ANNUAL MEETING OF MARCUS POINTE HOA IN PENSACOLA
NO ANSWERS -- NO ELECTION
Opinion By Jan Bergemann
Published March 5, 2011
We always hear that annual meetings of homeowners' associations don't attract many owners, nobody wants to run for the board and many meetings don't even achieve a quorum.
What if the crowd is waiting in expectation of electing some new board, only to be told that only one seat is up for election -- all other 4 board members' terms are not up yet?
Can you imagine that the owners were up in arms when they found out that they are not getting answers and no election takes place?
There are often reasons why owners don't want to go to these association meetings. They are often a waste of time, nothing gets achieved and the board doesn't want to hear what the owners have to say anyway. Especially HOA annual meetings with elections become more and more unpopular. The lack of proper election rules and lack of possible enforcement of the few rules in existence discouraged many owners. Add the fact that in many HOAs the high number of non-paying owners makes it difficult to achieve a quorum anyway.
present felt more and more uncomfortable with the made-up rules that would seriously impair their right to speak -- one of the main reasons for them to attend this meeting.
The rules about owners' input continued with: "The board will only answer question that pertain to the covenants, issues the board has control over. The board will not get into any negative discussion over the golf course etc.." The audience took all these statements in stride, until Wilson continued with: "We will not answer any questions that are negative, you know -- that are outside this meeting."
That finally caused Barbara Little, a homeowner who happens to be an attorney, to speak up and explain to Carol Wilson that there are Florida statutes that have to be followed [FS 720.306(6)]. That chapter of the statutes is headlined: RIGHT TO SPEAK. [VIDEO]
After lengthy discussions about nominations from the floor, which clearly showed that the board was absolutely unprepared -- and incompetent -- to deal with these issues. Questions from the floor suggested that 4 seats should be up for election. Elected for 3-year terms is obviously too hard to figure out -- maybe some folks can't count to three, like 1-2-3? Neither the INVITATION nor the AGENDA to the annual meeting specifies procedures for the election of the board of directors or the number of seats open for election.
The big question: "How many slots are there?" Response President Carol Wilson: "We have not verified it. If it isn't there it will be corrected." Solution of the board: Retreat! Election postponed. Shouldn't that all be sorted out BEFORE the invitation for the annual meeting with election is mailed out instead of wasting everybody's time? [Watch the VIDEO]
If the board fails to inform the owners about simple rules, like expiration terms of board members, or identifying the number of open seats before asking for nominations, any meeting has to end in disaster. Looking at the faces of the board members after her speech?
Let's say the board members were definitely speechless.
Answer to some very hard questions: "The meeting is adjourned!" [VIDEO]
Another evening wasted due to the incompetence of a homeowners' association board. Why should homeowners attend useless annual meetings that waste everybody's time and money?