Dear Spring Run Member,
As we approach the Annual Meeting in March, and near the installation of a new Board, I would like to focus on the Election process this year, which is unusual in that there were only four candidates to fill four open positions on the Board this year.
On the surface, the process is simple….we had four open seats on the Board, and only four owners submitted their candidacy, creating an uncontested election. No election is needed this year as all are running unopposed, and there is considerable time, effort, and cost savings from not holding one. But as questions and comments have been raised as to “why not?”, I would like to explain the underlying reasons that justify this rather simple decision.
As a Florida Homeowner’s Association (HOA), we are governed by the Florida Statutes Sections 617 and 720, and are compelled to follow those regulation as well as our Bylaws with regard to elections.
Florida Statutes Section 720.306 (9)(a) ELECTIONS AND BOARD VACANCIES.—“Elections of directors must be conducted in accordance with the procedures set forth in the governing documents of the association. All members of the association are eligible to serve on the board of directors, and a member may nominate himself or herself as a candidate for the board at a meeting where the election is to be held or, if the election process allows voting by absentee ballot, in advance of the balloting. Except as otherwise provided in the governing documents, boards of directors must be elected by a plurality of the votes cast by eligible voters.”
In Spring Run, all ballots cast are considered “absentee”. The bylaws specify how the election is to be conducted: a notice of Annual Meeting is sent to the members two months prior to the annual meeting date, inviting open nominations and sets a deadline for submission. Once the deadline is reached, the final list of candidates (which consists of the names of every person who has indicated an intent to be a candidate) by the date specified is placed on the ballot and the ballot is mailed out with a second notice of Annual Meeting approximately a month out. The office collects the returned ballots and opens and counts them in the presence of the Neighborhood Representative the week of the Annual Meeting. The tallied results published prior to the next Board Meeting. Nothing in any policies or documents provides for “nominations from the floor” at the meeting,
In summary, Spring Run’s governing documents allows for absentee balloting. All members are invited to submit their candidacy within the timeframes set forth. All voting takes place in advance, and the NR’s “cast” those votes at the annual meeting.
The position of the Association is that allowing any eligible owner in Spring Run to self-nominate themselves via email, phone, fax, or other method is far more inclusive and transparent than requiring people to show up at a meeting to self nominate or nominate someone else. Every person who expressed an interest and submitted their information by February 22 became a candidate for the Board. A “Meet the Candidates” forum was held on Sunday February 24, and each candidate presented their background, qualifications, and thoughts on the issues. There was an opportunity for questions followed by informal mingling and further discussions on the community. My thanks go out to Mr. Peter Perrin and his well qualified Nominating Committee for organizing a very capable slate of candidates for this year’s Board, and completing their duties efficiently and effectively. Two current directors agreed to run for another two year term…Mr. Jim Ward and Mr. Gary Orten. Two other owners also expressed an interest in serving, Mrs. Carol Furtwengler and Mrs. Sandy Varnum. These four individuals will be voted into office by acclimation at the March 28th Annual Meeting.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reply.