Many homeowners and board members – and even managers and attorneys – confuse the different types of meetings that are held throughout the year for community associations. There are two types of community association meetings and there are important differences between the two.
Member Meetings. The members of a community association (the homeowners) conduct their business at an annual meeting and any number of special meetings.
- Annual Meeting. The annual meeting of the members is the time when members elect new trustees, vote on issues, and are informed of certain association business. The association budget may be presented, officers may report on the state of the association, and committee chairs may give updates on their activities.
- Special Meetings. A special meeting of the members would be any other meeting at which the members take some action, usually by voting. For example, a special meeting of the members might be held to vote on a special assessment or to vote on amendments to the by-laws.
It should be no surprise that member meetings are for conducting member business. The board of trustees does not conduct its business at a meeting of the members. While the president of the board may chair the member meeting and the other officers may assist by taking minutes or presenting reports, this is not the time for the board to approve vendor contracts, adopt resolutions, or conduct other board business.
Board Meetings. The association board conducts its business at board meetings which may be public or private.
- Open Board Meetings. An open board meeting is one in which the members of the association are entitled to be present and observe the board conducting its business. All binding votes of an association board – with limited exceptions – must be made at an open board meeting.
- Executive Board Meetings. An executive board meeting is one in which the board members meet without the members of the association present to discuss and vote on confidential matters. The board may also discuss general association matters at a working session board meeting, providing no binding votes are made.
Concurrent Meetings. Boards may find it convenient to meet on the same day as a member meeting or to conduct an executive board meeting on the same day as an open board meeting and there is no reason they cannot do so. While different types of meetings should not be combined into one meeting, it is acceptable to have separate meetings held concurrently on the same date as long as adequate notice and all other requirements for each meeting are met. Additionally, separate agendas should be used and separate minutes should be taken for each meeting.