QUESTION: In the past two months, a few owners have continually shouted and screamed in board meetings. Requests that the screamers sit down and act in a civil manner does no good, resulting in the meeting getting out of control. What can the board do?
ANSWER: For disruptive attendees who shout, use profanity, or interfere with board meetings, the board may:
- Impose penalties after appropriate due process, provided the board first adopts "rules of conduct" for its meetings, such as:
No audio or video recording allowed by attendees. However, the secretary may record the meeting to aid in the preparation of minutes. The recording is deleted once the minutes have been prepared. As provided in the "Open Meeting Act," members may observe the meeting but do not have the right to participate in the board's deliberations or votes. Members may address issues during the open forum portion of the meeting. If attendees become disruptive, they may be expelled from the meeting and/or fined. [Rules of conduct should be added to each meeting agenda so attendees know what they can and cannot do.
- Eject them from the meeting (avoid physical contact or they may claim assault and battery) and call the police if they refuse to leave;
- Move the meeting to a member's unit (if disruptive owners force their way into the unit, it would be trespassing);
- obtain a restraining order;
- Broadcast meetings to the membership.
Robert's Rules. For more information about disruptive attendees and disciplinary procedures, see Chapter XX of Robert's Rules of Order.
Non-Members. Disruptive non-members may be excluded from meetings altogether.
Directors. See "Disruptive Directors."
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