Streamlining Meetings: Demystifying Robert's Rules
Washington Metropolitan Chapter Community Association Institute's one-hour webinar, Demystifying Robert's Rules, Dec. 17, was fast paced and well presented by Ruth Katz and Jeremy Tucker, attorneys with Lerch, Early & Brewer, Chartered. The content was full of suggestions designed to streamline the meeting process and especially helpful for those of us who are members of smaller boards of 12 or less. I took lots of notes and am looking forward to making strides in getting all—or most—of our business attended to while enjoying the relaxed and streamlined process.
Here are some suggestions I found especially helpful as board president:
Before the Meeting
- Board packets delivered before the monthly meeting will help me develop the agenda. How much time will we need for discussion, voting on issues, management plans for board decision and items I need to add to the agenda?
- Last month's minutes will remind me what "unfinished," not "old," business items to add to the agenda.
- Are committee chairs planning to report? Only call the ones who wish to speak.
During the Meeting
- Motions: In smaller meetings, these do not require a second.
- Unanimous consent: Noncontroversial motions (i.e. agenda adoption, minutes approval, motions to adjourn, etc.), where clearly everyone agrees to approve, may be handled by asking for objections and, hearing none, declaring the motion adopted.
- Discussion is OK even when no motion is pending, but limit the time each speaker has.
- Unfinished business: Simply state the motion that requires a vote and then proceed.
- New business: This is the formal process and all main and secondary motions apply.
- Minutes of executive sessions, while not for publication, provide a valuable history for dealing with difficult issues the board discussed in private. Be sure to include any board decisions in the minutes of the executive session.
I was impressed with the content and presentation of this material and look forward to attending more CAI webinars in the future.
The chapter would like to thank National Realty Partners, AAMC for serving as platinum sponsor. In all, 44 members and nonmembers learned how to conduct meetings that are more effective.
Carol Ragsdale has lived at the Schuyler Arms Condominium in Washington, D.C., since 1991 and served for 10 years as secretary of the Schuyler Arms Condominium Association before becoming its president in 2011. Along with her dedication to maintaining the comfort and value of their home, she looks for creative ways to increase owners' involvement in the association.
This article first appeared in the March 2014 Quorum, the magazine of the Washington Metropolitan Chapter Community Association Institute.