Often some of the most challenging questions a chair must handle during an annual meeting come from members of the “opposition” who don’t believe the board is being fair to them, and who are afraid their rights will be violated by something that happens at a meeting. When owners take this type of concern to an extreme, they may appear to be conspiracy theorists, convinced that the board and manager are conspiring to deprive them of their rights.
Want to ensure your next election goes smoothly? Just follow these 11 steps.
The annual meeting was one that homeowners in the Long Beach, Calif., community wouldn’t soon forget – and not for good reasons. Registration alone took more than an hour. Homeowner’s didn’t know where to sign in. Ballots were distributed to residents who had already voted by mail. Out of frustration, some people began screaming at the board.
Door Prizes, Proxies Are Used to Boost Annual Elections
While the election format in a condominium community is pretty much the same as for any other club or organization, property managers and board members are looking to make the process easier and increase unit owner participation. Unit owner participation, in particular, can be a challenge as some condos find it hard to get enough members for a quorum at their annual meetings.
To combat low attendance, some community associations are using raffles, or offering prizes –drawing names from returned ballots at the annual meeting, or combining the meeting with a cookout or other social event. Other communities with low attendance are trying to increase proxy voting. And the use of online voting is definitely trending upward as more business is conducted by computer.
Is your annual meeting just around the corner? Begin planning now because successful meetings don’t happen by themselves.
“I’ve seen associations do well, and I’ve seen them stumble with annual meetings,” says Robert M. DeNichilo, an attorney at DeNichilo & Lindsley LLP in Irvine, Calif., who specializes in representing community associations. “The key is preparation. Those who have a checklist and act on it tend to do well. Those who say, ‘Oh, my gosh, we have an annual meeting!’ tend to flounder.”