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Subject: Email approval of minutes
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MaryB32
(Massachusetts)

Posts:1


01/17/2019 7:47 AM  
Our Board of Trustees meets every 2 months. Must they wait until the next meeting to approve the minutes of the previous meeting, or can they approve by email? If they wait until the next meeting, owners do not have access to information for more than 2 months after discussions of proposed action and, therefore, no opportunity for input. What might be a creative solution to this problem if there are issues with email approval? Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:243


01/17/2019 8:39 AM  
Depends on your CC&R's and state regulations. If the board is allowed to take "actions in writing", then I believe they should be allowed to approve the minutes via email. If your CC&R's do not allow that, or if state law prohibits it, then no, the board must approve the minutes in a properly noticed meeting.

Some associations distribute "unapproved" meeting minutes to the membership, making clear that they are unapproved. At my community we provide a summary of recent board actions in the newsletter.

One comment: while it's a good idea to allow owners to comment, their comments should not change the actual text of the minutes which are a record of board actions -- blow by blow descriptions of board discussions are usually not included. The only item I can see that may require a change to the minutes is an inaccurate summary of something a homeowner said during the homeowner forum section of the board meeting, and the homeowner would like to correct the summary. If a topic comes up in one of our board meetings that needs input from the membership, we communicate this outside of the minutes (emails, web site notices, newsletters, and/or written communications inviting commentary).
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2470


01/17/2019 9:38 AM  
What Cathy said.

If you were at the meeting (or even if you weren't), you don't really need to wait to the next meeting to speak your piece - go ahead and send a letter or email to the board anyway and tell them what you think. Keep in mind, your suggestion might not be addressed until the next meeting, especially if it requires something the board will have to vote on, but hopefully, it will give them something to think about.
ND
(PA)

Posts:283


01/17/2019 11:24 AM  
If docs and laws don't prevent the option of emailing approval of minutes, then that's the preferred method to do it quickly without having to physically get together and logistically arrange for a meeting to accomplish the same.

I've heard a few times about "unapproved" minutes being distributed as long as they are marked as "unapproved". I really can't get behind and agree with that concept. To distribute "unapproved" minutes, you'd need buy-in/agreement from all BOD Members to do so. In that case, why not just come to agreement on the approved minutes and distribute those (again, unless docs and laws restrict the ability to do all that through email). If not all BOD is in agreement with distribution of "unapproved" minutes and something w/in those minutes (that may not have been in the approved minutes) generates controversy; said controversy doesn't just go away when official minutes are released that say something different.

In my opinion, if people want to be informed quickly, they will attend the meetings (assuming an open meeting state). If they can't attend, then a spouse, neighbor, or friend should attend, take notes, and relay info. If nobody can attend, then all can wait to hear about the decisions whenever the minutes are approved/released. If they are so interested in on-goings of the BOD, then they can join the BOD and hear all first-hand.
BarbaraT1
(Texas)

Posts:159


01/17/2019 12:05 PM  
Minutes are not nearly as interesting as homeowners tend to think they are. They are a recitation of facts: when the meeting started, who was there, what decisions they made. Some homeowners think they are a transcript of every word spoken.

Owners who want to give input should attend the meetings and/or ask questions, rather than wait for minutes, which should reflect what has already been done, not what they are contemplating doing.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:6350


01/17/2019 2:06 PM  
In CA, per the Davis-Stirling Act, open meeting minutes must a be approved at an open meeting of the board and not via email. In fact in CA, boards only may make decisions at meetings unless an emergency.

CA HOA attorneys at Davi-Stirling.com suggest: "Corrections. Once a draft has been prepared, the Secretary ...can distribute the minutes to the board for review and feedback to the Secretary on any corrections that need to be made. This does not violate the Open Meeting Act because it’s not an email discussion. Instead, it is feedback from individual directors to the secretary on corrections and revisions. The draft minutes then go into the board packet for the next meeting for board discussion and approval."

Per CA Civil Code, a draft of the minutes or a summary of the meeting must be available to owners 30 days after the meeting. In CA, then, the board never had to meet to applied distribute draft minutes, which concerns ND. Since we didn't have a board meeting in 12/18, I wrote a request for the draft minutes of 11/27/18. They were emailed to me with DRAFT clearly stamped on each page.

Basically, then, as Cathy & Sheila wrote, it depends of your own bylaws and state laws in MS, Mary. Owners always can write their opinions to the board for consideration at the next meeting perhaps. But it's the board that decides and owners' chances for input are limited to meetings if a decision on the matter must be made by the board.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8273


01/17/2019 4:02 PM  
Posted By BarbaraT1 on 01/17/2019 12:05 PM
Minutes are not nearly as interesting as homeowners tend to think they are. They are a recitation of facts: when the meeting started, who was there, what decisions they made. Some homeowners think they are a transcript of every word spoken.

Owners who want to give input should attend the meetings and/or ask questions, rather than wait for minutes, which should reflect what has already been done, not what they are contemplating doing.




Well said. She understands.
SueW6
(Michigan)

Posts:491


01/18/2019 11:47 AM  
People just want to hear the gossip and opinions - neither of which should be in the minutes.

Barb’s right. Go to the meetings if you want to hear alk that.

Minutes should state the facts.

KerryL1
(California)

Posts:6350


01/18/2019 1:35 PM  
I agree with Barbara's assertion about what minutes should contain--only what was done not what was said.

But in HOAs like mine, about 27% of our owners are absentee landlords and cannot attend meetings. Another 10% of our owners only live here part-time so also must miss some open board meetings. They all must reply on minutes so I'm very glad that CA Civil Code mandates that such folks can, upon their written request, get the draft minutes or a meeting summary 30 days after the meetings. Once approved, they're included as an attachment to our monthly newsletter, which many absentee owners receive via email.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:6350


01/18/2019 2:04 PM  
I agree with Barbara's assertion about what minutes should contain--only what was done not what was said.

But in HOAs like mine, about 27% of our owners are absentee landlords and cannot attend meetings. Another 10% of our owners only live here part-time so also must miss some open board meetings. They all must reply on minutes so I'm very glad that CA Civil Code mandates that such folks can, upon their written request, get the draft minutes or a meeting summary 30 days after the meetings. Once approved, they're included as an attachment to our monthly newsletter, which many absentee owners receive via email.
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