Maintaining Orderly Board Meetings Essential to Effective Community Association Governance

Maintaining Orderly Board Meetings Essential to Effective Community Association Governance

By Roberto C. Blanch / Published June 2023

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The community association board meeting is where the rubber meets the road for practically all matters that come before an association and the community it serves. Order and civility are essential for effective meetings, and their erosion will only snowball into growing dysfunction and disharmony.

     The effective use of Robert’s Rules of Order as the general format for association board meetings serves as a solid platform to build upon for successful and orderly meetings. Board meetings adhering to Robert’s Rules generally include a call to order, the establishment of a quorum, a review and approval of the previous meeting’s minutes, new business, old business, and adjournment.

     Some associations also add an open forum for input and discussion from owners in attendance at the meeting, but as further addressed below, efforts to streamline agendas and make meetings more efficient may result in the removal of such an item to the extent it is not required by the association’s governing documents.

     However, following this meeting format is just a starting point. Many factors may contribute to effective and efficient meetings. For example, it has been suggested that the manner in which the directors themselves are seated at meetings may contribute to effective meetings. Some have found it helpful to arrange the board members so they are seated in a “C” formation—with the open end facing the attendees—citing that this seating arrangement helps to avoid the misperception that the board members are only speaking to the unit owners in attendance but not to each other.

     Maintaining civility during interaction with attendees is also a factor to be considered. Directors should avoid speaking and interrupting individuals’ remarks during discussions. Directors and all others in attendance should be mindful of the need to listen attentively to all the remarks, take notes if necessary, and hold their own questions or comments until after the remarks are concluded.

     Agendas should also be crafted in a manner that promotes efficiency. Directors need to remain focused on the agenda items for discussion and avoid straying off topic. Allowing meetings to devolve into discussions of non-agenda items can be a recipe for disorder and confusion, so any important new topics that come up should be set aside and added to future meeting agendas and discussions.

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     Long meetings should also be avoided. Often, directors are overly ambitious with regard to the amount of business they desire to accomplish at a meeting, resulting in meetings that may last longer than many would like and become overwhelming. To limit the length of meetings, directors and managers should avoid lengthy agendas and prepare themselves by reviewing all the meeting materials/presentations beforehand.

     If discussions devolve into excessive and repetitive arguments, it is best to close the debate once all the positions have become clear. At times, it may be more productive to have meetings held more frequently with agendas containing fewer topics for discussion—to provide directors the ability to quickly tend to business while avoiding the risk and frustration of prolonged meetings where it feels business does not get accomplished.

     Association directors should also use reasonable judgement to rein in any misbehavior that may arise. Possible measures and repercussions can include warnings, votes to censure, or ejections for anyone who interrupts, talks over others, or becomes disruptive. With that in mind, in the event that matters at a meeting seem to be heading toward violence or danger, then the board may be advised to adjourn the meeting to prevent a volatile situation.

     Association board meetings should encourage frank, open, and civil discussions of all viewpoints, and not everyone will agree with every decision. In fact, it is expected that association directors may disagree, and there is nothing wrong with board decisions that are reached via mixed votes.

     By establishing and abiding by meeting format and code of conduct rules, associations can effectively avoid disorderly and chaotic board meetings that can sow discord and diminish overall community morale.

Roberto C. Blanch

Shareholder, Siegfried Rivera

     Roberto C. Blanch is a shareholder with the South Florida law firm of Siegfried Rivera who is board certified as an expert in community association law by the Florida Bar. The firm maintains offices in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties, and its attorneys focus on community association, real estate, construction, and insurance law. Roberto can be reached at 1-800-737-1390, via email at, or visit