As a board member of your HOA, you will find it worthwhile to schedule these events to solicit input from your homeowners… guidelines will also enable you to steer the direction of the discussions and to keep agenda items on schedule.
Once in a while, national, state, local, or community issues will necessitate an HOA homeowner forum. Town halls, annual meetings, and board meetings are valuable opportunities to enable homeowners to voice their concerns and get answers to pressing questions about how these issues will be handled within the community.
As a board member of your HOA, you will find it worthwhile to schedule these events to solicit input from your homeowners, whether there is a specific issue on which opinions may differ, or to gain a consensus about the direction for many of the decisions your board will need to make.
We offer the following steps and guidelines for board members to share with homeowners in advance of homeowner forum meetings or town halls, through an association newsletter or website. These guidelines will also enable you to steer the direction of the discussions and to keep agenda items on schedule:
Notify the association manager in advance of the meeting that you will be attending the board meeting and would like to speak about an issue. If you choose, you may briefly state your position on the issue in your notification.
If you need more than five minutes, please put your comments in writing. Include background information, causes, circumstances, desired solutions, and other considerations you believe are Important. The board will decide whether to make your written summary an agenda item at the next meeting.
You may be asked to sign in and provide your contact information. You will be called in the order you entered. This also allows the board to contact you if they need further Information and to report back to you with an answer.
The homeowner forum is an exchange of ideas, not a gripe session. If you are bringing a problem to the board’s attention, we would like to hear your ideas for a solution, or a process you believe would be instrumental in arriving at a solution.
Only one person may speak at a time. Please respect others’ opinions by remaining silent and still when someone else has the floor.
Each homeowner will be allowed to speak no longer than five minutes. Please respect the volunteers’ time by limiting your remarks.
You may want to conclude your notice by setting realistic expectations. A phrasing we recommend is as follows:
“We may not be able to resolve your concerns on the spot, and we will not argue or debate an issue with you during the homeowner forum. We usually need to discuss and vote on the issue first. But we will answer you before—or at—the next board meeting.”
By having proper guidelines in place, homeowners will respect the purpose and process for having their concerns heard and addressed. These suggestions will help to avoid a contentious and non-productive session, and will optimize the potential for a consensus solution or path forward from any serious problems.
Vice President of Onsite Operations, CMCA®, AMS®, PCAM®
37 Years of Community. Well Served. (www.cmamanagement.com)
Headquartered in Plano, Texas, CMA has three regional offices and numerous onsite locations providing contract management services for more than 250 residential and commercial communities, and more than 97,000 individual units.
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