poorly. If the President accepts your offer perhaps you can help restore order. If the meetings continue to “run wild” you may need to either go with the flow or keep a close eye on how they hold votes and handle the agenda items. Don’t be afraid to cry foul or bring suit against them if they step out of line. All the best!