Notes and Comments on Robert’s Rules, Fifth Edition NOW AVAILABLE!

This summer I let you know about the release of Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track, a quick go-to guide that provides details on the most used motions, appropriate informal procedures for association boards, and general advice for shortening meetings. Pleased to say it was the #1 new release in its category on Amazon, as small a category as that might be. As a follow-up, the new Fifth Edition of Notes and Comments on Robert’s Rules is now available! Regardless of your level of parliamentary experience, you’ll learn something new from Notes and Comments on Robert’s Rules, Fifth Edition. The book complements Robert’s Rules of … Continue reading

ABA Journal Podcast on Meetings & Robert’s Rules

If you like podcasts, the American Bar Association Journal interviewed me this month for its ABA Journal Modern Law Library on “Sick of Meetings That Go Off the Rails? Robert’s Rules of Order Can Help.” The discussion covered everything from the importance of proper meeting procedure, board versus member meeting procedure, myths about meetings, minutes, parliamentarians, parliamentary organizations, and more. Depending on your preferred podcast platform, the episode can be found at: Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherOvercast Here’s the Modern Law Library website for the episode:

NC Bar Association Interview with Jim Slaughter

The NC Bar Association recently interviewed partner Jim Slaughter about association meetings, parliamentary procedure, Robert’s Rules of Order, and his two new books on meeting procedure. The article can be found in this month’s North Carolina Lawyer Magazine here:Parliamentary Procedure, Robert’s Rules, and Jim Slaughter: Award-Winning Author Discusses Two New Books and More. Jim is an attorney, Certified Professional Parliamentarian-Teacher, Professional Registered Parliamentarian,, and past President of the American College of Parliamentary Lawyers. He has written four books on meeting procedure, including Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track and Notes and Comments on Robert’s Rules, Fourth Edition (with a new Fifth … Continue reading

Update on Fifth Edition of Notes and Comments on Robert’s Rules

Several readers on Amazon have sent me a message to the effect of, “I have your Robert’s Rules Of Order Fast Track, but can’t seem to find Notes and Comments on Robert’s Rules, Fifth Edition, only the Fourth Edition for the last Robert’s. Where can I find the Fifth Edition?” First off, thanks for reading and for looking for the book! That’s gratifying to me as an author. Hope the books have been helpful. (As an aside, if you found the Fast Track guide helpful, please consider commenting or posting a review here, as that is how people find out … Continue reading

Why Is My Main Motion Not in Order? 

While there are numerous reasons why any motion may not be in order, I will attempt to give some guidance on why your main motion would not be in order at a meeting. Main motions are the most common motions, and are how business is done at meetings. You are likely very familiar with these motion, though you probably do not refer to these motions as “main motion.” Motions to have the organization take some action are main motions. For example, common main motions are “I move to adopt the budget,” “I move to adopt resolution 1,” “I move to … Continue reading

Should Meeting Minutes Include Names of Members in Attendance?

A question came up during a recent online discussion about whether the names of members attending a board meeting should be listed in the minutes, and perhaps even show what time the member arrived. Here’s not one, not two, but THREE answers! First, the good news is there’s no wrong answer. At the end of the day, the minutes are what the specific body within your organization decides by majority vote it wishes to have in its minutes. Different organizations have different style minutes. Second, if you follow (or try to follow) Robert’s Rules of Order there is no answer, … Continue reading

Remote Online Notarization Coming (Again)!

With the passage of NC House Bill 776, North Carolina joins 37 other states in adopting rigorous RON (Remote Online Notarization) policies. This brings the end to end security measures and accurate closing procedures that lenders and other industry stakeholders demand, while offering the convenience and safety customers desire. The process revolves around the software platform, one of the most common being Pavaso. This swiss-army knife solution combines the teleconferencing abilities of Zoom with document management and signing capabilities of Docusign and adds encryption and recordkeeping and identification verification. This special suite of tools works together to solve the hardest … Continue reading

Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track

My newest book, Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track, is now available! My first book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Parliamentary Procedure Fast-Track (2012) has been very popular, and Penguin asked for a new edition of the book updated for the new Robert’s Rule of Order and to include a discussion of  virtual and electronic meetings. Proper meeting procedure is more important than ever—especially in these contentious times. With that in mind, the book also covers dealing with problem members and problem chairs. To better reflect its focus, the book has been renamed Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track: The … Continue reading

Completely Updated Parliamentary Procedure Website with Resources

For almost thirty years, my parliamentary procedure website has had more articles and resources on meeting procedure and Robert’s Rules of Order than most anywhere else online. In part due to the new Robert’s Rules of Order (released 2020), the site has been completely revamped and updated, with all references now to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (12th Edition). The updated website includes: Dozens of charts and articles on running effective meetings, all revised to the new Robert’s 12th Edition. Guides/”cheat sheets” to the new Robert’s and other major parliamentary manuals, including The Standard Code. Tips on how smaller … Continue reading

Thoughts on Bylaws: Individual Amendments, Bylaws Revisions, and Best Practices on Amending Bylaws

There are usually three main governing documents that most nonprofit corporations have today—corporate articles, bylaws, and board policy. The corporate articles (or “articles of incorporation” or “corporate charter”) are a legal document filed with the state and should have only statutory requirements, such as name of organization, address, service agent, etc. That said, older articles sometimes have additional provisions, including ones touching on governance, such as who can serve as a director, board size, date of annual meeting, etc. If you are considering bylaws changes, make certain to get a copy of any corporate articles to make certain there are … Continue reading

Robert’s Rules of Order vs The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure vs the AIP Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure

A question came up during a recent online discussion of pros and cons between Robert’s Rules of Order and The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure. One comment asked if Robert’s was “archaic and obsolete.” Here’s my answer. There are several major parliamentary manuals, with Robert’s Rules of Order being the best known. Robert’s Rules and parliamentary procedure are viewed as one and the same by most of the public. Of organizations that have a parliamentary authority in their governing documents, Robert’s is by far the most common choice (some surveys suggest 80%-90%) . State statutes that prescribe a parliamentary authority for some types of … Continue reading

Voting by Written Ballot and Written Agreement in North Carolina

When it comes to asking homeowners association /  condo members to approve or reject matters in North Carolina, there are generally two options: the written ballot and the written agreement. These documents and legally dictated processes may look very similar, but they are legally distinct. This article examines how and when using the written ballot versus a written agreement makes sense and how to use each effectively. Written Ballot When you think about being asked to vote on something, most people probably first think of a ballot. Ballots, by definition, allow someone to vote for or against something. For in-person meetings, ballots … Continue reading

There Is No “Meeting by Ballot” Under New NC Law

Our firm’s attorneys have seen several recent association mailings entitled something to the effect of “Meeting by Ballot” or “Annual Meeting by Ballot.” It appears there is a belief among some that the recent adoption of House Bill 320 (“Modernize Remote Business Access”) created a new method of members meeting through a written instrument. It did not. As discussed in the recent post Does New Law Mean Associations Don’t Have to Hold Annual Meetings?, North Carolina has two main methods for association members to make decisions: A membership meeting, which can be held in person or under the new statute … Continue reading

How to Run an Effective Online Meeting

With the passage of HB 320 (see Jim Slaughter’s article:  Bill Adopted to Allow Electronic Membership Meetings and Voting in North Carolina Associations) we are seeing more communities opting to conduct electronic membership meetings to encourage greater participation and community interest in these meetings. Our attorneys collectively—and particularly our two Certified Professional Parliamentarians, Jim Slaughter and Michael Taliercio—have participated in more virtual meetings than anyone, and we find that having good meeting rules in place before the meeting takes place is key to a successful outcome. Although it usually is not necessary to tailor rules for each individual meeting an … Continue reading

Does New Law Mean Associations Don’t Have to Hold Annual Meetings?

Since HB 320 passed (see Bill Adopted to Allow Electronic Membership Meetings and Voting in North Carolina Associations), we’ve had questions to the effect of “Do we have to hold annual member meetings anymore?” The thinking seems to be that because the new law allows decisions by “written ballots or electronic voting” that you could use those methods and forego the annual meeting. That is, a written or electronic ballot could be sent out for everything that needs to be handled at the annual meeting and then have no meeting at all.   Anyone who suggests that the new law … Continue reading

NC Governor Signs Bill Allowing Remote Member Meetings

As a follow-up to last week’s Community Association Legislative Update (Bill Adopted to Allow Electronic Membership Meetings and Voting in North Carolina Associations), Governor Roy Cooper signed HB 320 (“Modernize Remote Business Access”) yesterday, September 20. The law takes effect effect immediately. NC homeowner and condominium associations (as well as other nonprofit associations) can now choose to hold virtual member meetings or make decisions without a meeting through written or electronic balloting or electronic voting, so long as certain requirements are met. The new law applies to any member meetings noticed as of today. In addition, remote member meetings noticed and held … Continue reading

Bill Adopted to Allow Electronic Membership Meetings and Voting in North Carolina Associations

NC Community Association Legislative Update – September 15, 2021 Community association (HOA and condo) boards have long been permitted to meet virtually by phone or videoconference, but the ability to hold membership meetings electronically ended with the expiration of the Governor’s Executive Order this spring. Since that time, while members can certainly meet virtually as an informal “town hall” and then vote afterwards by written ballot, it has not been possible to hold virtual membership meetings. And even under the Governor’s prior Executive Order, members could not vote during virtual meetings. That’s all changing with the adoption today of legislation … Continue reading

SIMPLE SUMMARY OF THE “FREE” STEP-UP IN BASIS FOR ESTATE ASSETS AND POSSIBLE CHANGES WITH THE PROPOSED AMERICAN FAMILIES PLAN

Most of my clients do not have to deal with estate taxes due to the current 11.7-million-dollar exemption per spouse.   Despite this, there are still many important conversations involving taxation that may come up in the initial estate conference at the death of a loved one from deferred income tax with inherited IRAs, fiduciary tax returns, taxation of income earned by irrevocable trusts, and the big one that always comes up and which is the focus of this blog, capital gains taxes.  Capital gains tax is not an estate tax or related to death at all, but it is still … Continue reading

Law Firm Carolinas: New Shareholder, Partners, Offices and Lawyers

Law Firm Carolinas announces the following changes: Harmony Taylor, who is in the Charlotte office and practices community association (HOA and condo) law and civil litigation, has been named a Shareholder. Three attorneys have been named Partners: Joe Thompson, who practices residential and commercial real estate, and David Wilson, who practices North and South Carolina community association (HOA and condo) law, both from the Charlotte office; and Jon Raymer, who practices commercial and residential real estate, from the Greensboro office. There have also been several recent additions to the firm: Nancy Guyton and Hunt Harris have joined the Wilmington office. … Continue reading

Guilford County Mask Mandate-Effective August 13, 2021

As a result of the latest COVID-19 surge and the more contagious Delta variant, Guilford County has issued a mask mandate that becomes effective today, August 13, 2021, at 5:00 P.M.   The mandate will remain in effect until the earlier of: 1) expiration or termination of the Proclamation of a Local Emergency, 2) January 8, 2022 at 5:00 P.M., or 3) modification or revocation by the Guilford County Board of Health. The mandate states: 1:  Individuals must wear Face Coverings when indoors in all businesses, establishments, and public places. 2:  All businesses, establishments, and public places must require that all … Continue reading