AZHOC - Arizona Homeowners Coalition
Voice for homeowner rights and justice.

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Board of Director Term Limits

What is your coalition’s position on term limits for HOA Board of Directors? Do you think your coalition would have a good chance at persuading legislators in the 2019 legislative session to enact a firm RETROACTIVE term limits statute? It seems like this would be a bi-partisan or non-partisan issue. What do you think is a reasonable number of consecutive or cumulative years a homeowner should be permitted to serve on an HOA Board?

3 Responses

  1. Dennis Legere

    Nick
    First of all, it is against the Arizona Constitution to make any bill retroactive. I debated a term limit bill for some time now and last year actually drafted such a bill. I decided not to attempt to get it sponsored because of the negative aspect of such a bill. While term limits will surely help communities with board members that are entrenched and lose sight of the needs and desires of their community members, but it will also force good conscientious board members off the boards. Finding and keeping good board members is vital to community health. I decided to approach this issue from a different direction. This year I have a bill proposal for the 2019 session that will force association to hold elections every year for any board position who’s term has expired especially in those communities with exorbitant quorum requirement. Many communities have used the inability to meet a quorum requirement in the initial attempt to satisfy the annual member meeting requirement as a way to actually avoid having an election. We have some communities where a quorum of the board has been in place for 17 years without ever holding an election. This core group then fills any vacancies by appointments of their friends who once again are never subjected to an election. My bill will force any board member off the board after his/her term has expired unless they are re-elected by the members. I have also address the process of removing board members, if they are not meeting the needs of the community. While this particular bill will do many other things, and will be our top priority for this upcoming legislative session, it will be one of 4 comprehensive bills all aimed at empowering the Arizona homeowners to provide checks and balances in the governance and operation of their communities. We will provide for consequences for any board or management company that fails to comply with the law, without overburdening any community boards who are really trying to serve their communities. I’ll be providing legislative updates on the details of each of these bill soon to all our members, and will post the full language of each bill on this site once they are introduced by a legislator.

    Please allow me the opportunity in this post to remind everyone that while I spend a tremendous amount of time and energy developing these proposal and promoting these bills face to face with every legislator that I can, I still need a membership of sufficient numbers to get the legislator’s attention. Joining our coalition is free, but is essential to truly be able to present our case against the highly funded HOA industry represented by CAI and AACM. Each of those organizations spend hundreds of thousands of dollars every year supporting elections campaigns and paying for their highly respected professional lobbying firms. While we work for the 3.5 million homeowners in this state until our numbers actually approach the 10,000 member level , the Industry money will speak louder than our membership to these politicians. Not to say in any way that politicians are bought but rather until we can demonstrate with our membership following that we truly represent a voice of constituents in their districts we will not be taken seriously. So please if anyone out their sees our site or this post take 2 minutes to join our numbers and help us help all of you. Tell your friends and neighbors about us and help spread the word.
    Thank You
    Dennis

  2. Nick

    Dennis,

    Thank you for the detailed and informative reply. So if I understand correctly, if a term limit law were to be enacted in 2019 that limited a Board member’s service to 20 total years, one would have to wait 20 more years from 2019 before a current Board of Director who is in their 20th year of service would be affected by a term limit law due to Article 2 Section 25 of the Arizona Constitution? I personally think 20 years is an excessive amount of time to serve on a Board, especially alongside other long-serving entrenched members who exhibit a bunker mentality. I am familiar with HOA’s that have Board members who have over 20 years of service.

    If a term limit bill was crafted with a high limit threshold for years of service, such as 10 years, I think it would have a good chance of passing. Such a bill would help those rare communities that are small in size, have a low turnover of homeowners and entrenched Boards that are difficult to challenge. Arizona has a very transient population and a generally high turnover rate of homeowners in HOA’s. Most HOA’s in this state are on the medium to large size in number of homeowners and thus a term limit law would not negatively affect the majority of homeowners in HOA’s, because due to these structural factors, there is high probability of a good supply of capable, conscientious Board members willing to serve. I have studied the pros and cons of term limits and that’s why I specifically think a high limit on years of service is a good way to strike a balance between reducing entrenched Boards and keeping good Board members.

    Again, thank you for your reply and I hope you or others will re-consider drafting such a term limit proposal.

    1. Dennis Legere

      Nick;
      Actually if a term limit bill were to be passed it would apply to any board member in office on the effective date of the law. So if on that effective date a board member had already served for 5 years with 2 year individual terms and the established term limit was 6 years than he could not run for a new term after his current term expired. The retroactive prohibition in a case like this would say that if a board member had already served 7 years with two year terms and the term limit was 6 years, he/she would not be forced out of office prior to the expiration of his/her current term. He/she could not run for an additional term however after this current term expired.
      In addition any typical term limit bill would also establish how many years an individual would have to wait until they can run again.
      The state has 8 year term limits for Senators and Representatives in their respective house, but what many of them do is simply run for the other house and start over again. Legislators in this way can serve for life if they keep getting elected.

      I don’t disagree with your position, like I said earlier I actually drafted a term limit proposal at one time, however I believe that there are higher priorities that need to be addressed to protect true transparency in association transactions, duties and responsibilities of boards, election integrity, enforcement of rules and regulation , resale disclosure, and foreclosure protections and so forth. Let’s see what we can get passed in the next couple of sessions before we re-look at the value of this issue. Remember if we can get honest and free elections the people can today establish their own term limits by simply not voting for board members who are not meeting the needs of the community.

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