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When to have private vs. closed condo association board meetings?

Posted on Fri, Sep 17, 2010 @ 08:23 AM

I have a question regarding open meetings. I am a trustee at a condo association in eastern Massachusetts. For the past year, our board has met in private - typically one of the trustees homes - to deal with condo association business. Items such as budgets, rules & regulations, construction projects have been voted on and approved during these private meetings. The only time we have met with residents has been during our annual meeting, and once or twice when we had an issue that we felt needed the attention of the entire building. From the start, I have been uncomfortable with the idea of meeting privately to do routine business. I have questioned two representatives from our management company regarding the issue, and they both told me that the Board of Trustees was elected by residents to do the condo association's business and that we are not legally required to work out "in the open." I still find this hard to believe. Can anyone on this board provide insight? Thank you

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According to our by-laws meetings are to be held once a year on the common grounds of the association. That is if a small room is empty then you hold it there or in a small area that is large enough to accomadate 16 to 18 people. 
As far as holding these meetings in one of the board members homes I do believe is wrong, although I know they used to do that here until I called them on it. If the board has nothing to hide then why would you not want to share this with everyone in an open meeting. Nothing says that ou cannot have more than one meeting a year to discuss things. This is where I feel that the associations get them selves into trouble. Everyone has an opinion so do it openly and without acting like there is something to hide. 
I know I have the vote of many people here to get onto the board when we have or meeting for voting and rest assured that it will not be run like the last board ran it into the ground..........things will change and all of the members will be included in anything that we discuss in the future. We all own each of our units and each person has a right to know what is going on, whether it be with just us or together with management. 
Again if you have nothing to hide then open your little private meetings to ALL. I hope this helps you understand that if you were on the other end you yourself would want to know what those secret meetings were all about. As far as the BOD go and they are voted in to handle things and not discuss with the others is B.S. In an association or HOA everyone pays dues and hat should be theeir right to know what is going on. I understand sometimes a short little get together amissed the BOD to have a check signed or to say any whats on the schedule for our next meeting is o.k. but to hold private lenghty meetings should be out. Have a nice day

posted @ Friday, September 17, 2010 9:23 AM by s

might I add that if BOD holds a meeting to discuss personal issues like liens on a property, or someone that has broken a rule, or a legal matter on another unit holder, then by all means this should be held in a private meeting to discuss. Learn to kow the difference in holding a private meeting. Sometimes you need to do this as a mattr of privacy to someone else. I would not like my business spoken about in front of others and neither would you. But to all other matters that concern the boundries of the association and what your dues pay for should be discussed openly. 

posted @ Friday, September 17, 2010 9:29 AM by s

Unless there is more going on than you reveal in your post, you were given a good answer by the Management Co. reps. How would your association benefit by meetings "in the open"? Be careful what you wish for. Good Luck..

posted @ Friday, September 17, 2010 9:41 AM by Jeff Leavitt

Get a copy of your state's condominium act. Read it and your bylaws. Open meetings assure the unit owners that they will have a voice in the management of their property. For example do you get to vote on the adoption of a budget?? Are rules validated and conform to state laws?

posted @ Friday, September 17, 2010 10:00 AM by Charles Adler

My board goes one better. I have not been able to get access to see any board meeting minutes at all despite my repeated requests for over a year (just under a year in writing, including a certified letter) despite my citing the exact State Law that requires I be given access within 60 days of each meeting. Now they are threatening me for even asking saying I will be charged for legal fees if they have to consult their attorney. They refuse to answer questions or substantively reply to anything. Quite a mess. I guess they keep hoping I will go away. See www.wvnorthface.info for citation of specific law requiring owner access to board meeting notes.

posted @ Friday, September 17, 2010 12:41 PM by Rick Bolduc

I suggest uyou call the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. This agency oversees Condominium activity. You can even get a free CD titled, "Condominium Educational and Reference material. Your descrioption of your boards position indicates complete ignorance on their part of their responsibilities. I know of no state that does not have within their Condow law a statement to the effect that unit owners have a right to access all recordfs and financial documents. Normally the management company maintains these files. It never ceases to amaze me how much like Hitler some boards act. If the board professes to use Robert's Rules of Order to guid the course of your meetings they should know that such a meeting is defined as a deliberative association. Meaning that all parties atytending the meeting must be allowed to engage in discussion of agenda items and in fact even must be polled to determine if the agenda proposed by the board should be adopted.Further in each deliberation which requires a vote that the majority of the assembly-and not the Board control the outcome by their votes.

posted @ Friday, September 17, 2010 1:15 PM by Charles Adler

Mr. Adler's remarks above are correct. But I question the last sentence.  

Is Mr Adler saying that every item requiring a vote should be voted on by the entire assembly? Are you saying that the directors might vote 7-0 for an item, but that if the assembly voted 77-87 against the item that the assembly's vote would prevail?  

Further, the potential assembly is 400. Only 100 attend a given meeting. The seven directors are elected by all 400 members. But only 100 members are at a meeting. Can, should their vote trump that of the directors?

posted @ Friday, September 17, 2010 7:27 PM by Michael E Katz

My last sentence is correct. The assembly votes. Only in m,atters of selecting winning contractor for a competative procurement contract does the Board vote without the assemnbly also voting. There are a few other specific instances where the board itself viotes but the majority vote by the assemnbly is the rule. Is,'t that the American way??? It works in our House of Representatives-why shouldn't it work for you?

posted @ Friday, September 17, 2010 7:43 PM by Charles Adler

The House is not a good analogy because it is an elected representative assembly as are the Directors.  
Would you cite Roberts? Assembly's vote superceding Director's vote is certainly not in our docs or by-laws.

posted @ Saturday, September 18, 2010 12:29 AM by Michael E Katz

Of course it is not in your bylaws or whatever other documents your refer to. It is embeded in Roberts Rules Of Order. Robert's defines a Board meeting as a deliberative assembly and a translation of that phrase made by National Board of Parliamentarians is 
Deleberative- full participation in ther deliberations (proceedings) and voting to approve all actions by a simple majority of the members in attendance. It is the assembly who may vote to not read the minutes of the previous meeting, it is the assemby who votes to adopt or amen the agenda if such is proposed by the Chair of the meeting. There are a few actions which the Board without assembly voting sre asppropriate. One examples awarding a competatively bid contract. Reason the assembly is notinvolved in generating specifications nor evaluation of bids. Too often a condo board meeting is run as a meeting for the boarda deliberative assembly. 
In my opinion this occurs far to often and is caused by ignorance on part of Chair and the assembly in understanding Roberts Rules. These rules if oproperly administered will not only improve the Chair's control of the session but will enable the business of the condominium to be address systematically and efficiently. There are a goodly number of web sites which offer free training in Roberts. A Board using dictatorial fiats to accomplish their goals is not to be suffered by the assembly. The property belongs to the assembly and they have every right to have a voice as to how their homes shall be managed.

posted @ Saturday, September 18, 2010 7:19 AM by Charles Adler

I find the idea of the Assembly's vote trumping the Directors' vote intriguing and puzzling.  

In any large Condo in a vacation State like Florida, such as ours' attendees will always be a minority of owners. The special interests of a group of full time owners will prevail.  

In our condo, for instance, the majority of owners are "snow birds." They come for a season or sometimes only weekends. The full time owners are a 25% minority and tend to be retired, older, and they want the pool to be over-heated. If this were voted on by any Assembly we would have an over-heated pool.  

Most full time owners are on limited incomes compared to the "snowbirds." The fixed income group would by-pass proper maintenance of the property in order to keep their maintenance fees lower.  

The real majority of owners wants a full-service, well-maintained property. Maintenance fees are less of factor with owners for whom this is a second (or even third) home.  

Voting by the full assembly would downgrade the property and values.  
Roberts may call for voting by the entire Assembly that is present -- but, luckily for our condo, Roberts is used only when State Law, Docs, or By-Laws are silent. 

posted @ Saturday, September 18, 2010 8:13 AM by Michael E Katz

The is nothing that demands yyou employ Robert's Rules of Order in conducting your Board meetings. But what rules shall you use if not Roberts. A meeting with no rules of order leads to choas

posted @ Saturday, September 18, 2010 8:20 AM by Charles Adler

The rules are in this order: 
State Law  
Condo docs 
Condo by-laws 
Roberts is used only when the first three are silent on a subject. But voting by Directors is required by our docs.

posted @ Saturday, September 18, 2010 9:05 AM by Michael E Katz

I believe if you read your applicable state Condo law you'll fiind that it demands that the assembly (attendees vote)majoprity vote rules. State law preempts your bylaws and documents

posted @ Saturday, September 18, 2010 11:07 AM by Charles Adler

Our condo board has just recetnly taken over from the ddveloper. They do not have open sessions, at least they are not posted, as to time, place and date. When brought to their attention...they did admit they should probably be more open with their meetings. 
The accused the developer not being forthright with information, and now they are doing the same thing. 
We are in the State of MICHIGAN! 
Any recourse, since the property mgt. company seems to be non vocal in most respects. 
Thanks, David

posted @ Sunday, October 31, 2010 1:14 PM by Dave Ponzi

Download your state condo act from 
"http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/mcl/pdf/mcl-act-59-of-1978.pdf" You will find specific rules covering the transfer from the developer to the condo association.You will also find specific requirements for meetings of the Board of Directors .Also look for the sectyion dealing with closed meetigs and the conditions that must be m,et before having such a session. I think you'll also find that a board member must be a resident owner. Good Luck

posted @ Sunday, October 31, 2010 4:35 PM by Charles Adler

There are 4 completely new board members. They want a tutorial on Reserve Studies and want to ask specific questions of the representative of the reserve study provider about the study replacement allocations. What type of forum allows for this in AZ. Open, Work session, executive session

posted @ Monday, July 18, 2011 1:00 PM by SUZ

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