My HOA is run by amazing women who give tons of hours of time to our little neighborhood HOA. They do it all!
Unfortunately in the past, there have been some vocal folks who dispute votes or … well, let’s just leave it at that. Because of this, we’ve recruited a stellar parliamentarian to help keep us all in line. She takes incredible meeting minutes and owns Robert’s Rules like a boss. Here are a few ways you can help your secretary take useful HOA meeting minutes and protect yourself from any legal issues or disagreements.
- Collect a list of attendees. Sign in sheets or an iPad with a spreadsheet works well. Make sure that you record the names of any board members in attendance as well as any other guests like attorneys or proxy’s. (Recognize new members too and note who wasn’t in attendance. Note the time, date, and location.
- Stay focused! Keep record of the events that happen at the meeting, rather than emotions, debates, or opinions. Instead, describe the motion that was made, for example, who seconded, and any conclusions, abstentions or dissentions that were reached. Don’t forget motions and other actions that may not have been passed by the board.
- Do take notes about whether expert reports or other research was presented to the board and what action was taken. Include these in anything you post on your community website.
- Don’t take notes on owners’ specific conversations or comments.
- Stick to the agenda. Don’t forget new business and old business action items. Note times throughout if you wish but be sure and note the time the meeting adjourned.
- Make sure you clean up and post your minutes as soon as possible after the meeting.
- Channel your high school English teacher and use a shorthand that you are comfortable with. Some journalists, for example, don't write any vowels in words but that takes years of practice. Use & instead of 'and' and throw spelling and grammar out the window! You can always go back and correct.
Think of minutes as a reflection of what happened, rather than something for the newsletter. Save the resident engagement, good news, and plans for spring block parties (that you planned in your HOA meeting) for the community newsletter or bulletins. Happy note taking!