meeting procedures

See also Index, quorum, and elections.

Anyone who has been to a meeting and felt that something was "railroaded" or took an interminable amount of time to settle, or that the final decision was unclear, knows the importance of procedures in meetings.

There are very few statutes regarding how meetings are to be conducted, therefore an association's governing documents are the primary source for such requirements.  If the governing documents require that Robert's Rules of Order apply to association business (which is unfortunate if this is the case), then the very voluminous provisions of Robert's Rules of Order apply (and hopefully, the association has a parliamentarian on hand).  Otherwise, beyond the requirements stated in the CC&Rs or bylaws, the board may determine in advance what fair and reasonable procedures are to be used.

At meetings, the person that presides over the meeting is the person that enforces the rules and designates who is to speak at any given time.  This person is called the chair (the presiding officer).  The chair may be appointed specifically for the meeting by the board, or more commonly, the person is the president of the association.

Procedures used in meetings should have the goals of achieving (1) fairness, (2) efficiency, and (3) certainty.  That is, reasonable proposals for action should be heard by the body, decisions should be made after hearing the different sides to the argument, and all this should be done in a timely, efficient manner so as to not waste time.  Finally, it is imperative that exactly what was decided is very clear.  Proposals that are voted on should be carefully worded and detailed.

In an HOA context, parliamentary procedures are less important than in many other types of organizations and bodies.  In HOAs, the number of decision makers is small, usually three or five people.  At member meetings, the number of decisions that the members decide is very small, often just one - election of board members.  Thus, the vast provisions of Robert's Rules of Order are a bit much in an HOA context.

Statutes and Cases:

(For reference: 57-8 is the Condo Act, 57-8a is the Community Association Act, 16-6a is the Nonprofit Act)
HOA resources and laws annotated
HOA resources and laws annotated