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Beyond Radburn

Association Voting

It’s been just over two years since the Radburn Law took effect and much has been written about it since. Now that the dust has settled, and associations have had time to incorporate the new regulations it’s time to look beyond Radburn.

With annual meetings coming up for many associations, managers are preparing for possibly the most important event of the year. This can become a daunting and time-consuming process, keeping in mind that all the notice requirements have been met.

Your property management team can be an invaluable resource during the process saving you countless hours and keeping your association in compliance with regulations and the guidelines within your governing documents.

One of the most valuable, and basic, functions they should be providing is managing the administrative work that’s involved long before the meeting:

  • Coordinating timely homeowner communications that not only meet state regulations but provides members with the meeting notice, call for candidate forms if the annual meeting is also their annual election, and an agenda for the meeting.
  • Secure a meeting place with adequate space to accommodate a large number of homeowners
  • Annual Election Proxies/Absentee Ballots delivery
  • Tracking the proxy/absentee ballot submissions
  • …And most importantly, ensuring a quorum is met.

But their job doesn’t just stop with these basic functions.

When I first started working with associations one of the biggest struggles was getting members to attend the annual meeting. Twenty plus years later, this is still the case. And with electronic voting on the horizon, attendance is certain to be even lower however more ballots may be submitted.  What may have worked in year’s past with the typical  “tips & tricks” to boost attendance, simply submitting a ballot doesn’t afford the owners the opportunity to learn about what is going on in the association or how they are doing financially. Creating an environment to reflect the “personality” of the community can help get people in the seats. Would they prefer the evening be a “social” evening or more of a “nuts and bolts, let’s get down to business” affair?

No matter the “tone” you plan to set for the annual meeting, a great way to share what is going on in the community is to have a few community advisors attend. Here are some recommendations I give to all our communities on who should attend the annual meeting who can help boards and management handle any questions that may come up:

Association Attorney. Should any legal issues come up, having your attorney on hand to field questions on the spot will allow homeowners immediate clarity and avoiding “We’ll have to look into that and get back to you later”.

The Finance Team. Both the association’s independent auditor and management financial team should be on hand for similar reasons. While many members may not study the numbers, it’s not uncommon that some members will have very specific questions and are looking for very specific answers regarding the annual audit or the association’s financial position.

Outside Vendors. If your community is planning capital improvements in the year ahead bringing in the vendor for a short presentation and Q&A about the project can go a long way to keeping your members informed about what to expect and to answer any concerns that may come up about the project. This can also alleviate any issues that arise once the project is underway.

When your management company is taking a proactive approach, they’ll be able to coordinate and facilitate the meeting logistics for the board with as little inconvenience as possible, and to encourage participation of the membership with timely and important information about their community.

Please note:  The Radburn Bill may be facing some further revisions, which I will keep you apprised of as soon as there is official word.

 

Tony Nardone MBA, PCAM®

CEO – Corner Property Management

973-376-3925

www.cp-management.com 

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