Running an Effective Board Meeting

What can a board do to conduct meetings in an efficient manner that allows all the appropriate discussion to take place and allow the board to consider its work in an orderly fashion? The first step in effectively running a board meeting is to adopt and utilize procedures that assist the board to efficiently run and control its meeting. A board meeting which is organized will run smoothly and conduct the business of the association and yet effectively communicate the position of the association on various matters to the membership.

A challenging aspect of community association board meetings is how to actually conduct the meeting. Generally speaking, there is little statutory guidance or document-specific provisions explaining how a board should run a meeting. As a result some boards struggle with this aspect of association management, either not meeting frequently enough, or allowing too much discussion (by both board members and homeowners) so that a meeting, convened to allow the board to conduct the business of the association, effectively turns into a town hall meeting which lasts far too long into the evening.

So what can a board do to conduct meetings in an efficient manner that allows all the appropriate discussion to take place and allow the board to consider its work in an orderly fashion? The first step in effectively running a board meeting is to adopt and utilize procedures that assist the board to efficiently run and control its meeting. A board meeting which is organized will run smoothly and conduct the business of the association and yet effectively communicate the position of the association on various matters to the membership. Here are some tips and suggestions to make board meetings run more smoothly and efficiently:

Continue reading “Running an Effective Board Meeting”

What Should be on Your Agenda

Planning and conducting an effective board meeting starts with a good meeting agenda. The agenda is the “road map” of the meeting and is a useful and powerful tool to keep both board members and homeowners on topic and in control. In fact, the agenda must be part of the notice of a meeting which is provided to the members in advance of the meeting. A good agenda will facilitate a smooth, efficient and effective board meeting. The following are elements of a meeting agenda and descriptions of relevant items:

Planning and conducting an effective board meeting starts with a good meeting agenda. The agenda is the “road map” of the meeting and is a useful and powerful tool to keep both board members and homeowners on topic and in control. In fact, the agenda must be part of the notice of a meeting which is provided to the members in advance of the meeting. A good agenda will facilitate a smooth, efficient and effective board meeting. The following are elements of a meeting agenda and descriptions of relevant items:

1.  Executive Session

The executive session may be held before or after the open session board meeting, or at another time not related to the open session board meeting, depending on the business needed to be discussed or the respective availability of your directors, attorney and/or any participating members. Because the executive section portion of a meeting is confidential, a separate agenda for the executive session part of the meeting should be prepared to outline the topics the board will discuss in the closed session. The Davis-Stirling Act limits the types of items a board can address in executive session to the following:

  • Legal Issues. Discussing legal issues in executive session preserves the attorney-client privilege, and allows the board to discuss litigation strategy and settlement strategies for current and potential litigation matters with its legal counsel. The association’s attorney does not need to be present either in person or by phone for the board to meet in executive session to discuss legal issues.
  • Formation of Contracts. Boards may consider matters relating to the formation of contracts with third parties.
  • Disciplinary Hearings. Boards should meet in executive session for all disciplinary hearings. The accused member is entitled to attend the executive session for that portion of the meeting dealing with the individual member’s hearing.
  • Personnel Issues. Personnel matters which include, but are not limited to, hiring, firing, raises, disciplinary matters and performance reviews, if applicable to the association.
  • Payment of Assessments. Boards may meet with members in executive session to discuss requests by delinquent members for payment plans.
  • Foreclosure. Pursuant to California Civil Code section 1367.4(c)(2), the decision to foreclose must be made by a majority of the board in executive session.

Keep in mind that since January 1, 2012, members must be given notice of an executive session meeting. In order to comply with the new notice requirements, notice of an executive session meeting must be given as follows:

Continue reading “What Should be on Your Agenda”

Time to Update Your CC&R Cover Sheets

AB 887, which was signed by Governor Brown in October of 2011, provides civil rights protection on the basis of “gender identity” and “gender expression.” It also amended California Government Code section 12956.1 to require Community Associations to place the following, in at least 14 point boldface type, on a cover page or stamp on the first page of their CC&Rs:

I recently received a question regarding AB 887, and its impact on community associations. AB 887, which was signed by Governor Brown in October of 2011, provides civil rights protection on the basis of “gender identity” and “gender expression.” It also amended California Government Code section 12956.1 to require Community Associations to place the following, in at least 14 point boldface type, on a cover page or stamp on the first page of their CC&Rs:

While this requirement does not apply to anyone submitting a document to a county recorder’s office, it does apply to any association who “provides a copy of a declaration (CC&Rs) to any person.” “If this document contains any restriction based on race, color, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, familial status, marital status, disability, national origin, source of income as defined in subdivision (p) of Section 12955, or ancestry, that restriction violates state and federal fair housing laws and is void, and may be removed pursuant to Section 12956.2 of the Government Code. Lawful restrictions under state and federal law on the age of occupants in senior housing or housing for older persons shall not be construed as restrictions based on familial status.”

So, what this means for community associations is that it is time to update the coversheet or stamp on your CC&Rs to include the new language. In addition, while it is unlikely a set of CC&Rs contains any language which discriminates on the basis of “gender identity” or “gender expression,” if any such language exists in an association’s CC&RS or rules, that language should be removed. Pursuant to California Civil Code section 1352.5, boards are required to delete discriminatory restrictions, and can do so without obtaining the approval of homeowners.

Click Here to download a cover sheet which complies with the requirements of AB 887.

Governor Brown Signs Second Electric Vehicle Charging Station Bill

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed the Electric Vehicle Charging Station “clean up” bill, SB 880. The measure corrects the various issues created by the bill’s predecessor, SB 209 which authorized such installations, but had constitutional flaws.

CAI’s California Legislative Action Committee reported today that California Governor Jerry Brown has signed the Electric Vehicle Charging Station “clean up” bill, SB 880. The measure corrects the various issues created by the bill’s predecessor, SB 209 which authorized such installations, but had constitutional flaws.  SB 209 also conflicted with existing law that requires ⅔ of HOA members to approve designating common area as exclusive-use area for an individual’s station; that conflict is resolved by SB 880.

SB 880 takes effect immediately as an emergency measure, and amends sections 1353.9 and 1363.0 of the Civil Code. The bill would makes those provisions applicable only to the installation or use of an electric vehicle charging station in an owner’s designated parking space, and also provides that any provision in an association’s governing documents that is in conflict with those requirements is void and unenforceable.

The bill also authorizes the installation of a charging station for the exclusive use of an owner in a common area that is not an exclusive use common area only if installation in the owner’s designated parking space is impossible or unreasonably expensive. However, the bill would authorize an association or owners to install a charging station in the common area for the use of all members and would require the association to develop appropriate terms of use for the charging station.

Additionally, the bill authorizes the board of directors of an association to grant exclusive use of a portion of the common area without the affirmative vote of the members of the association for the purpose of installing and using an electric vehicle charging station in an owner’s garage or designated parking space, under specified circumstances, such as when the installation or use of the charging station requires reasonable access through the common area for utility lines or meters.

Click here to read the complete text of SB 880.

Governor Signs Bill Putting End to Actions Without Meeting

As many directors and managers already know, the time it takes to successfully run an Association can be significant. One of the tools that Board’s have often used to efficiently handle issues that were not the subject of debate has been the Action Without Meeting, or “AWOM”. Well, no more.

As many directors and managers already know, the time it takes to successfully run an Association can be significant. One of the tools that Boards have often used to efficiently handle issues that were not the subject of debate has been the Action Without Meeting, or “AWOM”. Well, no more. California Governor Jerry Brown has now signed, bill SB 563 which becomes effective January 1, 2012, and amends the Open Meeting Act to eliminate a Board’s ability take action without a meeting.

In addition to eliminating the AWOM, SB 563 also requires that members of the association be given at least two days notice for a meeting that will be held solely in executive session, and changes the rules for holding a meeting via teleconference. Under the new law, if a Board meets via teleconference, the Association must specify a physical location where members can attend in person and listen to the meeting. In addition, at least one Board member must be physically present at the identified meeting location.

Lastly, Boards will be prohibited from acting via email with the very limited exception of emergency meetings. Emergency meetings may be called “if there are circumstances that could not have been reasonably foreseen which require immediate attention and possible action by the board, and which of necessity make it impracticable to provide notice” as would otherwise be required. However, before a Board can hold an emergency meeting via “electronic transmission” all members of the board, individually or collectively, must consent in writing to that action (the consent can be transmitted electronically, such as in an email), and the written consent or consents must be filed with the minutes of the meeting of the board.

Read the full text of the new law here.