You’ve been promoting the need for a special assessment for months now. As board president, you’ve taken the lead in exploring alternatives and developing a budget. Now, you’re planning the agenda for the meeting where homeowners will vote on the special assessment.

I’m afraid some homeowners who oppose this special assessment don’t believe I will run the meeting fairly. And how can I, as president, be fair, keep control over an emotional meeting, but still have the opportunity to tell my neighbors what I think about this important issue?

Parliamentary Tip: Consider “relinquishing the chair” to someone else with experience running a contested meeting and who will be perceived as neutral on the issue. Examples of people who might run, or chair, the meeting include your vice president, another board member, the community manager, an attorney, or a professional parliamentarian.

In formal parliamentary procedure, relinquishing the chair is the only way a presiding officer is allowed to exercise his/her right as a member to speak about or advocate for a motion. This rule is really just common sense. That’s because the only way anyone can run a difficult meeting effectively is to make sure the debate and voting is fair. Too often people on one side of an issue assume you won’t be fair or impartial if you disagree with their position.

Be sure to plan ahead and prepare your substitute chair person for their role BEFORE the meeting.

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