Board Meeting Agenda Process
We all know that some Board meetings can run longer than necessary. In most cases, though, Board meetings should take no longer than two hours. In order to conduct an effective meeting, you need to start with a concise meeting Board Agenda.
The meeting agenda should be drafted by the community manager and reviewed by the Board President, since it is the President who will be conducting the meeting. At the top of the agenda should be the date, time and location of the meeting. It should also note the type of meeting (regular, special, membership, etc.).
The agenda should begin with a call to order, which is done by the president after s/he has established quorum. Next, the board should approve the minutes from the last meeting or any other outstanding minutes.
Once the minutes are approved, committee reports should be given (management, finance, architectural, communication, etc.) for the benefit of all in attendance. Alternatively, include the reports in the board packet that should be mailed a week or so before the meeting. Board members should read all the board packet material when it arrives, and ask the manager and/or each other any questions immediately. At the meeting, only action items listed in the reports would be discussed rather than spending time reading or summarizing the report contents.
After the reports, the business portion of the meeting is typically divided into unfinished business items and new business items. Some communities prefer to break down the business into maintenance categories such as recreational, structures, repair items etc. The individual business items should be listed in order of importance because, as the meeting goes on, there is a tendency to spend less time on each topic. Alternatively, experts suggest placing issues that have unanimous support at the beginning of the agenda to set the momentum for the rest of the meeting.
If the Board desires, or state statute requires, meetings that are open to the residents, it is recommended that an open forum for all interested owners be held after the business portion of the meeting. The reason for placing the open forum toward the end of the agenda is to give owners the opportunity to listen to community issues facing the board, the content of which may address their specific concern.
An item that should be at the end of every agenda is a review of the actions to be addressed before the next meeting. This assures that everyone is clear about the decisions made and who is assigned what task. Finally, the board should set its next meeting date before adjourning the meeting.
One way to control the length of the board meeting is to use a timed agenda. To do this, the preparer of the agenda should note the actual start time next to each heading and then provide an estimate of how much time each entry should take. A timed agenda will allow the board to re-focus on the agenda if a discussion is outside of the scope of the agenda or if participants simply become verbose.
The meeting agenda, along with any other meeting information, should be given to board members at least one week prior to the meeting date. This allows time to review the material prior to the meeting. A well-prepared Board will result in a more efficient and effective meeting.