Robert’s Rules of Order Are Not “The Law” For Association Meetings
By Joseph Adams on April 1st, 2015Posted in Meetings, Operations, Reader Q&A
Question: Our condominium documents do not specifically mention any parliamentary rules or procedures that are to be used in conducting our meetings. Our president says that the meetings must be conducted pursuant to the “Florida sunshine laws.” Does Florida require that meetings be run pursuant to Robert’s Rules of Order, or some other parliamentary procedures? R.P. (via e-mail)
Answer: The Florida Statutes do not require the use of any particular parliamentary procedures or rules. Further, there is a 1960 decision from Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal which holds that Robert’s Rules of Order is not binding or mandatory in corporate proceedings. However, the governing documents for many communities incorporate Robert’s Rules of Order as the applicable parliamentary guide for association meetings.
Robert’s Rules of Order can be very confusing, and is often misquoted. Helpful tips on using Robert’s Rules of Order, including handy charts, are available for free on the website of North Carolina attorney Jim Slaughter, at www.jimslaughter.com. Mr. Slaughter, a certified parliamentarian and immediate past president of the College of Community Association Lawyers, has also published helpful books on parliamentary procedure, including “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Parliamentary Procedure” and “Notes and Comments on Robert’s Rules.” These books are available in most online bookstores.
Regarding to reference to the “Florida sunshine laws,” there are specific rights property owners have at association meetings. All three community association statutes provide that owners have the right to attend board meetings and speak at board meetings with reference to all designated agenda items. Members are also entitled to “participate” in membership meetings.
Further, owners are also entitled tape record or video tape board or membership meetings. The statutes all provide that associations may adopt written reasonable rules governing frequency, duration and manner of owner statements at meetings, and may also regulate the taping of meetings by owners. I have found it a good idea to have such a set of guidelines.