I recently received a package from my condominium association about a meeting that is taking place next week where the owners have to vote to allow the board to change our tennis courts to pickleball courts. There was a proxy included in the package. Can you explain the difference between a proxy and a ballot? I am not sure what I am supposed to use to cast my vote. (J.J. via e-mail)
When it comes to matters that require members to vote, it is important to understand the difference between a ballot and a proxy. A ballot is an instrument that allows an owner to cast his or her vote in person at the meeting. If you appear at the membership meeting and cast your ballot, you cannot later change your vote.
A proxy, on the other hand, is a document that is signed by an owner, authorizing another to attend and vote on the owner’s behalf. The purpose of a proxy is to allow someone else to vote on your behalf. If you intend on voting by proxy, you must sign a written proxy designating someone else to vote for you. At the meeting, your proxy holder will cast a vote for you. A proxy is only effective for a specific meeting and any lawfully adjourned meetings thereof. A proxy is effective for 90 days after the date of the first meeting for which it was given. Unlike a ballot, a proxy is revocable at any time at the pleasure of the unit owner executing it.
A proxy may grant a proxy holder both general and limited powers. A limited proxy is a proxy that lists the issues that a proxy holder may cast a vote on behalf of an owner, and directs the proxy holder to vote on those specific issues. For example, a limited proxy may direct your proxy holder to vote “yes” to change the tennis courts to pickleball courts. In the condominium and cooperative context limited proxies must be used for any substantive votes by the owners, such as votes to waive or reduce reserves, votes to waive financial reporting requirements, votes to amend the declaration, articles of incorporation or bylaws, and for other matters for which a vote of the owners is required.
At a recent board meeting for my condominium association, there was an argument amongst the board members and one of the directors said “I quit,” got up and walked out of the meeting. A few days later, I learned that that board member then said he took back his resignation and still considers himself on the board. Once he stood up at the board meeting and said he quit, wouldn’t that be a resignation and he would be considered off the board? (N.O. via e-mail)
No. Resignations by board members must be in writing. The Florida Condominium Act, as well as the Florida Cooperative Act and the Homeowners’ Association Act, does not specifically discuss the manner in which resignations by board members must be made. However, Section 617.0807, Florida Statutes, which is part of the Florida Corporations Not-For-Profit Act, which also is applicable to most community associations, provides that board member resignations must be in writing. Additionally, there is a 2016 decision from the Division of Condominium, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes, which follows a 2013 appellate court decision, which found that a verbal resignation at a board meeting is not effective. As such, board members must resign in writing in order for their resignation to be effective.
Joe Adams is an attorney with Becker & Poliakoff, P.A., Fort Myers. Send questions to Joe Adams by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Past editions may be viewed at floridacondohoalawblog.com