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Innacurate, spontaneous speech by President


Carol marie
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Thanks to two of you who replied to my previous attempt. I finally have a new password and can continue.

To incorporate the two replies, this is a CA HOA and, by statute, all agenda items must be publicly posted 4 days ahead of open meetings of the Board. Our regular listed reports are by the Treasurer, General Manager, and Committees.  We are a board of 7 and the president has voting and debate rights. 

The president did not list a report on our agenda, and her speech was not made during debate. It was after a vote was taken that brought minor grumbling from the 25 or so homeowners in attendance--as observers.  She solely addressed them. I've served on this Board for many years and no president, including me, has every addressed the audience except during Open Forum, when Owners may ask questions--and even then, replies by the president, a director or the GM are very brief. There are no speeches.

She framed her remarks so that they sounded like board  policy. They are not. In addition, she misquoted some financial numbers that led Homeowners to think we are in dire financial shape. We are not. Some new Owners were particularly troubled.

I've looked in my Robert's Rules (11th ed.) to some extent, but cannot find any discussion of this. I think I remember that during the business portion of meetings, remarks should be addressed to the meeting chair or members of the assembly, and no director should try to "play" to the audience. I now think I am mistaken. Is there somewhere in RONR where I can find guidance on this topic? 

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RONR (11th ed.), p. 48, ll. 25, after the vote on a motion is announced:  "[The chair may make a] statement indicating the effect of the vote, or ordering its execution,if needed or appropriate."  It is not appropriate, however, for the chair to make other remarks at this time; he or she should call up the next order of business.

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Guest Who's Coming to Dinner

This would have been a good time to Call for the Orders of the Day. (RONR [11th ed.], §18) You could have interrupted the president with your call and she would have been obliged to get back to the agenda, unless the board voted by 2/3 to set it aside. Assuming she would ignore or reject your call outright, you could have then proceeded to a Point of Order and Appeal, if necessary. Don't let your president crown herself Queen.

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29 minutes ago, Guest Who's Coming to Dinner said:

This would have been a good time to Call for the Orders of the Day. (RONR [11th ed.], §18) 

I have a hunch this president may not have a clue what the orders of the day are or what the call for them means. Carol Marie might have to explain it. :)

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Thank you for the very helpful citations. They are exactly what I need to encourage the president to stay on our agenda. Anyway, in CA HOAs, the agendas publicly posted 4-days ahead of the noticed open meetings must be adhered to except (basically) for emergencies. 

Concerning the other part (I guess) of my question: shouldn't we directors only address the president at open meetings (not the  audience)?  Whom does she address? Would this be better as a separate topic? I'm certain someone whoever familiar with RONR told our Board this quite a long time ago. I did not ask him for his exact source as it made complete sense to me.

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3 minutes ago, Carol marie said:

Concerning the other part (I guess) of my question: shouldn't we directors only address the president at open meetings (not the  audience)?  Whom does she address? Would this be better as a separate topic? I'm certain someone whoever familiar with RONR told our Board this quite a long time ago. I did not ask him for his exact source as it made complete sense to me.

At meetings in strictly RONR-land, a board has the right to exclude anybody who is not a member of the Board, leaving the president with nobody else to talk to anyway.

From what you say CA, has "open meeting" laws so that non-(board)-members have the right to show up and, I presume, watch what is going on.  I'm not a CA lawyer (or any other kind) but I'd be willing to bet that the "open meeting" laws do not give the non-members any right to participate in the board's deliberations.  (But check with a CA lawyer to be sure.)  Since the audience is all non-participants, the only people left for the president, or other board members, to debate with is each other.  And addressing the audience sounds like grandstanding  --  to no parliamentary effect  --  to me.

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Guest Who's Coming to Dinner

In a large, formal meeting, all remarks are directed to the chair. Informal discussion is permitted in the meeting of a small board, however. Whether this extends to chatting with visitors is for your board to decide, as you appear to have done already with the Open Forum.

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My take on this a bit different. Much like city council meetings, with homeowner associations it is quite common,  whether by custom, rule or law, for member homeowners to not only attend board meetings, but to be permitted to address the board and or ask questions at some point in the meeting.

I think it is quite common for the chairman and sometimes other board members to address the homeowners in the audience to.explain to them what is going on. I see nothing wrong with it as long as a majority of the board members have no problem with it. 

If other board members object to it, someone should raise a point of order or the board should adopt a rule addressing the situation. 

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Thank you all again. In CA HOAs, homeowners have the right to attend all open meetings as observers. An Open Forum is required by law and often is placed at the beginning of the meeting. We offer one at that time and one at the end.

It could be the Board's decision to permit Owners to participate; we just such an item on our agenda a year ago, and it was defeated. We occasionally ask the other directors if we might take audience remarks or questions, but this is rare. (Owners in AZ HOAs may contribute for each agenda item). 

The Board could decide that we directors could make remarks to Owners to explain what's going on, but we do take care to introduce topics and state motions so that owners understand them and they do have copies of the agenda.  We've never practiced (in 12 years of monthly open meetings) directing remarks at the audience after a vote. 

The president's recent sudden speech was in my opinion, grandstanding, and it was to entice Owners to her (but not the Board's) stance.  I'll definitely call for the orders of the day if this conduct continues. 

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