Are you one of those condominium homeowners who has always taken an interest in improving your community? Perhaps you finally decided it was time to make a real difference and become a condo board member. There’s certainly a lot to learn when you’re new to the board, not the least of which is how to run a great board meeting.
But don’t worry! Past board members are often happy to teach you the basics. An experienced condominium management company can also provide you with the guidance you need. For example, your management company can help ensure that you are complying with any Alberta legislation that addresses condominium board meetings.
To help you hit the ground running in your role as a board member, we’ve put together a few general tips for making your meetings run as smoothly as possible.
Make it professional rather than social.
Chances are you already have a few friends on the board. And at an annual general meeting, you’ll see a lot of your other neighbors as well. Nevertheless, it’s important to stick to business at your meetings. Once you allow meetings to become more informal, it’s difficult to bring everyone back on task. In addition, people are creatures of habit, so one unstructured meeting is likely to lead to others. Remember that board members are volunteers, so be mindful of their time.
One way to set a professional tone is to choose a more formal venue. This can be an area in your community room or clubhouse set up in a boardroom fashion—a better choice than someone’s home. Your condominium management company may also have a room available for your meetings. Socializing can take place once your meeting is over, perhaps even in a separate area.
Use a formal, established procedure to conduct meetings.
The Condominium Property Act of Alberta states that “All meetings of the board and general meetings are to be conducted according to the rules of procedure adopted by the board.” In other words, you need to have an established process for discussions and debates that allows everyone to have a voice. Meetings need to be fair and inclusive, and a set of procedural rules ensures that they are. This same Act also requires that condominium corporations convene an annual general meeting of the owners where the board distributes provides an annual financial report and the corporation’s business is conducted. This is usually when new board members are elected as well.
Know the rules about attendance.
Your condo bylaws most certainly require that there be a quorum present at your board meetings. The date of each meeting needs to be announced in advance, as per your governing documents. Your bylaws may also stipulate whether board meetings are open or closed. In some cases, non-homeowners may be invited to a board meeting, depending on the agenda. For example, a vendor may be asked to make a presentation on their service.
Stick to the agenda.
Hopefully you aren’t asking, “What agenda?” Successful board meetings are always preceded by an agenda that is made public before the meeting and is printed out and distributed to everyone in attendance. An agenda makes it easier to stay on track, especially if it follows a formal, established format. Roll calls, approval of the minutes from the last meeting, motions, topics of discussion, and voting should all be included in your agenda. Do not discuss any topics not included on the agenda, and keep your minutes to a minimum. If your meeting gets too long, your board is likely to lose focus.
Keep minutes of your meeting.
Although minutes do not need to be word-for-word recordings, they do need to provide documentation of the topics covered at your meeting, the people in attendance, outcomes of voting, etc. Condominium corporation bylaws require that your board keep minutes of your meetings and make these minutes available to owners. The board secretary is responsible for keeping the minutes, but a condominium board could hire a person to do this for some or all of their meetings.
Board meetings play a critical role in the operation of your condominium corporation. To learn more about how to run a successful board meeting, contact FirstService Residential, Alberta’s leading condominium management company.
Thursday June 30, 2016