Condo Media - November 2020 - 38

The Region

MAINE

Addressing
Rising
Incivility
Communities Promote
the Civility Pledge
[by Jack Carr, P.E., RS, LEED-AP]

Blame it on COVID-19. Blame it on
politics or the economy. Blame it on
social media. Whatever is to blame,
Maine property managers have noted a
rising temper at condo and homeowners
association meetings this year. Maybe it
will calm down in 2021 when a successful vaccine is widely distributed or when
the nightly news doesn't feature protests
and riots, but in the meantime, what is a
property manager to do to regain civility
at the next general meeting?
Community Associations Institute
(CAI) has recognized this nationwide
trend by attempting to provide guidance to those communities suffering
from this issue. CAI has made a commitment to foster a climate of open
discussion and debate, mutual respect,
and tolerance between members of
condos and HOAs. To that end, CAI
has begun offering a Civility Pledge.
Created by the College of Community
Association Lawyers (CCAL), the
pledge is available on CAI's website,
www.caionline.org. This pledge's goal
is for condo governance to emphasize
listening over prejudging, politeness
despite differences in opinion, and
focusing on the issue instead of attacking the person. Each interested
community is encouraged to introduce
these guidelines to its homeowners so
the community will take the pledge.

38

CONDOMEDIA November 2020

CAI CIVILITY PLEDGE
In summary this pledge requires:

1

All community individuals to be
accountable for their own actions
and words.

2

All community interactions should
be civil despite any differences of
opinion on a particular issue.

3

All community members will
respect all points of view and
will strive to provide a reasonable
opportunity for all to express their
views openly without attacks
and antagonization.

4
5

All community members will
be engaged and informed.

6

All community members are
encouraged to review CAI's Rights
and Responsibilities for Better
Communities document.
An acknowledgement that
these commitments to civility
are vital for a vibrant and
thriving community.

For the board and the community's
property manager to successfully engage
the community and recognize the benefits of this pledge adoption, the pledge
document should be distributed to the
membership with a request for input
from the homeowners and a planned

schedule of adoption. News of the adoption process should be posted in all community communication media, including
websites and bulletin boards. Following
the formal board and homeowners
pledge adoption, the community's
non-binding commitment should be
forwarded on CAI's pledge form.
SUCCESSFUL MEETING TIPS
To make this commitment more visible,
steps should be taken for the next postCOVID general meeting to be more attractive to all attendees. Use this venue
to celebrate the community's successes
by handing out awards, launching new
initiatives, and allowing people to get to
know one another. If the community's
current meeting space is cramped,
splurge by renting a larger space.
Provide door prizes such as donated gift
certificates to local restaurants or popular stores. Also, announce that food and
beverages (potluck or bakery goods)
will be provided following the meeting.
This will not only introduce an element
of fun but also ensure a turnout for a
quorum and delivery of proxies.
The first step in controlling a meeting
is to maintain a system of consistent
rules and policies. Having a prepared
agenda is key to setting the tone. It establishes a chart to navigate through the
presentation of issues, orderly discus-


http://www.caionline.org

Condo Media - November 2020

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Condo Media - November 2020 - Contents
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