Removed Presidents, The PUD Myth

Removed Presidents, The PUD Myth

Dear Mr. Richardson, The president of our HOA was recently removed as president (with no explanation and at an unposted meeting) but she is still on the board, referred to as director at large, with no duties. Someone said she is not eligible to vote in that capacity. Is that true? J.K., Murrieta Dear J.K., The president, as with any officer position within the board of directors, normally serves at the pleasure of the board, under Corporations Code 7213(b). Check your HOA bylaws to be sure. Usually there is one section for “board of directors” and a different section for “officers.” You probably will find that officers are appointed from within the board. So, one could be removed by the board from one’s officer position – but being removed from an officer position is different than being removed from the board. Normally after losing one’s officer position one is still a board member. The board does not need to state a reason for changing officers, because no “cause” is needed. However, changing officers should be accomplished during an open meeting with the minimum 4 days agenda notice. Some boards mistakenly consider this a “personnel” matter and so handle the decision in closed session. However, in this context, “personnel” means employees of the association. Thanks for your question, Kelly Kelly, I live in a PUD as I was told. Why do you say there is no such thing, and California has planned developments? B.K., Sun City  Good morning, In an earlier article you stated that California has only planned developments not PUDs. Our manager swears that we are a PUD....
Open Forum: When Do WE Speak?

Open Forum: When Do WE Speak?

Hi Kelly, Thank you for helping people understand HOA laws! Civil Code 4925(b) states “The board shall permit any member to speak at any meeting…” (executive sessions excluded). You wrote in a past column that “members may observe board deliberation, but the law does not give members the right to participate.” This appears contradictory to 4925(b). Which law were you referring to that disallows member participation at the board meeting? I.S., San Diego Dear I.S., There is a big difference between addressing the board during open forum and participating in the board’s deliberations of agenda items. Nothing in the Open Meeting Act supports the notion that members participate in board discussions. If homeowners had the right to participate in board discussions, why would open forum be necessary? Open forum is important because members do not have the right to interrupt board deliberations, and the open forum statute guarantees that members can always have a time to speak to the board about issues important to that member. I often see meetings in which members are allowed to talk during deliberations. When homeowners are allowed to interject, question and even argue with the board, the result usually is chaotic and longer meetings. To argue with the directors, get on the board! Best regards, Kelly Dear Mr. Richardson, Our board won’t let us defer our open forum to another homeowner knowing that they have something of value to say. They absolutely said “you can’t do that.” Is this true? C.S., Anaheim Hills Dear C.S., Civil Code 4925(b) gives any member the right to speak, subject to reasonable time limit. If the board...

New Year’s Resolutions [Part 3] – The Manager

As the association’s professional manager, I resolve to Number one: Follow the Golden Rule. Attitude check: Remember I am a professional, and will give the board the best advice I can. I am not employed to be silent. Strive to give the board the answers it needs to hear, regardless if it is the answer the board hopes for. Avoid reacting defensively to upset homeowners, and will make sure they are informed as to the “whats” but also the “whys.” If the board disregards my advice, I will document it in writing to the board. Not attempt to give specialized advice, but will refer the board to the appropriate specialized professional. Try to please all, while knowing that I can’t. Be knowledgeable: Pursue professional designations and attend seminars to keep me up to date. Be prepared at any board meeting to explain significant deviations from budget. Understand the Business Judgment Rule, and confirm the board has sufficient information to make each decision. Encourage my board members to join the Community Associations Institute, knowing educated boards are better boards. Better board meetings: Protect the board from overly long or disorganized meetings. Create agendas with consent calendars to quickly handle non-controversial items. Alert the board when an agenda is too ambitious. Become comfortable with the fundamentals of Roberts Rules of Order. Help the board stay on topic and on agenda. Alert the board if it is handling matters in closed session which should be in open session. Bring the HOA governing documents, including all rules, to every meeting. On each agenda item, be prepared to provide a recommendation or recommend retention...
Unruly Meetings or Meeting Rules

Unruly Meetings or Meeting Rules

Other than the overall condition of the common areas, one of the first opportunities for associations to make a positive impression upon new members is at meetings of the board of directors. Where does a new owner learn how board meetings are conducted? No law requires associations to have meeting rules, but such rules can be extremely helpful to attendees and the board. Much of the rules may be derived from statutes (Civil Code 4900-4955, aka Open Meeting Act) but the statutes do not answer all questions. Topics which could be covered in meeting conduct rules could include: Who can attend board meetings? This is not an academic question. Under the Open Meeting Act, only members have the right to attend open meeting sessions, but what about tenants, non-owner spouses, attorneys, children of owners, and service providers? The rules can confirm if anyone else can attend. What is the order of business the HOA board usually follows? A model agenda can be included in the rules, to inform HOA members about the order in which things happen in board meetings. How is open forum handled? Is it at the beginning or the end of meetings? Can the board vote to have a special open forum on a limited issue during the meeting? What is the time limit on owner remarks? Reasonable guidelines on open forum will be helpful. What behavior is not permitted in board meetings? Meeting rules should contain clear boundaries of behavior, boundaries which no reasonable person would defend. Rules should spell out what is not allowed, and help keep order during board meetings. If someone disrupts...

The Open Meeting Act: A Checklist

The Open Meeting Act is a law within a law, found within the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act at Civil Code Sections 4900-4955. A common misconception is that common interest developments are subject to the “Brown Act” (located at Government Code Sections 54950-54963), but it only applies to the “legislative body,” meaning public or publicly controlled entities. The HOA “Brown Act” is the Open Meeting Act, which now is extensively detailed regarding association meetings. The apparent aim of the Act is valuable – to make the governance of associations more open and accessible to members. Here are a few of the more common violations of the Open Meeting Act. Discussing items not on agenda Civil 4930 bars boards from discussing non-emergency subjects unless announced on a posted/published agenda at least four days prior to the meeting. There are some narrow exceptions to this rule, but a frequent problem the reluctance of a board to wait until the next meeting to handle a new issue. If it truly cannot wait four days, it may be an emergency. Otherwise, hold off. Your agenda is probably already full for the meeting, and some delay gives management time to gather information and advise the board. Unknowing board meetings Per Civil 4090, any time a quorum of the board is at the same time discussing any association topic, that is a “board meeting”, triggering the Open Meeting Act. When three of five directors happen to be at the pool, or attending a committee meeting, and any of the directors speaks, it then becomes a “board meeting” under this statute. Email deliberation Email is so...