Q&A: Wait A Minute?

Our board secretary has included in the minutes of the last meeting a statement that serves her purpose but could lead to serious consequences for the  association. She refuses the board president's request for the taped recording  of the meeting so that he can review the contents for accuracy.  

 —Secretarial Secrets

A “A secretary who is uncooperative and antagonistic at meetings should not be  secretary,” says Robert Rubinstein, an attorney with the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff in Boca Raton. “The business of the association is difficult and time-consuming enough on its  own. No board needs or should put up with a person who interferes with the  operation of the association. If a majority of the directors feel the way you  do about the secretary, then follow your bylaws for calling a special meeting  of the board and set a special board meeting to remove the current secretary  and replace her with someone who is cooperative and helpful. Each association's  bylaws are different, but usually, two or three directors can sign a petition  requesting the special meeting setting forth the purpose of that special  meeting. The secretary, or another officer if the secretary fails or refuses to  do so, must then post notice of and call that meeting. The replacement of the  secretary can also be done at a regular board meeting, as long as whoever  creates the agenda is willing to include that item.”  

 “If a majority of the directors do not feel the same way as you about the  secretary, this procedure is unavailable and you must either put up with the  situation, try to convince other directors to at least ask the secretary to be  more cooperative and less combative, or convince the owners to recall the  secretary from the board. In Florida, the recall process is governed by  statute. Regardless of the procedure, a recall can be a very hostile and  controversial matter that divides the community and should only be undertaken  when necessary for the protection of the association/community. If none of  these other options appeals to you or you do not believe they would work, you  might look in the mirror and ask yourself honestly if the problem may be you  and not the secretary. As Michael Jackson said, ‘I'm starting with the man in the mirror.’  

 “In Florida, the tape recording of the meeting is an official record of the  association and remains so, unless the association erases that tape after the  minutes are approved. Follow the procedure for requesting records to obtain  that tape for listening and/or copying. You can then determine whether the  statement the secretary included in the minutes actually belongs in the  minutes. If the tape is not an official record, then you cannot compel the  secretary to make that tape available for your listening or copying, unless you  are involved is some type of legal action and you subpoena the tape.  

 “However, you do not necessarily need that tape. The board must approve all  minutes. If these minutes have not yet been approved, then what the secretary  created is merely proposed. At the next board meeting when the approval of  those minutes is raised, any director can make a motion to delete the  controversial statement. If that motion is seconded and approved by the board,  the final version of the approved minutes will not contain that statement. If  the minutes have already been approved, maybe they can be amended by the board  after the fact. Under Robert's Rules, this is a motion to amend something  previously adopted. Check your bylaws to determine whether Robert's Rules  applies or whether other parliamentary procedure controls.”      n

 

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Comments

  • Hello,I was travelling on buessins and therefore could not attend the AGM in March. I have left several e-mail messages such as this in the past to try to understand the most basic of information about the Wentworth Resident's Association (i.e. what is the money used for) and the annual $200 fee, but I have never received a reply. When I purchased my home, my builder didn't mention anything about the WRA and an annual fee (there's no mention of this in my purchase agreement) and frankly, it was a complete surprise to receive an invoice for the WRA.Nowhere on the WRA website does it state what the money is used for. I understand that Dundee, the developer, is responsible for certain aspects of neighbourhood upkeep and overall maintenance and I expect that the City also has responsibilities in this area given that I pay fairly hefty property taxes.I would be very appreciative if someone could explain what the $200 annual fee covers and contrast that with what Dundee is responsible for and what the City is responsible for. I would also recommend that a section be added to the WRA homepage to explain what the fee is all about and why it is in place. This would be extremely useful for new residents and I'm sure that a little bit of understanding on the resident's part would go a long way in terms of the WRA's timely collection of the $200 annual fee.Thank you in advance for your assistance. I t would be very much appreciated.All the best,Michael.