When and where is the Annual Meeting?
Thursday, March 24 at 6 p.m. in Town Square Residents Club, 14213 Pleach St., Winter Garden, FL 34787.
What is the purpose of the Annual Meeting?
The Annual Meeting happens once yearly (hence the name!) for three purposes: to discuss pending Association matters of importance to the Membership; to take questions from the Membership; and most importantly, to elect new members to the Master Association Board of Directors.
How can I participate in this meeting?
Firstly, you need to be an Owner of a lot in Independence Community. Renters, tenants, and non-Owner relatives are not eligible to participate in this forum in accordance with Florida Statute and the Association's governing documents.
Secondly, you need to attend the meeting - OR, you can sign and return your proxy form to allow yourself to be represented in absentia. The Association's governing documents set a minimum attendance threshold to allow us to conduct an election. That number is a combination of Owners present in person and by proxy.
Will you mail me anything via U.S. Postal mail?
Yes. We will mail you the official, legally-required notice of the Annual Meeting. We will also provide you with an agenda for the meeting, a brief explainer (similar to this FAQ) about the Annual Meeting process, a blank Intent to be a Candidate form (if you wish to run for a seat) and most importantly, a General Proxy.
The MOST important form in the mailer is the General Proxy. The governing documents set a minimum attendance threshold for the community to be able to hold an election, and that number is a combination of Owners present in person and by proxy. The more proxies we have, the more likely we can have an election.
Please carefully read the General Proxy, fill it out, sign it, and return it to have your vote counted even if you can't attend in person.
What if I can't attend this meeting in person?
Complete a General Proxy and return it, and it's just as if you were there!
General Proxies are used for two purposes: to attain a quorum of Members, and to participate in the election if a quorum is reached.
You have the option of designating either a current officer of the Board OR a personal proxy who will be present at the meeting to cast your vote on your behalf. If you select a personal proxy, you can choose anyone who is also an Association Member to represent you and your interests and beliefs at the meeting.
Being a proxy holder is a serious responsibility because they will represent you in your absence, so always be sure to choose someone you know and trust.
I have not received anything in the mail. Can I pick up paperwork from the Management office?
Yes, of course. Stop by Town Square Residents Club during regular hours for a paper copy (9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Mon-Fri, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Sat-Sun) or email us at [email protected] and a member of our team can email you the PDF documents.
We can provide you with the entire mailing packet, or any of the items below:
- Notice of Meeting & Agenda
- General Proxy (sign and return if you will not be able to attend in person)
- Intent to be a Candidate Form (sign and return if you want to run for a seat on the Board)
Can I cast my vote online or by mail?
Not yet. While the Board is working on providing an electronic voting option for our Members based on new State legislation and advancements in online voting security, our governing documents were written in 2004, when this would not have been possible.
We are required to follow our governing documents and bylaws, which stipulate that ballots can only be cast in person or by proxy in the Annual Meeting because nominations for Director can be taken from the floor.
If you can't make it to the meeting, please be sure to complete and return your signed proxy form.
Can I run for the Board as a new member?
Yes. Every year, the Board is elected to staggered terms. In 2022, we will have three of our seven seats up for election or re-election.
If you would like to become a candidate for election, you will need to be an Owner or Co-Owner of a Lot in the community and a Member in Good Standing (no active fines, no active violations, and no active delinquencies).
Click here to download the Intent to be a Candidate form.
If I'm running for the Board, is there anything I should know in advance?
Directors are voluntary positions. They are filled by engaged and dedicated Members of the community who have an interest in seeing Independence is as successful as possible in every way for everyone. Directors on the Board have a solemn fiduciary duty to their fellow Owners and act on behalf of every resident fairly and equitably in all decisions they take. No one Director has any more sway than the others; it is a very collaborative body.
To enter your name as a candidate for the Board, first complete an Intent to be a Candidate form. Please make sure that you complete the form itself fully. If you would like, you can also supply a resume, CV, or brief cover letter to attach to the form, however, doing so is not a requirement. The Management team will redact your personal information from the form, and upload it to the Connect Resident portal for everyone to review.
A Meet the Candidate night will be scheduled just before the Annual Meeting. This is a voluntary opportunity to introduce yourself personally to your fellow Members, however, you do not need to participate to be considered a candidate.
Finally, on the night of the Annual Meeting, we will accept nominations from the floor (these can even be self-nominations) for Members in Good Standing to be considered in the election.
All candidates will then have three (3) minutes to share their campaign platform and goals if elected before voting begins and the results are announced.
How does the Annual Meeting end?
Once the voting ends, the current Board will typically sit for Member questions while a group of volunteers from the audience tallies the ballots. When the count is finished, the results are announced immediately. The new Board members take their seats right away, and the Annual Meeting is adjourned.
An Organizational Meeting of the Board is usually convened as soon as the Annual Meeting concludes, and it is in this meeting that the seven Directors - three new ones, four continuing ones - will decide their roles for the year.
It's important to remember that you as an Owner are not electing a President (for example) - you are electing a Director, and the Board gets to decide among themselves who serves in which positions afterwards.
I have many more questions. Is there anyone I can ask for help understanding the Annual Meeting?
Absolutely. While our community's on-site Management team is not able to take an active role in the Annual Meeting itself (the attorney does that), they are able to answer most any question you have about the process and they will be present at the meeting to assist with administrative and hospitality functions.
Contact Town Square Residents Club at 407-654-7479, email [email protected], or just stop in and ask to speak with one of our CAMs, Conor or David, and they'll be more than happy to help.