Virtual meetings are gaining popularity, even for homeowner associations
It’s hard to believe we are more than halfway through 2020. The first half of the year was undoubtedly unique due to the emergence of COVID-19. For community associations, the second half of the fiscal year brings an additional challenge, preparation for the upcoming annual meeting season during a pandemic. This year’s annual meeting could look somewhat different from your past meetings.
On July 2, 2020, Governor Roy Cooper enacted Executive Order #149. This order allows North Carolina community association membership meetings to be conducted by remote communication and remote balloting. Essentially, it extends Executive Order #136 through August 31, 2020. It is unclear if the order will be extended further into annual meeting season. Due to this uncertainty, community association boards should start planning how to effectively implement their annual meetings virtually in the event an in-person meeting cannot be conducted due to COVID-19.
Based on state statutes and their governing documents, community associations are still required to hold annual meetings. Virtual meetings are an ideal solution.
Tips for Virtual Annual Meetings
- Review your association’s membership meeting notice requirements. This does not change except you will need to include instructions on how to participate virtually. Some virtual meeting options include Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Webex Meetings and Zoom.
- Keep the annual meeting as similar as possible to past annual meetings except for things that require voting (election of board members, budget ratification, etc.).
- If voting is required, it is recommended that a written mail ballot be sent. These ballots should contain a hard deadline for return. Check statutory procedures in North Carolina Nonprofit Corporation Act, Chapter 55A which allows action by written mail ballot. A few notes on ballots:
- The mail ballot is essentially “the business of the meeting.” The number of ballots returned by the provided deadline is what establishes a quorum for the annual meeting.
- Schedule the due date for the ballots to be returned after the virtual meeting has occurred. This will allow for questions to be answered and nominations to be taken from the floor at the meeting.
- Have board of director candidates submit their names for consideration in advance of the written ballots being distributed. This can be done using a candidate interest form.
- We recommend using a moderator when conducting virtual meetings. The moderator assists with reviewing chats, keeping participants who don’t have the floor muted, etc.
- As always, review Roberts Rules of Order and follow them in your virtual meeting.
- If you don’t wish to do a virtual annual meeting, you can simply conduct the annual meeting via written ballots. Include in the package a copy of the budget and ballots for budget ratification and election of directors.
We wish your community a successful annual meeting. If you have any further questions regarding your community association’s annual meeting, we encourage you to reach out to a Priestley Management staff member. Additionally, we encourage you to visit Community Associations Institute, North Carolina Chapter for more information on COVID-19 and how to successfully navigate your community association through the current pandemic.