Association Committees provide important services to the condominium owners augmenting board member capabilities.
Florida statute §718.103(7) defines a Committee as “a group of board members, unit owners, or board members and unit owners appointed by the board or a member of the board to make recommendations to the board.”
The committees of the Association can be placed in one of two categories. The first category is one where the committees are purely advisory and have no authority to actually carry out specific functions. These advisory committees help analyze problems, review facts, gather information and alternatives, and submit their conclusions as recommendations to the board or to the president of the Association.
The second category of committees is one in which the committee is vested with authority to carry art or to exercise a portion of the board of administration’s responsibility. For committee to have the authority to act and carry out duties, the committee must be created by the articles of incorporation, the bylaws of the Association or by a resolution which is adopted by a majority of the full board of administration. This committee, which is normally referred to as an executive committee, consists of members appointed from the board itself. Individuals not serving on the board may not serve as a member of a committee where substantial authority is being exercised as an extension of the board of administration. The appointments for such committees must be made at a duly called meeting of the board and recorded in the written minutes of the meeting.
Committee Meeting Notices
According to Florida statute §718.112(2)(c)2., Adequate notice of Board and Committee meetings must be posted conspicuously on the condominium property at least 48 continuous hours before the meetings except in an emergency, and the meetings are open to all unit owners.
Record of Committee Proceedings
When the committee is advisory in nature, a formal record of the proceedings does not need to be maintained. A summary of the findings of fact or the recommendations will be sufficient and the summary will be submitted as the committee’s report to the appointing authority. If the committee has substantial authority and is carrying out a portion of the responsibilities of the board, a formal record of each meeting must be kept in the same way as the board itself maintains a record of its proceedings. As a general rule, any committee exercising authority of the board should be guided by all the same procedure requirements that govern the board, including the right of unit owners to speak with reference to all items of business.
Effective Committee Meetings
The following 5 keys are important to effective committee meetings:
- Clear Purpose. Clearly define the scope and responsibility. Define the mission, what they are and are not responsible for and declare their goals to the community.
- Right People. Fill the committee with people that are qualified and try to appoint a Chairperson that is a good leader, communicator, consensus builder and meeting manager. Assigning a Board Liaison for each committee is always a good idea as well.
- Regular Schedule. Setup a regular schedule of meeting dates and times that is widely publicized so that owners can attend.
- Plan and Prepare. Treat meetings with the same level of care, planning and preparation as a board meeting.
- Recognition. Publicly acknowledge committees and members for a job well done.
The board has the power to appoint committees and to give them authority. The authority of the board to delegate powers to committees is not unlimited, however. The authority of a committee is respected by the limits placed upon it by the articles of incorporation, the bylaws and the resolution adopted by the board of administration creating the committee. When a committee is created by resolution of the board, the resolution should specifically express the powers being delegated and the limits on that power. The resolution should be in writing although the lack of a written resolution will not destroy the effectiveness of the committee under most circumstances.
Advisory committees do not have the authority to act for or to bind the association in any way. Advisory committees are limited to fact-finding, information gathering and to making recommendations to the appointing authority. The function and tenor of advisory committees should be documented in writing but the failure to do so does not jeopardize their creation. These committees help to ease the responsibilities of the board of administration but they cannot replace it.
The fact that the board creates a committee and conveys to it powers and duties, does not relieve the board of administration and the individual members of the board of their ultimate fiduciary responsibility. They must ensure the operations of the Association are carried out in the best interest of the unit owners, and ultimately they are responsible for all of the acts of the committees they create.
A summary of the committee’s findings, conclusions and recommendations may be brought to the board or to the membership either orally or in written form. It is preferable that the committee’s report be in writing and that it be addressed to the secretary of the Association. A synopsis of an oral report should be included in the minutes of the meeting at which the report is presented. A committee may also be requested to periodically report progress and solicit comments and further direction from the board members.
If the committee’s final report and recommendation involves the expenditure of Association funds, it must include the following:
- Benefit of the recommendation/proposal;
- Alternatives considered and rationale for selection of the proposed alternative;
- Installation scheduling and costs including ongoing maintenance costs;
- Administrative, management, and maintenance requirements;
- Owner, community and facilities impact including any possible negative fallout; and
- A frequently asked questions (FAQ) and answers section.
Upon receipt of a committee report, the board may accept and implement the recommendations, it may modify and change the recommendations, or, finally, it may simply accept them and place them in the records of the Association for future action and reference.
When the report of a committee has been received at a meeting of the board of administration or of the membership, it becomes a part of the permanent Association records like other official records of the Association. Committee reports are open for inspection by unit owners or their representatives at all reasonable times, and the owners may obtain copies of the reports.