You may be surprised at my opinion…
I’ve heard this question asked in several venues. My answer is, “I don’t think you’re asking the right question.”
There are two different meeting types in play here, with two different answers: board meetings, and member meetings.
Board Meetings: Yes, Cancel
Board meetings are expendable, in my opinion, and it’s fine to cancel a board meeting. Provided, of course, you have a legitimate, authorized way to continue operating. Is the management company authorized to approve payments and make decisions on appeals? Maybe yes to the former, but no to the latter, or possibly your board has created rules that guide the community manager on when they can make a decision, and when it has to be referred to the full board. So maybe you still need a way to meet.
Remember, there are some differences between a “regular meeting” and a “special meeting”. If you don’t know the difference, you’re probably not likely to care for my explanation. Do what you’re going to do… but it would be nice if you took some time and read your governing documents to see what they say about the two.
The truth is, you can call a Special Meeting with a few days’ notice to the board and to the members, and you can arrange to have an electronic meeting — preferably with audio and video. Small-group meetings aren’t that difficult if you’ve got a technical-type in your group.
Member Meetings: No. Postpone!
I’ve heard HOA attorneys say recently, “these are extraordinary times, and nobody will fault you for canceling the annual member meeting.” Um… I beg to differ.
As soon as you say “cancel the annual meeting,” someone is likely to think you’re a power grabbing board and just want to stay in power another year. (I’ve seen it, you probably have too.) My preference is to announce a postponement of the annual meeting, and then do one of two things:
1. Agree to not do anything for now, but state that you will re-evaluate the situation at the end of April, and make a decision at that time.
2. Decide to move forward with an electronic meeting, along with electronic voting for board members, and any other resolutions, motions, or other decisions to be put before the members.
Putting together an electronic meeting for your association’s annual member meeting also doesn’t have to be difficult, but having the election electronically has some pitfalls, and should be done correctly, and preferably by an outside source that can verify the outcome.
The HOA Coach can help you get your annual meeting back on track with electronic voting. Contact me at Coach@HOACoach.com for assistance.