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HOA Nominating Committee

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Guest Puffin

Our HOA will be electing five directors but as many as eight candidates may run this year.  The By-laws only state:

A nominating committee of three (3) members shall be appointed by the Board of Directors not less than thirty (30) days prior to the annual member’s meeting. The committee shall nominate one person for each director then serving. Other nominations may be made from the floor.

 

No other guidelines for the committee are provided. 

 

Q:  Can all eight candidates be listed on the ballot or only those five nominated by the committee can be listed? 

 

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After the committee reports, nominations from the floor are taken.  All nominees, both from the committee and from the floor are listed on the ballot.  The voter can then vote for up to 5 candidates.  You might end up with a lot more than 8 people to choose from. 

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George,

thank you muchly, this is quite helpful. I'd like to ask one more question:

How do absentee owners vote? Again, By-laws state:

The election shall be by ballot (unless dispensed with by unanimous consent) and by a plurality of the votes cast, each person voting being entitled to cast his votes for each of as many nominees as there are vacancies to be filled. There shall be no cumulative voting.

Background: For years, the Nominating committee just collected names of the candidates, which were placed on the ballot. Nothing more.  Absentee owners always voted for directors by ballot inserted in an envelope (secret ballots). The HOA attorney told the BOD the envelopes are no longer required (Florida state law which I cannot find) and therefore member's privacy is not protected.  Consequently many absentee owners are reluctant to vote.

For everything else absentee owners voted by limited or general proxies. 

 

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It is possible that Florida has different provisions regarding homeowner associations, but if RONR controls, a vote by ballot means SECRET ballot, whether in person or by mail.  Also, as Mr. Huynh pointed out, RONR prohibits absentee voting of any kind unless authorized in the bylaws (or by superior law, such as state law).  I would ask the attorney to cite the provision of law that he says dispenses with the need for a secret ballot.  RONR has a section  on how to handle mail ballots, both secret and non-secret.

RONR also prohibits the use of proxies unless authorized in the bylaws or required by state law.

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There are no provisions  in Florida HOA laws even discussing ballots.  Our  By-laws have two articles related to Voting.

Article I. Voting - which allows votes to be cast in person or by proxy.

Article III. Directors - which  states that the election for directors shall be by ballot.

I'd appreciate your  opinions. Am truly not clear how absentee owners can/should vote. (see below)

I.   VOTING 

 

(1)  In any meeting of members, the owners of each townhouse unit shall be entitled to cast one vote as the owner of a townhouse unit unless the decision to be made is elsewhere required to be determined in another manner

 

(2) If a townhouse unit is owned by one person, his right to vote shall be established by the record title to his townhouse unit.  ......

 

 (3) Votes can be cast in person or by proxy. A proxy must be designated in writing by any person entitled to vote, and shall be valid only for the particular meeting designated by proxy. It must be filed with the Secretary before the appointed time of the meeting or any adjournment of the meeting.

 

(4) No member shall be allowed to exercise his vote or serve as a director unless he is current on all assessments.

    

ARTICLE III:  DIRECTORS

 

A.     The affairs of the Association shall be managed by a board which shall consist of not less than three (3) nor more than five (5) directors.

 

B.     Election of directors shall be conducted in the following manner:

 

        1.       Election of directors shall be held at the annual members’ meeting.

 

        2.       A nominating committee of three (3) members shall be appointed by the Board of Directors not less than thirty (30) days prior to the annual member’s meeting. The committee shall nominate one person for each director then serving. Other nominations may be made from the floor.

 

        3.       The election shall be by ballot (unless dispensed with by unanimous consent) and by a plurality of the votes cast, each person voting being entitled to cast his votes for each of as many nominees as there are vacancies to be filled. There shall be no cumulative voting.

 

       

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Dear Hieu,

Yes, the proxy voting is allowed by the State of Florida.  I just cannot figure out how absentee members vote for board members. The Assn. attorney seems to have different opinions every year, am sorry to say. This is why I have turned to you for an assistance. In other words,  if you lived in our HOA how would you interpret the voting procedures for directors in By-laws?

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Hieu,

as you can probably tell, interpreting  voting for directors by absentee owners is over our heads and the legal opinions vary. Our HOA has less than 50 units and only  about 25% members- many of which are seniors live-  here full time.

Yes, I totally agree we ought to amend the By-laws written in 1983.

Thank you for your replies.

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52 minutes ago, Puffin said:

Dear Hieu,

Yes, the proxy voting is allowed by the State of Florida.  I just cannot figure out how absentee members vote for board members. The Assn. attorney seems to have different opinions every year, am sorry to say. This is why I have turned to you for an assistance. In other words,  if you lived in our HOA how would you interpret the voting procedures for directors in By-laws?

It appears based on what you have posted that only in-person and proxy voting are allowed.  I see no mention of absentee voting, and I therefore suspect that it is prohibited.

If that's the case then absentee members may not vote, except by giving a proper proxy to someone who does attend.

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If that's the case then absentee members may not vote, except by giving a proper proxy to someone who does attend.

Gary,

good point and voting by proxies for directors was recommended  by our law firm -which is one the largest in Florida  - a few years ago. When questioned, they changed their opinion  and allowed the  absentee owners to vote for directors by ballots (but not secret ballots).  Again, appreciate your response.

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To conclude:

No ballot stating who is nominated by the committee will  be sent out to all owners in the annual meeting packet. True?

Annual meeting:

1. The nominating committee will nominate  5 members.

2. Other nomination will be taken from the floors and added to the ballot.

3. Those present will vote as they wish

4. Those  holding the proxies for absentee owners will vote as they wish

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32 minutes ago, Puffin said:

Gary,

good point and voting by proxies for directors was recommended  by our law firm -which is one the largest in Florida  - a few years ago. When questioned, they changed their opinion  and allowed the  absentee owners to vote for directors by ballots (but not secret ballots).  Again, appreciate your response.

Although several of the forum members are accomplished attorneys, I think they'd agree that lawyers are not always the best source of advice on parliamentary matters.

While they would presumably be knowledgeable on matters of Florida law, I would certainly feel better about your description if, instead of changing their minds after being questioned, they had instead changed their minds after reading your bylaws. 

Also, attorneys do not "allow" things to happen any more than parliamentarians do.  They both provide advice to the person or body that is charged with making the decision.  That likely means your assembly or authorized officer.

If neither your bylaws nor superior law authorize absentee voting, there is little room for alternative opinions on the matter.  And if your bylaws simply specify a ballot vote, there is no reasonable interpretation that the ballot should be anything other than secret.

 

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Am very sorry, I meant to  say

I conclude:

No ballot stating who is nominated by the committee will  NOT be sent out to all owners in the annual meeting packet. True?

Annual meeting:

1. The nominating committee will nominate  5 members.

2. Other nomination will be taken from the floors and added to the ballot.

3. Those present will vote as they wish

4. Those  holding the proxies for absentee owners will vote as they wish

 

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5 hours ago, Puffin said:

Sorry, Gary, I goofed. 

So, which is it?

And, if this is it really, then what does it mean??

16 hours ago, Puffin said:

No ballot stating who is nominated by the committee will  NOT be sent

 

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Gary,

This is how I understand it.  

Scenario 1: 

a. The Nominating Committee will release their report nominating five (5) directors at the Annual Meeting.. 
b. Other nominations will be taken from the floor.
c. All nominated will be listed on the ballot.
d. Those present  in person - or by proxy - will vote for five (5) members.

Scenario 2.

a. The Nominating Committee will release their report prior to the Annual Meeting.
b. The committee report -along with the ballots -will be mailed to all members in the Annual Meeting pocket.
c. At the Annual Meeting other nominations will be taken from the floor
d.  Those nominated from the floor will be added to  the ballot.
e.  Those  present  in person - or by proxy - will vote for five (5) members.

 Note:  There are no guidelines in our bylaws as to the Nominating Committee responsibilities. Traditionally the committee  just listed all members interested in serving on the board.  Nothing more; no evaluation, no report. Nominations from the floor were not taken. Some years, absentee owners  voted either by secret ballot, other years by proxy or even by ballot without an envelope. Evidently, this year- for the very first time since 2000 - the committee will be allowed to nominate only five directors. I was asked to serve on the committee but am reluctant to accept since the current board failed to tell me (and others) what our responsibility will be.

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You say that the bylaws provide that "The committee shall nominate one person for each director then serving."

Although this wording is perhaps a bit awkward, it seems to me that this means that the committee is to nominate no more than five persons, since there are five directors now serving.

 

 

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Preparing a ballot is something else.

Mr. Honemann,

  To date, our ballot just listed the names of nominees and  we checked off the names of members we wanted to vote for.   Please, can you expand if there is more to it? 

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