Condo Media - January 2021 - 22

R

MEETING MANDATES
Richard Brooks, who is a partner at
Marcus, Errico, Emmer & Brooks, has
been representing condominium associations in all their legal needs for almost
30 years. He and Jared McNabb, CMCA,
PCAM, who is general manager of the
nearly 800-unit Brook House Condominium, describe for Condo Media what
it takes to plan and oversee condo association meetings that run on time and
on point, and meet their goals, including
annual owner meetings, monthly board
meetings, and the variously named and
scheduled committee meetings.
DIFFERENT TYPES
OF CONDO MEETINGS
When in doubt about how to set up,
prepare for, or conduct condo association meetings-or even before you
purchase a unit-Brooks suggests consulting the condo documents-sometimes called " the bible. " " We call them
that because they spell out the duties of
the board and how to create this board;
they also specify an annual meeting
date, " he explains.
The main purpose of the annual
meeting, which is open to all unit owners, says Brooks, is to present financial
information and elect board members.
At board of trustee meetings, typically held on a monthly or bimonthly
basis, elected board members meet to
carry out the duties described in the
bylaws; they set the budget, condo fees,
and define rules and regulations such
as for parking, pets, and amenities.
" These meetings can be open - preferably - or closed and are usually attended by the property manager if the
association is professionally managed, "
notes Brooks.
In addition to the above, most larger
condo communities also have a number
of committees that, depending on the
needs of the community, meet periodically to address everything from rules,
regulations, and policies, to grounds,
finance, and elections. " They don't have
any real power, but they do have influence in that they gather information and
bring issues they study to the attention
of the board, " explains Brooks.

22

CONDOMEDIA January 2021

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
McNabb says it's the property manager's responsibility to be sure board
members understand their roles, as
well as why they meet and what they
have the capacity to do. " Too many
times, homeowners want to participate
but don't fully understand the role of
the board. What board members need
to understand is that, in general, it's
a fiduciary role, that they are there to
preserve, protect, and enhance the
community as a whole, and let that
- not their own pet issue - govern all
decisions, " he explains. McNabb says
board members generally run the
annual meeting and their own meetings, but because board members are
volunteers, it is usually the de facto obligation of the condo property manager
to handle the preparations, including
disseminating pertinent documents
and the meeting agenda that make all
the difference in the meeting's success.
Among board members, he says, it is
the secretary - the one responsible for
recording, drafting, and submitting to
the board the meeting minutes - who
generally bears the heaviest load in
terms of generating a crucial document
for meeting success.
McNabb, who now manages a single
property, also knows first-hand what
it's like for property managers going
directly from a day at the office to a
7 p.m. meeting for numerous different
properties. " Most property managers
are portfolio managers for a management company, and a sizable portfolio
means a lot of meetings, which is one
reason there's a lot of burnout among
property managers. It is therefore

very much in the interest of a manager
to keep meetings running smoothly and
on time, " he says.
WHEN MEETINGS FAIL
Both Brooks and McNabb have attended the kind of meetings that give
condominiums a bad name. McNabb
says poor preparation for a meeting
has the potential to hurt the credibility
of both the board and the community.
" When a meeting lacks focus and is
disorganized or out of control, it's hard
to make decisions. This can frustrate
association members and discourage
future volunteers from coming forward
to participate in the governance of
their community. It's hard enough to
get people pulled in so many directions
to volunteer these days, so anything
that harms or discourages people from
participating at a board level is harmful
to a community, " he maintains.
McNabb says beyond respect for
everyone's time, meetings that are not
run efficiently are generally not effective either. As Brooks notes further,
they also may not be legal. " Without
adequate preparation, at best your
meeting can be ineffective, at worst,
illegal when they fail to follow the
correct procedures outlined in the
governing documents. "
GETTING IT RIGHT
McNabb mentions some of the
" tools " that make for meetings that
are more peaceful and predictable.
They include a calendar of the year's
upcoming meetings, an agenda,
and a copy of the minutes of the
previous meeting.



Condo Media - January 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Condo Media - January 2021

Contents
Condo Media - January 2021 - Cover1
Condo Media - January 2021 - Cover2
Condo Media - January 2021 - Contents
Condo Media - January 2021 - 2
Condo Media - January 2021 - 3
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Condo Media - January 2021 - Cover4
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