- Secretary Duties you are here
- Though not required, the Executive Board members would compliment their fiduciary responsibilities with one or more of following:
- Windows or Apple/Mac Operating System
- Word or Pages
- Mail Merge
- Excel or Numbers
- Avery Labels
TIP: equipment & software is not Cloverdale’s responsibility. Paper & ink is reimbursed for Cloverdale business.
- Most important – the Secretary (as well as the Members) should be able to recall pertinent points required by the governing documents when there is a question.
The following secretarial requirements have been developed over the years; some are a requirement of our governing documents, while others have evolved to provide important information and encourage interaction with the whole of the Membership.
Formatting and layout are at the discretion of the Executive Board.
Reference Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions
Executive Board Section 23.1 – Minutes of Executive Board Meetings.
The Executive Board shall permit any unit Owner to inspect the minutes of Executive Board meetings during normal business hours. The minutes shall be available for inspection within fifteen (15) days after any such meeting.
It is the duty of the Cloverdale Secretary with the members of the Executive Board to provide the following:
Reference Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions
Section 24.2 -Notice.
Notice of every such meeting will be given not less than 24 hours prior to the time set for such meeting, by posting such notice in a conspicuous location in the Common Interest Community, except that such notice will not be required if an emergency situation requires that the meeting be held without delay. (Cloverdale has yet to experience a meeting without delay.)
12-Month BULLETIN BOARD located to the left of the out-going mail. This board has one individual key and no padlock. The date (MM/DD/YYYY) of every post must be visible, typically at the lower right corner of the posted page.
- Fiscal Year Executive Board & Committees – the list must include position title, first & last name, telephone, e-mail & HOA website
- ALERT – Annual Dues
- Dates: Board Meetings & Annual Meeting, time, location
BULLETIN BOARD located to the right the mail box cluster. This glass enclosed board is keyed the same (a step ladder is very useful to access these two boards).
- The date (MM/DD/YYYY) of every post must be visible on the posted page.
- Each Meeting Announcement – must be posted no later than seven (7) days prior to the meeting
- Special Information Announcement(s) – as needed
- Event Announcements – as needed
- Annual Meeting Agenda, Notice and Location – appears no earlier than thirty (30) and no later than fourteen (14) days prior to the Annual Meeting
- Election of Directors – after the Annual Meeting
- Election of Officers – after the election of the officers.
RESPONSIBILITY FOR MONTHLY MEETINGS
- Reserve the meeting room – unlocked 30 minutes prior to a bi-monthly meeting. After the meeting, the room must be returned to the way it was found and securely locked.
- Provide printed minutes of the previous meeting and Annual Meeting. A sufficient number should be printed so all in attendance have their own copy.
- Provide an attendance sheet & pen/pencil at all meetings. Must include enough space for printing the attendees name, lot number, telephone number & e-mail address.
- Always have available a directory and map at all meetings.
- Always have available a recording device and paper/pen at all meetings.
- Contact all officers seven (7) days prior to all meetings for confirmation and other information relative to that meeting. There will be circumstances beyond your control; a calm demeanor concerning any issue is paramount.
- Reading of the previous meeting’s minutes must include any corrections spotted or specifically stated accepted as read. A motion to accept the minutes as read with or without corrections is required and must be seconded. The Secretary cannot make this motion or second the motion.
- The ARC Chairman will present his/her approval document(s) and then turn them over to the Secretary for the record. The ARC Chairman preserves all originals.
- The Treasurer will present his/her financial statements(s) and then turn them over to the Secretary for the record. The Treasurer preserves all originals and an Excel or Numbers Database. The treasurer’s data is not in the public domain. Copies of the financial statements are not circulated among the attendees at meetings with the exception of the Annual Meeting. Attendees certainly may take notes and/or record the meeting with out comment or question.
- There will be times when one or more of the Executive Board calls on an attendee for a response – this is acceptable and must become part of the minutes.
- Attempt to attend County Meetings and report back the issues relative to Cloverdale and surrounding areas. It is not mandatory to attend these meetings – it is constructive and of great benefit to Cloverdale Homeowners. Specifically Urban Growth Boundary (UGB), Annexation, Public Sewer & Water, PATH, Cottage Industries, etc.
- Represent Cloverdale whenever possible at meetings of Professional Membership – (1.) Eastern Panhandle Organization of Homeowners Associations and (2.) Community Associations Institute – Washington DC Chapter.
RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANNUAL MEETINGS
- Cloverdale’s insurance is with Nationwide in Charles Town. A current liability certificate must be obtained every year for proof to the Jefferson County Board of Education to rent the location. This certificate is paramount – the location cannot be rented with out it!
- The Executive Board must approve the following documents the Secretary provides during the August preparation meeting held on the second (2nd) Tuesday. (These documents are in the final print-ready form – corrections can be completed and then mailed out without another preparation meeting.)
- FY Directory
- Proof of Notice
- General Proxy w/FY Watermark
- Proposed Line Item Budget to be ratified (this particular budget comes from the Treasurer after the Executive Board chooses from the three (3) to the members for consideration.)
- Year-In-Review Newsletter OPTIONAL (not always available and can be mailed with the Annual Meeting packet, invoices, or separately in the future)
- Any approved document(s) the Executive Board has voted on collectively for the Annual Meeting.
- After the August preparation meeting closes the next 3 weeks are the busiest time for the HOA Secretary. The following must be completed and post marked not less than 14 days prior to the Annual Meeting. Provide a receipt to the Treasurer for materials reimbursement including postage.
Reference Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions
Section 17.5 -Budget Adoption and Ratification.
Within 30 days after adoption of a proposed budget for the Common Interest Community, the Executive Board shall provide a summary of the budget to each unit Owner, and shall set a date for a meeting of the unit Owners to consider ratification of the budget not less than 14 nor more than 30 days after mailing of the summary. Unless at that meeting a majority of all Unit Owners reject the budget, the budget is ratified, whether or not a quorum is present. If the proposed budget is rejected, the periodic budget last ratified by the unit Owners continues until the unit Owners ratify a budget proposed by the Executive Board.
- Mailing the Annual Meeting Packet must include all approved documents from the August preparation meeting.
TIP: when using mailing labels include the lot number – it is by far easier to confirm the total inventory against the Directory of homeowners that will be receiving the packet.
REQUIRED: Proof of Notice – one individual envelope exactly matching the Homeowners’ packet must be addressed to Cloverdale HOA (tip: use lot number 000 (three zeros)). As Secretary this proof of notice must be opened at the Annual Meeting.
THE ANNUAL MEETING
- Registration lists in alphabetical order for homeowners, this will include name, address, lot number and a block area to check off for a valid PROXY. (a valid PROXY will be the one that was mailed in the Annual Meeting packet, printed in color and containing a FY watermark. It should be filled out and presented with the Homeowner’s information and must be signed)
- Election Papers for voting – provide two colors, one color for PROXY and one color for attending HOMEOWNER. The election papers must be sufficient in quantity in that a second or third vote can be taken. At minimum 272 papers of each color.
- Agenda – additional to the mailed directory in the Annual Meeting packet. This is not a requirement but a courtesy request from the Executive Board so the attendees may follow along.
- Directories – additional to the mailed directory in the Annual Meeting packet. This is not a requirement but a courtesy request from other homeowners who would like a second directory. Or when a directory was not available for the Annual Meeting packet it must be available at the Annual Meeting – in this case the Secretary will also be sure those who did not attend receive one in the regular surface mail.
- Newsletters – when available they should be printed in sufficient quantity for the Annual Meeting or they can be surface mailed at a later date.
- Minutes – the last Annual Meeting minutes – printed in sufficient quantity so each member has their own. You must announce that these minutes have NOT yet been approved or accepted prior to reading aloud.
- E-Mail sign-in sheets in alphabetical order – most homeowners prefer e-mail, the Executive Board also e-mails important broadcasts when required. You must announce that e-mail addresses are not sold or provided to any third party. E-Mail is not a requirement.
- Seven (7) duplicate sets containing the Minutes, Agenda, and other pertinent papers for each Executive Board member.
- Coffee/Donuts – typically the Nomination Committee is delegated by the Board to take care of the refreshments. Several Homeowners volunteer each year to participate. The Secretary and/or the Treasurer preserves the records/receipts for this phase of the Meeting. (There have been some years when the Annual Meeting included a pot-luck luncheon. While in other years prior to or after the Annual Meeting a full outdoor picnic & bar-b-que is prepared by the Homeowners and open to everyone. This particular activity had always been productive, informative, educational as well as meeting fellow Homeowners. Of late, these last few years after the Annual Meeting is completed many of the Homeowners in attendance go to a local restaurant for a Dutch-treat lunch and share their experiences of being a Homeowner in Cloverdale and what they learned at the Annual Meeting.)
- At the conclusion of the Annual Meeting all papers, proxies, ballots, directories, agendas, minutes, registration sheets, e-mail sheets and other remaining documents/records are returned to the Secretary.
Other activities for meetings:
(very rarely initiated at Cloverdale meetings, none since September 2000)
- Should a member of the Executive Board make a motion for an Executive Session all attendees less the Executive Board must leave the room if the motion is seconded. The Secretary must include in the minutes the name of the person who made the motion, the name of the person who seconded the motion, what is the subject, what time the Executive Session started and what time the Executive Session ended and that the regularly scheduled meeting resumed. Minutes are not recorded during an Executive Session. There are no votes during an Executive Session. All determinations are made during regularly scheduled meetings.
HOMEOWNER HEARINGS – appeals, delinquencies and other disagreements
ONLY the homeowner and the Executive Board must be in attendance.
- DELINQUENCIES: Treasure initiates Annual Dues Invoices. When the treasurer reports to the Executive Board that no payment has been received from one or more Homeowners or there had been no contact from one or more Homeowner, a Notice & Hearing is initiated with a scheduled date and the Secretary must record the actions.
- Notice & Hearing is sent by (1.) certified registered mail and (2.) surface mail to the delinquent Homeowner.
- Typically the Homeowner telephones or sends an e-mail; they make agreeable arrangements and stop the action of a Hearing.
- When the Homeowner does not reply to the Notice & Hearing the Executive Board proceeds with the scheduled date. (It is not uncommon to have one member of the Executive Board contact the Homeowner to alert them or have a conversation to understand what may be an embarrassing financial problem and at that time resolve the issue.)
- The Executive Board and the Homeowner meet and discuss the issue, typically it concerns the lack of and/or difficulty for payment of their Annual Dues. Minutes are taken. These minutes are exclusively a matter of record and must be preserved in the case of legal action, should it get that far. These minutes are not public. Or there is no contact at all, no resolution to the delinquency, the Homeowner ignores all requests from the Executive Board – sadly, the next step is filing a lien on the property of that particular Homeowner.
- As recent as August 2011 requirements/mandates by Federal Law specifically addresses contacting delinquent homeowners
The following information is from and by Mrs. Tammy McWilliams of Trump & Trump Law Offices – Cloverdale has retained her legal services for collecting a multiple-year past due account of one of our homeowners in Cloverdale:
While collecting past-due assessments is a necessary job for homeowners associations, there are some things that can’t legally be done, according to attorney Tammy McWilliams of Trump and Trump LC.
“Unfortunately, you’re going to find out that by being in this position, you are also going to have to be a debt collector so there are certain rules and regulations you need to follow – especially when you begin to get all kinds of reasons and excuses from homeowners about why they are not paying their annual assessment,” said McWilliams, who spoke at the recent West Virginia Community Association Day.
“You go to see them and they’re not going to open their door because they know why you’re there and they’re not going to come talk to you over the fence. … At the end of the year, you may feel like you don’t have any friends left,” she joked, adding that collection efforts can be most difficult when the economy is down.
However, both the federal and state government have adopted legal provisions mandating what can – and can’t – be done to collect these assessments, she said.
“You are a debt collector, and the law is going to treat you that way,” McWilliams said.
As a result, it’s important for HOA officials to know they are subject to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act with regard to homeowners’ assessments, McWilliams said. Its purpose is to stop abusive practices by debt collectors, she said.
“So in reality, as long as you’re fair, equitable and reasonable in what you do you’re not going to be the target of this act or become the subject of a lawsuit,” McWilliams said.
State officials followed suit and passed the West Virginia Consumer Credit Protection Act, which defines a debt collector, she said.
“You’re an association and you’re in person so you’re going to get hit potentially twice if you’re the one making that call. Just talking about it over the street or a fence and you fall within this definition, you’re trying to collect a debt,” McWilliams said.
It also defines debt as it relates to property or a home, she said.
Prohibitions include threatening any violence or harm to anyone – including their reputation, McWilliams said.
“You can’t say ‘I don’t understand why John is not paying, it make[s] me feel like going over there and socking him for being such a dead beat.’ You can’t vocalize those concerns. If you want to go into executive session, when the board is trying to decide whether to pursue further legal action, that’s one thing,” she said.
“But once you leave that board room, there should be no further discussions like that with him and not with others. … You also can’t use profane language. And you also may not [publicly] publish a list of owners who refuse to pay, yet how many of you have had newsletters that have gone out in your community that say ‘the following lots still have outstanding dues,’” McWilliams said.
Although one HOA representative said the community’s documents require that delinquent owners be included in the annual minutes, McWilliams advised against publishing those names or information.
Not complying with the law can come at a price because “violations of the act carry some very steep penalties,” she said.
It’s also important to follow the law because there is an “ever increasing body of knowledge out there about how to stop the debt collectors and to take them to court,” McWilliams said.
“In fact, when they finally get a lien filed against them, they begin getting brochures in the mail from businesses and entities that want to sell them products to tell them how to get back at you when they are the one who haven’t paid,” she said.
This text was published 9/11/2011 in the Martinsburg Journal by Jenni Vincent, staff writer for then Section-B Homeowners Associations which was published each Sunday.
# # #2010-2011 President, Rob Roge’r and Secretary Nance Briscoe attended an HOA Workshop at Shepherd University and had the opportunity to interact with Mrs. McWillams, Ms. Vincent and a host of several Homeowner officers from Berkeley, Morgan and Jefferson County.
The Community Associations Institute (CAI), the Eastern Panhandle Organization of Homeowner Associations (EPOHOA) and Property Management People (PMP) have been instrumental most recently with participation as an educational resource to HOAs in the eight-county area of West Virginia. Ms. Vincent will be providing articles in the Journal in an effort to reach out and share information; she too lives in an HOA. Perhaps Ms. Vincent may return to a meeting in Cloverdale in the future to experience our transparency and ease of working things out with our homeowners.
provided by Nance Briscoe
not a definitive set of duties
UPDATED September 19, 2016 – Nance Briscoe, webmaster