In the proper course of governing the community, an HOA board has to conduct meetings of all kinds. Using a format to run these meetings insures an orderly gathering and makes sure that all parties have their say in any discussion. Although adherence to a particular parliamentary procedure is not required, it is the method most often used by Boards to discuss business at meetings.
What is Parliamentary Procedure?
Parliamentary procedure is the body of rules, regulations, customs and ethics that govern meetings of various bodies, including clubs, organizations, legislatures and other governing groups. It is also known by parliamentary law or parliamentary practice here in the United States.
The practice of organized law in meetings started in England in the 16th century. The first manual for orderly meetings in the United States was published by Thomas Jefferson. Today the basic standard for most groups is Robert's Rules of Order. These rules govern how a meeting, and the matters being discussed, should be handled.
There are four basic principles to parliamentary procedure:
- Justice and courtesy for all
- One order of business is handled at a time
- Majority rule is adhered to
- Rights of the minority are protected
Why is Parliamentary Procedure Important for HOA board meetings?
As a Board you should have an orderly method to conduct business. There has to be a structure to your meetings. Parliamentary procedure is a time-tested method that insures the smooth operation of meetings and other public gatherings. Don’t be bound by the procedure. Allow enough flexibility to fit your organization.
The goal of parliamentary procedure is based on the theory that the majority makes decisions in an effective and efficient manner while allowing the voice of the minority to be heard. Each member of the Board, or members within an Annual Meeting, should have a right to voice their opinion on any matter.
Without some type of structure to your meetings there would be no efficient way to conduct business. This is why parliamentary procedure is an important tool for your meetings.
A Few Specifics about Parliamentary Procedure
- While most organizations have similar methods of conducting business and ways to vote on that business your HOA board may find it necessary to modify some rules and regulations to fit better within the scope of the board's jurisdiction.
- It may be beneficial for you to familiarize yourself with Robert's Rules of Order. This small handbook, currently in its 11th edition, is occasionally revised, so make sure you have the latest one. The information contained in this book shows you how to handle motions, amendments and other situations that may come up in front of the group. It is good to have someone knowledgeable about these methods of conducting business.
- The more controversial the business before the HOA board the more important it is to follow parliamentary procedure. A better meeting flow is established and all parties can have their say.
- If a meeting has a large attendance it is more critical that some form of parliamentary procedure is followed. If not, a meeting can quickly descend into chaos with nothing getting done at all.
As a group, the Board has to conduct meetings. These meetings have to have some form of order and structure. A parliamentary procedure can be used to run your meetings in an efficient and effective way.
As a member of the HOA board it is important that you know some basic tenets of parliamentary procedure, most easily found in Robert's Rules of Order. This will allow for much smoother business meetings.