Transparency plays an integral role in running a respectable and effective homeowners association. Members appreciate being in the loop and knowing what is going on, how their money is being spent, and what changes are in the works. One of the ways that they stay on top of these issues is through open meetings.
What is an Open Meeting?
Most meetings held by the board are open meetings, meaning that homeowners are invited – and encouraged – to attend. This is where discussions take place regarding finances, common areas, upcoming projects, rules and regulations, complaints, vendor services, and more. There is usually time allotted for homeowners to voice their questions, concerns, and comments about what is happening in the community. Meetings are scheduled on a regular basis and communicated through newsletters, emails, or the community website so that members have advanced notice to attend. Open meetings are where the bulk of decisions are made and discussions take place.
What is a Closed Meeting?
However, the board may call closed meetings – also known as executive sessions – from time to time which members are not invited to attend. This is not a sneaky way to keep members in the dark or make decisions without further input. These meetings are used to discuss sensitive information and protect privacy. Reasons for a closed meeting may include:
- Disciplinary actions
- Personnel issues
- Legal matters
The board may meet with its attorney, community managers, or other specified individuals during these gatherings. They may discuss how to handle a legal claim, delinquent assessments by a homeowner, or concerns about personnel. These issues are not ones that are voted on by the members.
Knowing the Difference
There are clear rules and regulations about what can and cannot be discussed in each type of meeting. It is essential that board members are abiding by these standards and understand when it is appropriate to hold an executive session and when it is not. Laws regarding open and closed meetings and how they are handled can also vary from state to state. Board members should stay up-to-date on what their state dictates as well as their governing documents.
A property manager can be a valuable resource in maintaining compliance and dealing with challenging situations. They have a wealth of knowledge and tools at their disposal to support HOA operations and provide guidance when it comes to meetings and decision making. If there are issues or topics your HOA is unclear about or could use assistance with, contact Kuester today to find out how we can help.