Dear Paul: I just became a board member this year. I was surprised to see that our Property Manager chairs our board meetings. Isn’t the board President supposed to chair board meetings?
Dear N.M.: Congratulations on stepping up to the plate and serving on your board. Yes, you are correct that the President should be chairing the board meetings. This is one of the President’s responsibilities usually listed in the legislation, the declaration or the bylaws of the corporation. This begs the question of whether or not this duty can be delegated to someone else. The answer is yes. If the board so chooses, it can have a chair other than the President. This can occur if the President is absent in which case the Vice-President usually assumes the role of chair. It can also occur if the board prefers to have a neutral party chair their meeting in order to allow board members, including the President to fully participate in deliberations. In such a case, the chair should not be allowed to participate in discussions but be there to keep everyone on track, on time, and apply the parliamentary rules of order. Having the property manager (PM) chair the meeting, in my opinion, is inappropriate. First, it is not the PM’s responsibility. Second, it will create a conflict of interest. Third, the PM cannot be impartial since some of the deliberations might involve the PM directly. I would suggest that if the President does not wish to chair the meeting, then either the Vice-President assumes the role, or the board finds a person that is not a board member. All the best!