Ann Macfarlane

HOA victory – the power of one person

By Ann Macfarlane / June 5, 2024 /
Colorful exploding party popper

“On the honor system” In the May newsletter I wrote about a president who declined to provide financial information to his HOA board of directors. He used the phrase “on the honor system.” When my friend, a board director, insisted on seeing details before approving checks, the president and board resisted, finally voting her off…

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Councilmember badgers the staff

By Ann Macfarlane / May 8, 2024 / Comments Off on Councilmember badgers the staff

Dear Dinosaur: One of our councilmembers puts question after question after question to the staff at meetings. Sometimes our meetings are five hours long! What can be done about this? Answer: This certainly can be a problem! We suggest that you discuss the matter with the council chair, mayor, and/or city manager, and see if…

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What if a colleague says something outrageous and insulting?

By Ann Macfarlane / February 14, 2024 / Comments Off on What if a colleague says something outrageous and insulting?

Dear Dinosaur:  At a recent citizen advisory committee meeting, a colleague made hateful statements about a minority group as a whole. This was in response to diversity training we had received. I was shocked and didn’t know what to do. Answer: It is indeed shocking when someone makes outrageous statements attacking a category of people.…

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When homeowners are unhappy with their HOA board

By Ann Macfarlane / January 31, 2024 / Comments Off on When homeowners are unhappy with their HOA board
row houses in a condominium

Homeowner and condo associations generate the highest number of inquiries to our “Dear Dinosaur” advice column. Month after month, we receive messages about HOA boards that appear to be unresponsive to homeowner members, dysfunctional, or otherwise incompetent. (To be fair, we also receive inquiries from board members about homeowners who are making life difficult for…

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What is the chain of command in your nonprofit organization?

By Ann Macfarlane / January 10, 2024 / Comments Off on What is the chain of command in your nonprofit organization?

A reader asks, “Where can I find the chain of command from the chairperson on down?”  Several thoughts come to mind. This article covers nonprofit organizations—governmental bodies are different. A nonprofit organization is not like a profit corporation In a profit corporation, there is a boss who is in charge of the entire organization. This…

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Do I need an attorney to find out about state law for my organization?

By Ann Macfarlane / January 3, 2024 / Comments Off on Do I need an attorney to find out about state law for my organization?

Dear Dinosaur:  How can I find out about state laws pertaining to my organization? Do I have to hire an attorney? Answer: You can learn about your state’s laws pertaining to your type of organization on your own. You do not have to have a law degree to read the law and understand its plain…

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Can we pull back an item that was postponed two months ahead?

By Ann Macfarlane / December 7, 2023 / Comments Off on Can we pull back an item that was postponed two months ahead?

Dear Dinosaur: At our December board meeting, the board postponed an agenda item to early February. Is there any proper way to pull the item back early? Answer: Interestingly enough, Robert’s Rules allows an item to be postponed only to the next meeting, if it falls within a quarterly interval. You can read more about…

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Does Robert’s Rules support quorum busting?

By Ann Macfarlane / November 27, 2023 / Comments Off on Does Robert’s Rules support quorum busting?

Dear Dinosaur: Recently, two board members walked out during a roll call vote knowing that they were going to lose on the vote.  Their departure ended the meeting because there was no longer a quorum. At the next meeting, they cited “Roberts Rules” that said they had a “right” to walk out as a filibuster and…

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What justifies calling a Point of Order?

By Ann Macfarlane / November 8, 2023 / Comments Off on What justifies calling a Point of Order?

Guest post by Nicole Schenk The motion Point of Order is a request to the chair to enforce a parliamentary rule, which a member is claiming has just been broken, or is in the process of being broken. Calling a Point of Order is a basic right of every member. It is one way to…

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Less Is More: Action Minutes Save Time, Serve the Agency Best

By Ann Macfarlane / October 27, 2023 / Comments Off on Less Is More: Action Minutes Save Time, Serve the Agency Best

This article describes the benefits of action minutes. It was first published on the MRSC blog. MRSC is a private nonprofit organization, formerly known as “Municipal Resources and Service Center,” serving local governments in Washington State. The insights described here apply to local governments across the nation. If your council, commission, or committee takes detailed…

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