Determining what to talk about during every board meeting can feel a bit overwhelming. Since each HOA is different, the items discussed at every meeting will vary. Add to that the fact that state law requires that meeting agendas be posted four days in advance in a public place designated by the association’s annual disclosure, and the pressure mounts to lock down the agenda.
However, before looking at the individual agenda times, it’s important to have a general understanding of the two key components of the meeting.
The Executive Session
These closed-door meetings must be noticed two days in advance and are limited to just board members and invited members. They usually take place immediately before or after the open meeting. During the executive session, the board is tasked with handling three sensitive topics:
- People/personnel, including violations, delinquency issues, lien filings, etc.
- Contracts or formation of contracts
- Association-related legal issues
To protect member confidentiality and attorney/client privilege, the minutes from the executive session never become public. However, HOA boards must share in the general session the overarching topics that were discussed during the executive session.
The General Session
This is what most people think of when they think of an HOA board meeting. To promote transparency, state law requires that all of the community’s non-executive session property management items be addressed during the open session. Here are the six things that every HOA board meeting agenda should include:
- Homeowner forum — This is an open forum where HOA members receive a short window of time (usually 3-5 minutes) to raise any topic they would like to bring to the board’s attention. It’s not an open discussion session, so questions from the board should be kept to a minimum, and by law, no decisions can be made during this time. If the issue is something that the board needs to address, the property management representative will add it to the following meeting’s agenda. Additionally, homeowners also have the option of mailing their statement to the property manager, who will read it aloud during the homeowner forum. This is a useful option if a homeowner is unable to attend the meeting.
- Consent calendar – The consent calendar is a way for the board to approve routine motions in a single vote. These are the standard approvals that fall under the category of routine property management, including meeting minute approvals, financial approvals, and committee reports.
- Old business – These are things that have been tabled from a previous meeting. Old business includes issues that need further research or require additional time to reach a decision.
- New business — These are the new items that have recently been submitted to the board for consideration (items from the previous meeting’s homeowner forum or new maintenance projects, for example).
- Committee reports — Reports from the HOA’s various committees (ex. landscaping, events, architectural committee) regarding the progress of specific projects and initiatives.
- Management reports – Includes a review of the association’s financials, architectural filings, and other issues specifically related to the HOA/management company relationship.
Whether in the Executive Session or the General Session, the agenda is always the backbone of the board meeting. The property manager keeps a running list of the items that should go on the next board meeting’s agenda to make sure that everyone’s time is used efficiently and that the board is always moving forward with decision making. With a clear agenda in place, the process of HOA governance becomes much more straightforward.