Dear Parliamentarian Vol. 105 December '04
Dear Parliamentarian Vol. 105 December '04
Answers to your Parliamentary Questions
"Dear Parliamentarian" is written by the author of Parliamentary Procedures Made Simple: The Basics, an 80 minute video that tells how to have better meetings.
Boyce & Jane Jones wrote:
Do you have or can you refer me to a web address for a typical Home Owner Association Covenants and bylaws?
Boyce A Jones, President
Saddleback Ridge Homeowners Association
Here's an article I found about it:
Question: I serve on the board of a homeowner association and was cautioned not to interpret the meaning of our bylaws or the state and local laws that apply to homeowner associations. I felt like I need a magic decoder ring. Am I getting good advice?
Answer: The board has the duty to enforce the bylaws and is not expected to be an expert in the law according to the "Business Judgment Rule". The Business Judgment Rule protects the board as long as decisions are made based on reasonable research, expert advice and no conflicts of interest.
From time to time, however, it is wise to consult with a knowledgeable attorney. Some older documents may contain provisions that violate current federal or state law, like restrictions against children or zoning ordinances. Many governing documents lack structure, are difficult to read (too much legalese) or lack a table of contents. If so, it may be time to redraft them to make them more user friendly. A knowledgeable attorney (defined as one who specializes in this kind of law) can be invaluable in redrafting the documents. Do not attempt amending the documents alone. Even if the board performs the rewrite, always have a knowledgeable attorney review the work before approving and filing. When hiring an attorney to do the work, ask to see a sample of their work. The last thing you would want is another set of undecipherable documents.
Another area where bylaw interpretation gets critical is in the case of potential litigation. If the association is being threatened with a lawsuit, it's time to get a legal expert. Even though the bylaws may provide for recovery of legal costs, when a judge and jury is involved, this is not a given, and the association may not win. In many such cases, compromise is the prudent path and the board often needs outside perspective to get to that point.
The governing documents are the constitution of your homeowner association. Treat them with the respect they are due. When you aren't clear on a point or if they need updating, get expert advice. You can keep your secret decoder ring for Captain Marvel messages.
For more information on this subject, see www.Regenesis.net.
Ask The HOA Expert
Finding Homeowner Association Fee Fairness
Annual Homeowner Association Maintenance Review
The 3 Rs of Homeowner Associations: Rules, Regulations & Resolutions
How To Fight Dryrot in Homes, Condos and Co-ops
Ask The HOA Expert
We have a section about homeowners associations on our web site <parli.com> A google search reveals a good web site which covers this <http://www.regenesis.net> The covenants should be something that is individualized for your association and so should the bylaws. The problem of copying others governing documents is that they might not fit your individual needs. An attorney might be helpful for the covenants. We were not very happy with the attorney we hired to help us with our revision. In writing bylaws, may we recommend that you hire the services of a registered parliamentarian. This person knows what needs to be in the bylaws and is trained in writing
Walter H. Rehling wrote:
Under Roberts Rules of Order can a member of a Board ( in this case a 5 member board of county commissioners) elected to office by the public, place his or her own name in nomination for Board President? To my knowledge there are no written guidelines on how the president is nominated. Normal practice has been that Board members nominate one or two board members as candidates for President and then the full board votes. The situation has just come up were two members nominated themselves for this position? Any guidance you could provide would be appreciated.
Yes, if the organization has no rules prohibiting this. This is admissible. On page 178, of Robert's Rules of ORder Simplified and Applied, it states: "A person can nominate himself or herself." In your particular case, unless the bylaws preclude self nomination of officers for the presidency of the board, then is is allowed.
Sid Regehr wrote:
I have not found a reference in Roberts R.of O.:Simplified and App. reguarding the procedure to recall or remove an officer. I would appreciate any reference you might suggest or a brief note.
Thanks for the new book.
There is more thorough coverage of this in the standard 700 page "Robert's Rules of Order" 2000 ed. Removal of an officer requires a 2/3 vote (p. 388) and will depend on what your bylaws say for the exact procedure ( pp. 642-643).
In our book, Robert's Rules of Order Simplified and Applied," see page 324, Section 5. Removal from office.
Laurie Leslie wrote:
A resolution to rezone a piece of property was brought up in a county commission meeting 9 months ago. No motion was made, so no action was taken. Under what circumstances can that resolution reappear in a county commission meeting (9 months hence)? Was it considered to have died or to remain unfinished, and in either case under what circumstances can that resolution reappear in a county commission meeting?
Since no motion was made, and it evidently just appeared as an agenda item, then it can be brought up anytime thereafter --even nine months later as new business.
Tom Kennelly wrote:
we are trying to find information on Atwood's rules for voting using secret balloting. Could you please help in finding the information.
It is on p. 291. It says "When you want to have secrecy in voting, the method to use is by ballot." A member says, "I move that we vote on this question by ballot." It takes a majority vote. If it passes, the Chair appoints tellers to count the votes and report to the Chair. In small meetings, one or two tellers may be sufficient.
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