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Ask the HOA Expert: Procedure For Voting In Person And Voting By Proxy

Question: At our annual meeting, the procedure for voting in person and voting by proxy was different. Those who attended the meeting registered by signing in. Proxies were only counted if the signature on the form matched the signature of record. Is this standard procedure?

Answer: Presumably, whoever was monitoring sign-in recognized the members who were signing in. Signatures on proxies could be forged by someone trying to manipulate the election. While this is not common, it is a good idea to verify the identity of both attendees and proxy signers to make sure there is no election fraud.

Question: Does the board president have more authority than the other board members?

Answer: Yes, the president does have the authority to make decisions on behalf of the board as long as those decisions are in keeping with the approved budget, governing documents, established board policy/procedure and state statutes.

Question: Is it permissible for the board to convene a “brainstorming session” simply to talk as long as no decisions are being made?

Answer: Theoretically, it sounds okay but brainstorming generally leads to decision making. And the board needs to be careful about perception. If these sessions happen too often, it will appear that they are merely being called something other than a meeting to circumvent being open to members.

Question: At a recent board meeting, the president tried to pressure the management company to quit. He accused the manager of stealing and worse. None of this was announced to the other directors before hand who were caught by surprise. Does the president have the authority to fire the manager?

Answer: No. Something as important as hiring and firing a management company should be decided by the entire board, possibly with input from the owners. It appears that your president is somewhat of a tyrant and not given to communicating or cooperation. I doubt much will change until there is a change in president.

Question: We have just formed a number of committees, some ad hoc (short term) and some standing (long term). One of the standing committees we have not yet activated is called “Governing Documents Committee”. We are rethinking the wisdom of this committee as some members have “agendas” that they will likely try to impose to change the declaration, bylaws and rules.

Answer: All committees should have specific marching orders from the board. Otherwise, you’ll probably get something you didn’t want. Governing documents are complex and must adhere to state statutes. While it’s fine to make recommendations, it’s up to the board to decide if they are worthy and, if so, it’s up the HOA’s attorney to determine if they’re legal.

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