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Subject: Emails between board members
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Author Messages
DarylF
(Washington)

Posts:148


09/19/2008 9:51 AM  
Are emails between board members part of the public record? Example, if I request to see the records of our HOA board should I be allowed to see emails amongst board members?

The emails are copied to all board members and decisions are being made through email, between meetings.

I know someone on the board that thinks i need to read them and I want to be sure I won’t get them in trouble before reading them.

Our state law:
http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=64.38.045
says “All records of the association, including the names and addresses of owners and other occupants of the lots, shall be available for examination by all owners…”

I’m thinking these emails are clearly “records of the association”?

Thoughts?

Thanks.
MaryA1


Posts:0


09/19/2008 9:55 AM  
Daryl,

I agree; however I don't agree the board should be conducting business thru email communication; this is the same as holding a closed meeting. In AZ the board would be in violation of the open meeting law! Of course if your state doesn't have one, then it's OK -- I just don't think it's right.
AnnaD2
(Florida)

Posts:935


09/19/2008 10:02 AM  
We all e-mail each other every single day. It's called communicating. We don't make decisions or "vote" on anything. We may do follow ups on things already decided at meetings. For instance: the Board may have voted at a meeting to have a landscaping company do a job for a certain amount of money, and agreed that the work should be scheduled. After that meeting it's not unusual for a board member to let everyone know which date the job will be done; or that the job was done; or something else pertaining to that topic.

If anyone wants to see those e-mails, they're welcome to....but it would probably bore them to death.
JohnK3
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:967


09/19/2008 10:09 AM  
Our Board conducts much of our business via e-mail. If we didn't, we'd be scheduling meetings every week, which would not be workable. And no, we don't consider these exchanges part of the official or otherwise documents of the HOA. They are private communications among three guys trying to keep the balls in the air - most often to develop a consensus, share news, or address problems. Discussions via computer rather than phone or in person.
DarylF
(Washington)

Posts:148


09/19/2008 10:11 AM  
http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=64.38.035

"Except as provided in this subsection, all meetings of the board of directors shall be open for observation by all owners of record and their authorized agents. The board of directors shall keep minutes of all actions taken by the board, which shall be available to all owners."

The exception is closed sessions, legal stuff, violations...

If they are making decisions and talking board action over email are they breaking state law?

Thanks for the replys. I emailed my state leg support line for an answer too.
MaryA1


Posts:0


09/19/2008 10:19 AM  
Posted By DarylF on 09/19/2008 10:11 AM
http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=64.38.035

"Except as provided in this subsection, all meetings of the board of directors shall be open for observation by all owners of record and their authorized agents. The board of directors shall keep minutes of all actions taken by the board, which shall be available to all owners."

The exception is closed sessions, legal stuff, violations...

If they are making decisions and talking board action over email are they breaking state law?

Thanks for the replys. I emailed my state leg support line for an answer too.




Daryl,

YES! Why? Because the law states ALL meetings of the BOD SHALL be open to ALL members. If action is being taken by email then the "meeting" is not open to ALL members. A number of years ago the AZ Attorney General issued an opinion stating anytime a quorum of the board meets to discuss HOA matters, whether action is taken or not it is a board meeting and must be noticed. Using this philosophy regarding what constitutes a meeting you can see that an email communication that goes to every member of the board (resulting in a quorum) constitutes a meeting.
JohnK3
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:967


09/19/2008 10:19 AM  
If the Board was in a live chat room, one could argue a meeting takes place.

But if #1 e-mails #2 with a copy to #3, and #2 replies to #1 & #3, then #3 adds a thought to #1 & #2..............

Come on. Volunteered service is taxing enough. Making the Board's job more difficult is a good starter recipe for the Board taking a hike.
DarylF
(Washington)

Posts:148


09/19/2008 10:36 AM  
Posted By JohnK3 on 09/19/2008 10:19 AM
If the Board was in a live chat room, one could argue a meeting takes place.

But if #1 e-mails #2 with a copy to #3, and #2 replies to #1 & #3, then #3 adds a thought to #1 & #2..............

Come on. Volunteered service is taxing enough. Making the Board's job more difficult is a good starter recipe for the Board taking a hike.




From what my friend on the board is saying, the emails are meeting items that come up between meetings and issues they missed at meetings. My friend says she keeps replying to all saying this needs to be discussed at the meetings, but she is ignored and the other two vote and make decisions.

It's not just friendly conversation.
JohnK3
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:967


09/19/2008 10:46 AM  
Daryl,

I'll now limit my response to whether a meeting has taken place via e-mail exchanges. I don't think so, and my Encarta dictionary agrees.
BonnieE
(Illinois)

Posts:331


09/19/2008 11:43 AM  
Regarding the use of emails to "conduct" Board business between meetings:

My Board conducts business via email, and also by closed meetings (“informal” meetings that may not include all board members, but usually the majority, and which have a specific purpose, such as to discuss development of a new policy, revision of rules, a proposed budget, etc.) Email business typically relates to a HO’s Alteration or Addition request, a response to a HO query/request, or a contractor proposal for which a decision is needed prior to the next Board meeting. The result of the email vote then results in an action taken (approval or disapproval of HO request or contractor proposal). These emailed votes are then ratified at the next Board meeting.

Would these be considered a meeting which should have been open to the membership? Our governing docs have a requirement for open meetings to the membership, except for enforcement sensitive issues (violation hearing).

Should the content of the emails or notes from the informal meetings be retained as part of the HOA records and be made available to any member who requests them? Is there a legal requirement for retention of HOA electronic records such as exists at the federal and state governmental level?

What do you think?

Based on what Daryl is asking about, it sounds like my Board does the same, and perhaps goes even further. I share the same concerns.

Bonnie
GeraldT4


Posts:1022


09/19/2008 11:45 AM  
JohnK3 - You absolutely are holding a meeting in your email communications. You state, "Our Board conducts much of our business via e-mail.". Now you come up with an excuse, 'If we didn't, we'd be scheduling meetings every week". And I say, 1) so what if you have to meet every week, and 2) publish the emails.
SusanW1
(Michigan)

Posts:5202


09/19/2008 3:34 PM  
UNLESS YOUR DOCUMENTS say you can hold meetings via email, you can not conduct business that way Why? Because it deprives the right of all persons able to attend the meeting of face to face discussion and the motion/debate/voting process. Also, minutes can't be taken and approved by the entire group that should witness the legality of the meeting and its decisions.

Some might say, "depends on what 'conduct business' means", but I say if decisions are being made, money committed, and actions planned, then THAT is conducting business.

Our bylaws have a section in them called "Holding a Meeting without a meeting" where the president can poll the board by phone, pass aa motion, and then it is ratified at the next meeting. But that is for EMERGENCY issues only.

The liability for the board in making email decisons is enormous.

Live people, with live minutes taken at a live meeting, please!!!

P.S. This does NOT include a phone call telling you that the landscaper is going to start on Tuesday instead of Monday.
MaryA1


Posts:0


09/19/2008 4:30 PM  
Posted By JohnK3 on 09/19/2008 10:19 AM
If the Board was in a live chat room, one could argue a meeting takes place.

But if #1 e-mails #2 with a copy to #3, and #2 replies to #1 & #3, then #3 adds a thought to #1 & #2..............

Come on. Volunteered service is taxing enough. Making the Board's job more difficult is a good starter recipe for the Board taking a hike.




John,

The AZ Attorney General would view that as a meeting! Everyone is responding with their opinions; if that's not a meeting I don't know what it is. It's not a matter of making the board's job more difficult, it's a matter of being open with the members and giving them an opportunity to attend the meeting and in AZ, at least, the right to speak b/4 the board votes on an issue.

BTW, why does your board need to commuicate on a daily/weekly basis with such a small assn? I think you 3 guys need a woman to organize you! LOL


DonnaS
(Tennessee)

Posts:5671


09/19/2008 4:40 PM  

Mary,
We are seeing this more and more, Boards doing lots of e-mailing between themselves, which actually is skirting the open meeting laws and Statutes. Florida has them, Arizona and California as well have them. I am very much against this happening unless it is an absolute nescessity. We used to do our homework on an individual basis, get to the meetings and then discuss the issues at hand. Memberships have the right to know what is going on with their HOAs. When a decision could not be aquired, then we tabled the item.

I think about this often because it comes up here so often. Some of it is the lack of following what Boards are supposed to do and that is to have a true open meeting. Discuss items before the membership, do your homework ahead of time and do what you should do at the meetings and that is to be informative and present intellegent information to the members.
BonnieE
(Illinois)

Posts:331


09/19/2008 4:53 PM  
Susan – what you are saying is what I thought. But, where does one draw the line? It seems a bit blurred to me when it comes down to the actual implementation.

Is an informal meeting to discuss a proposed budget and develop revisions to it for the PM to address acceptable? This occurs here. The only thing that happens at the Board meeting is to vote on the revised proposed budget – whether it can be sent out to the HOs for review/comment. Of course, the vote is always unanimous because everyone has already agreed at the informal meeting and/or via email (for acceptance of the revisions). Is this acceptable or not?

A HO sends in a request to install a satellite dish. The Board discusses via email; votes a decision, and the HO gets a letter. This decision is ratified at the next Board meeting. Acceptable or not?

A HO makes a request for landscaping problem to be addressed. Board makes decision via email and response sent to HO. Depending on request, may or may not be ratified at next Board meeting. If $ is involved will be ratified at next Board meeting. Acceptable or not?

The Board conducts a landscaping review with the landscaper. Orally they agree as to what will be included in the proposal. Proposal received; may be discussed in one of the informal meetings; sometimes at the next Board meeting. Decision made at Board meeting on whether to accept “as is” or with noted changes. Acceptable?

Our docs do not address email - but it is used.


Four Board meetings per year are required (5 are held). A special meeting may be called by the pres or 1/3 of the directors. Our declaration states: “Each meeting of the Board shall be open to any Owner except….” (for the usual – litigation, violations, info regarding employment, dismissal, etc. of an employee).

So, is the Board conducting business outside of a board meeting?

Thanks - Bonnie
SusanW1
(Michigan)

Posts:5202


09/19/2008 5:26 PM  
From your examples, it seems like your board is meeting and conducting business via email.

Do your bylaws permit this?

Some Boards, where the membership is scattered and/or seasonal, meet via teleconference. BUT - they are not subject to general membership attendance at meetings.

This is going to be a real hard habit to break. Make sure that at meetings, motions are made and voted on, and recorded in the minutes for EACH action that the board takes.

All it would take is ONE complaint from a Member and all of you could be RECALLED!!

DonnaS
(Tennessee)

Posts:5671


09/19/2008 5:35 PM  

Bonnie,
I would say from the examples that you wrote, yes, your Board is conducting business outside of Board meetings.

In Fl, even ARC meetings are required to be posted 48 hours prior to the meeting.Sometimes, there might be some controversial item up for approval and by posting the meeting, neighbors are open to attending in case they want to voice an opinion. No secrecy from the committee.

What you posted seems to be mostly ARC intems so that could be easliy fixed by a regular schedule for all ARC decisions. We did ours monthly in the beginning but changed to bi monthly when the concept of getting approval finally sunk in.

The iformal meeting as we call them--"workshops" is another good vehicle to allow membership to be involved or just to sit and watch their Boards at work. But they also must be posted 48 hours because there is a quorum of the Board in attendance.
MicheleD
(Kentucky)

Posts:4491


09/19/2008 6:11 PM  
In this particular case, I strongly urge the original poster to contact an appropriate attorney in Washington and obtain any advice and guidance from him.

FrancescaM
(Washington)

Posts:264


09/19/2008 6:24 PM  
Our board was advised by our HOA atty. ALL EMAILS ARE ADMISSIABLE IN COURT. DO NOT EMAIL ANYTHING THAT YOU WOULDN'T MIND A JURY READING/

We get emails from the HOA OM in regards to bids recieved or if they need advisement on any already voted on issue. Otherwise any other communication, discussing of itmes is considered a closed meeting and its against the law.
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


09/19/2008 6:29 PM  
To all,
If e-mails are suspect, what about telephones? Also we sort of agreed here at one time that a couple of Board members sitting around discussing Board business was indeed a meeting. Is a committee meeting and decisions made to spend association money under the quidelines of the documents subject to restrictions. Is one BOD discussing Board business with two committee members restricted? All kinds of little serpents lying around in the weeds here.

Personally, if I had no cause to question the Boards veracity and this e-mail stuff did not replace open meetings, I doubt it would bother me. Now if Board meetings were closed, I would be more concerned about the closed meeting than the e-mails. In the real world, can this be controlled and can we rely on the information in the e-mail as being an edict or authentic, if we want to use it as a weapon against the Board. Probable in our day and age, e-mails can be damning and some legally so, but I bet you have to search far and wide to amass enough to convince a Judge that the e-mails constituted a meeting, especially if there was no proof of harm, and the judge would send the lot to jail for criminal conduct. Which brings up another snake. What kind of offence would it be, criminal or civil?
DavidW5
(Virginia)

Posts:488


09/19/2008 7:03 PM  
It seems to me that the above discussion has ignored one critical factor as to whether email discussions or face-to-face discussions among board members are "meetings" subject to the open meeting requirement: is a quorum of the board participating or present? If there is no quorum, then no official action can result and a board meeting subject to open meeting requirements (in my opinion) has not taken place. If a quorum of the board participates and the discussion results in an action by the board, then the open meeting requirement applies.
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


09/20/2008 1:42 AM  
David,
I suppose consenual intent could be the crux in the matter. In any event, and being remote from the scene, I think it is hard for this group, to have much to say that is authenic. All of the exmples cited probably happen at one time or other. Ideally the Board should do nothing that casts suspecion and doubt on their conduct. They should be as pure as the newly driven snow.........., but they are not, and it is a tough enough road to confront the Boards action and have it changed. Maybe wide lattitude is the answer when trying to judge a Board sending e-mails back and forth. It certainly makes their job easier............and I don't suppose that is a bad thing.........all benefit. Same for other kinds of communications, but if wrongful intent is involved, they are accountable.
GlenL
(Ohio)

Posts:4880


09/20/2008 5:40 AM  
Daryl, while the emails are indeed part of the Association records and you should be able to view them, your chance of getting them absent a court order is probably nil. However your friend can show them to you. Unless they are between the BOD and the Associations attorney they are not privileged. If I send you an email, I have no power to stop you from forwarding it to another party anymore than I can stop you from allowing a third party to read a letter I send you. Now they could try to include a confidentiality notice in the email such as many businesses use but I doubt that it would stand up in court as you are a member of the Association and ultimately entitled to the information and once it is forwarded to you, you become the intended recipient. The law in your state may vary so check local listings.

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This message, including any attachments, is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply e-mail and destroy all copies of the original message.

HindmanSanchez had an excellent article on this in their e-newsletter:
http://www.imakenews.com/ortenhindman/e_article000703786.cfm?x=bcLh4H3,b4CySVHk,w

"Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most." - Mark Twain
GlenL
(Ohio)

Posts:4880


09/20/2008 5:45 AM  
Posted By RobertR1 on 09/19/2008 6:29 PM
To all,
If e-mails are suspect, what about telephones?



Robert, Ohio condo law does specifically allow telephone meetings:
5311.08
(4)(a) A meeting of the board of directors may be held by any method of communication, including electronic or telephonic communication provided that each member of the board can hear, participate, and respond to every other member of the board.

(b) In lieu of conducting a meeting, the board of directors may take action with the unanimous written consent of the members of the board. Those written consents shall be filed with the minutes of the meetings of the board.



"Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most." - Mark Twain
RW1


Posts:0


09/20/2008 6:30 AM  
Our HOA By-Laws specifically address "Action taken without a meeting". Basically a written instrument signed by all BOD members specifying the "action". It is ratified once ALL BOD members have signed it then it is read into the next BOD meeting.

Florida law also allows such "business without a meeting" in HOAs. It can be found in the statutes regulating "Corporations not-for-profit" (or similar named).

Then there are so called "emergency meetings" which may be called requiring no notice. Ignorance usualy results in abuse of this clause.

RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


09/20/2008 6:53 AM  
Glen and RW.

Of course telephone conference are standard fare and accepted. But these procedures require Quorum certification etc. No problem there, in fact we are using a Skype (sic) free service for our televison phone meeting services.

The problem as stated seems to be should or does a couple Board members e-mailing each other and doing board business. Or talking on the phone and doing Board BUSINESSS.

The "Conducting business without meeting" clause deals with emergency type specific meeting to allow for quick board action dealing with a specific issue. I tink we hashed that out one or two other times. As usual, we all didn't agree completely but close enough.
RW1


Posts:0


09/20/2008 7:22 AM  
My comments are in regards to Florida Law only...

Negative on the "emergency" type designation for "action without a meeting", etc.

There is a very specific and separate paragraph describing "emergency meeting" requirements in the same chapter (Corp. n-f-profit) statutes. That is why I said ignorance usually results in the misuse of these clauses. etc.
DarylF
(Washington)

Posts:148


09/20/2008 7:44 AM  
great discussion, thanks everyone.

Glen, that article is perfect. I'll be sending that on to my board.
JohnK3
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:967


09/20/2008 9:54 AM  
Posted By MaryA1 on 09/19/2008 4:30 PM
Posted By JohnK3 on 09/19/2008 10:19 AM
If the Board was in a live chat room, one could argue a meeting takes place.

But if #1 e-mails #2 with a copy to #3, and #2 replies to #1 & #3, then #3 adds a thought to #1 & #2..............

Come on. Volunteered service is taxing enough. Making the Board's job more difficult is a good starter recipe for the Board taking a hike.




John,

The AZ Attorney General would view that as a meeting! Everyone is responding with their opinions; if that's not a meeting I don't know what it is. It's not a matter of making the board's job more difficult, it's a matter of being open with the members and giving them an opportunity to attend the meeting and in AZ, at least, the right to speak b/4 the board votes on an issue.

BTW, why does your board need to commuicate on a daily/weekly basis with such a small assn? I think you 3 guys need a woman to organize you! LOL






Mary,

Many a truth is told in jest, eh?

Though we are a runt by most HOA standards, we feel the best way to keep the Board ahead of any curves in the road is by keeping the 3 of us up-to-date on anything afoot to avoid surprises, simply share info and allow consensus to germinate (if one is eventually needed). For instance, we have our Maple Tree insurance claim and our Ponds cleanup in the works. I’m point man. I have communications with the insurance co. and contractors re: tree removal and replacement. I have communications with the Ponds firm. I have meetings with them. I have telephone calls and email exchanges with them. I share info about each and every contact with my fellow volunteers.

Returning to the email/meetings issue:

Our ByLaws require notice to Membership only for the annual meeting and for (properly called) special Membership meetings. Our ByLaws are silent regarding Board meetings of any kind, except for quorum and notice (to Board members) requirements, and voting rules when a financial interest of a Board member may be in play. Notice is waived if all participate.

>>>3.15 Action Without Meeting

Any action by the Executive Board required or permitted to be taken at any meeting may be taken without meeting if all members of the Board shall individually or collectively consent in writing to such action. Any such written consent shall be filed with the minutes of the proceedings of the Executive Board.<<<

Note: We voluntarily provide Membership with the minutes of our Board meetings after we have actually “met” (as in the flesh) as opposed to copying them on every one of our email exchanges.

Our HOA is in excellent financial shape and functions well. We have no dues delinquencies, no current Membership gripes to address, healthy reserves. Membership apathy? Yes. But they seem pleased with the way things are going, esp. after we went self-managed.

Something’s working nicely in our tiny neighborhood – The Board and its choice of procedures.

CarrieB5
(Florida)

Posts:1


09/20/2008 11:34 AM  
We've got a 5 member board and 3 board members regularly e mail e other and chat among themselves. At meetings they all vote as a block.
They don't include the other two board members on the e mails nor discussions.
We're in FL. Is this legal?
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


09/20/2008 12:45 PM  
John,

I would have to say, "Chaulk one up for the Good guys."
You are indeed fortunate to be able to say that. It takes hard work and it takes persistence to keep on top of things.

Some associations have troubles everywhere they look and experience has pointed out to me, for an association to get in the inverse position from yours that also takes a lot of time and a lot of persistence, and in the end all is left is trouble. Sad to say, nearly all the troubled regimes are products of wayward boards, either by design or bad guidence.
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


09/20/2008 3:00 PM  
Carrie,

This is a tough position to be in.

As discussed in other threads, sometimes the answers to problems turns out to be a long process. In your case, if three members are voting as a block to gain majority, that is sort of what you are shooting for. But I understand what you are saying. We just went through some long termed non-productive management by BOD and finally now have the majority and with next election, hopefully will have a united Board.
Direct to your question; as I would see it, if your support is with the two and against the three, work to get the majority. I doubt you will find anything in any requirements that would forbid board members from taking to each other and certainly how the vote is not to be challenged. You could present your concerns to the Board and ask that they refrain from their conduct as it appears detrimental to the business of the Board. Maybe a petition sign by members expressing their concern might work.
MaryA1


Posts:0


09/20/2008 3:07 PM  
Posted By BonnieE on 09/19/2008 4:53 PM
Susan – what you are saying is what I thought. But, where does one draw the line? It seems a bit blurred to me when it comes down to the actual implementation.

Is an informal meeting to discuss a proposed budget and develop revisions to it for the PM to address acceptable? This occurs here. The only thing that happens at the Board meeting is to vote on the revised proposed budget – whether it can be sent out to the HOs for review/comment. Of course, the vote is always unanimous because everyone has already agreed at the informal meeting and/or via email (for acceptance of the revisions). Is this acceptable or not?

A HO sends in a request to install a satellite dish. The Board discusses via email; votes a decision, and the HO gets a letter. This decision is ratified at the next Board meeting. Acceptable or not?

A HO makes a request for landscaping problem to be addressed. Board makes decision via email and response sent to HO. Depending on request, may or may not be ratified at next Board meeting. If $ is involved will be ratified at next Board meeting. Acceptable or not?

The Board conducts a landscaping review with the landscaper. Orally they agree as to what will be included in the proposal. Proposal received; may be discussed in one of the informal meetings; sometimes at the next Board meeting. Decision made at Board meeting on whether to accept “as is” or with noted changes. Acceptable?

Our docs do not address email - but it is used.


Four Board meetings per year are required (5 are held). A special meeting may be called by the pres or 1/3 of the directors. Our declaration states: “Each meeting of the Board shall be open to any Owner except….” (for the usual – litigation, violations, info regarding employment, dismissal, etc. of an employee).

So, is the Board conducting business outside of a board meeting?

Thanks - Bonnie




Bonnie,

All the actions you describe would be a violation of the open meeting law in AZ. The purpose of holding open meetings is to give the members the opportunity to listen to the business being discussed and, in AZ at least, an opportunity to comment b/4 the board takes action. This is called keeping the lines of communication open and not conducting business behind closed doors. It promotes goodwill in the community and goes a long way to keeping the peace. When the members know exactly what you're doing you're less apt to be criticized.
MaryA1


Posts:0


09/20/2008 3:25 PM  
Posted By RobertR1 on 09/19/2008 6:29 PM
To all,
If e-mails are suspect, what about telephones? Also we sort of agreed here at one time that a couple of Board members sitting around discussing Board business was indeed a meeting. Is a committee meeting and decisions made to spend association money under the quidelines of the documents subject to restrictions. Is one BOD discussing Board business with two committee members restricted? All kinds of little serpents lying around in the weeds here.

Personally, if I had no cause to question the Boards veracity and this e-mail stuff did not replace open meetings, I doubt it would bother me. Now if Board meetings were closed, I would be more concerned about the closed meeting than the e-mails. In the real world, can this be controlled and can we rely on the information in the e-mail as being an edict or authentic, if we want to use it as a weapon against the Board. Probable in our day and age, e-mails can be damning and some legally so, but I bet you have to search far and wide to amass enough to convince a Judge that the e-mails constituted a meeting, especially if there was no proof of harm, and the judge would send the lot to jail for criminal conduct. Which brings up another snake. What kind of offence would it be, criminal or civil?




Robert,

The key to it is whether or not a quorum of the board is meeting. If the email goes out to all the members and they respond then it is construed to be a meeting. One board member speaking to a committee is not a board meeting. But that committee meeting must also be noticed to be in compliance with an open meeting law which states ALL meetings of the assn. In 2005 the AG of AZ issued an opinion regarding the public body open meeting law and email communications. Now I know this particular OML does not apply to HOAs, but I feel certain he would issue the same opinion regarding the HOA OML. Here's what his conclusion to the 11 page opinion was:

"Email communications among a quorum of the board are subject to the same restrictions that apply to all other forms of communications among a quorum of the board. Emails exchanged among a quorum of a board that involve discussions, deliberations or taking legal action on matters that may reasonable be expected to come before the board constitute a meeting rhrough technological means. While some unilateral email communications from a board member to a quorum would not violate the OML, a board member may not propose legal action in an email. Finally, a quorum of the board cannot use email as a device to circumvent the requirements in the OML."

I strongly disagree with your beliefs concerning a court ruling, simply because proof of harm has nothing to do with the reasons for having the OML, which is to ". . . enhance homeowners rights by allowing them to attend board meetings. . . and to open the conduct of business to public scrutiny and prohibit decision-making in secret." (quoted material taken from an AG open meeting law opinion.) BTW it would be a civil offense to violate the open meeting law. And, frankly, I can't see how conducting business by email is any different than conducting business in a closed session, especially if it is business that should be conducted in an open session. In neither instance is the member allowed to be a party to the business being conducted -- a direct violation of any open meeting law.
MaryA1


Posts:0


09/20/2008 3:37 PM  
Posted By JohnK3 on 09/20/2008 9:54 AM
Mary,

Many a truth is told in jest, eh?

Our ByLaws require notice to Membership only for the annual meeting and for (properly called) special Membership meetings. Our ByLaws are silent regarding Board meetings of any kind, except for quorum and notice (to Board members) requirements, and voting rules when a financial interest of a Board member may be in play. Notice is waived if all participate.

>>>3.15 Action Without Meeting

Any action by the Executive Board required or permitted to be taken at any meeting may be taken without meeting if all members of the Board shall individually or collectively consent in writing to such action. Any such written consent shall be filed with the minutes of the proceedings of the Executive Board.<<<

Note: We voluntarily provide Membership with the minutes of our Board meetings after we have actually “met” (as in the flesh) as opposed to copying them on every one of our email exchanges.

Our HOA is in excellent financial shape and functions well. We have no dues delinquencies, no current Membership gripes to address, healthy reserves. Membership apathy? Yes. But they seem pleased with the way things are going, esp. after we went self-managed.

Something’s working nicely in our tiny neighborhood – The Board and its choice of procedures.





John,

I think most bylaws are silent on noticing members of board meetings. And, if there is no state law addressing this issue, then you can hold your meetings w/o the presence of members. I'm glad to hear there are no problems in your HOA and I'm sure it's because the board is open with the members, i.e. voluntarily providing them with copies of board meeting minutes, etc. That is the key to harmony w/i the community!

My assn bylaws have an article titled: "Written instrument in lieu of meeting", which is akin to the AZ Nonprofit Corp state law "Action w/o meeting". I think most nonprofit corp statutes have that law.
MaryA1


Posts:0


09/20/2008 3:41 PM  
Posted By CarrieB5 on 09/20/2008 11:34 AM
We've got a 5 member board and 3 board members regularly e mail e other and chat among themselves. At meetings they all vote as a block.
They don't include the other two board members on the e mails nor discussions.
We're in FL. Is this legal?




Carrie,

I hope Donna will weigh in on this; but I do believe the actions of these 3 board members is a violation of FL HOA law. Three members of a 5-member board constitutes a quorum which is a meeting. I don't know how the FL law reads, but in AZ email comm. between a quorum of the board is a violation of the OML. It doesn't matter whether any action was taken or not the violation is that a quorum of the board constitutes a meeting and all meetings must be noticed. Check out your FL HOA statutes.
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


09/20/2008 3:53 PM  
MaryA,
I take no exception to your analysis if we accept the requirement of a quroum. Then I think that is a horse of a different color. I think I understand why the Az requirements are written as they are. I would suggest the words chosen there amplifies the absolute need to have open meeting, and I agree, as you do. But, when I state,"as long as no harm is done," such as actions taken without quroum, which would indicate harm done, I am referring to a judge ruling on a bunch of he said, she said, which would be crux of whether a meeting was held or not. Or if less than a majority of a board exchanged e-mails about Board Business. I think the judge would look to "intent", meaning intent to do something (action) as the result of the e-mail dialogue. I also would say, if e-mails or phone conversation have to have quroum, what about casual verbal conversation face to board member face, or face to member face.
I know what you are saying and agree in principal, but it is a tough job to prove the after the facts.
DonnaS
(Tennessee)

Posts:5671


09/21/2008 12:02 PM  

Carrie,

Mary has told you the correct response. The Board doing business by e-mail is against Florida Statutes 720:303-(2) BOARD MEETINGS. All Board meetings must be open to the membership, posted 48 hours prior and include an agenda.

The sad news is that being that there are 3 of them, they can lie and say that they are not doing business, voting or deciding on association business. If you sincerely want to address this, write a letter stateing what you told us and read it at the open meeting. Have the 5th member also back you up. They will have to address this in front of the membership. Don't be afraid, just call them on it and say that this must cease because there are 5 BODs, not just these 3.
JD2
(Arizona)

Posts:4


08/25/2010 11:02 PM  
Mary,

My question for you has to do with exceptions regarding confidentiality
of information and issues that take place during the exec. session.
We have a rogue board member that produced $100,000.00 to demonstrare how much he is willing to spend to sue the board.
He has thus far refused to specify the exact charges, and says that he will not proceed as long as two current members resign.
He has expressed the desire to break this community financially referencing cosy to rach homeowner.
He has historically expressed his desire for more power, and has stated that the problem can be solved as long as his demands are met.
I sought legal advice that said that the cloak of confientiality doe not apply when there is threat of a lawsuit.

We would like to inform the community of his intention before the the electiond next month, bit our management company prefers no action
shoild be taken to provide the community with nothing but the facts as presented by the member practicing extortion.
Is it true that if there id a threat of lawsuit, that the confidentiality aspect does not apply to the specific issue of suiy?

Hopinh you can give us some direction
Does the fact that the threat of lawsuit remove the confidentiality
of that part of the minuted?

Many thanks in advance,
AZ HOA board member

J M Delany

JD2
(Arizona)

Posts:4


08/25/2010 11:02 PM  
Mary,

My question for you has to do with exceptions regarding confidentiality
of information and issues that take place during the exec. session.
We have a rogue board member that produced $100,000.00 to demonstrare how much he is willing to spend to sue the board.
He has thus far refused to specify the exact charges, and says that he will not proceed as long as two current members resign.
He has expressed the desire to break this community financially referencing cosy to rach homeowner.
He has historically expressed his desire for more power, and has stated that the problem can be solved as long as his demands are met.
I sought legal advice that said that the cloak of confientiality doe not apply when there is threat of a lawsuit.

We would like to inform the community of his intention before the the electiond next month, bit our management company prefers no action
shoild be taken to provide the community with nothing but the facts as presented by the member practicing extortion.
Is it true that if there id a threat of lawsuit, that the confidentiality aspect does not apply to the specific issue of suiy?

Hopinh you can give us some direction
Does the fact that the threat of lawsuit remove the confidentiality
of that part of the minuted?

Many thanks in advance,
AZ HOA board member

J M Delany

MaryA1


Posts:0


08/26/2010 7:53 AM  
JD,

According to the open meeting law (ARS33-1248 for condos or 33-1804 for planned communities) the board may meet in a closed session to discuss: "Legal advice from an attorney for the board or the assn. On final resulution of any matter for which the board received legal advice or that concerned pending or contemplated litigation, the board may disclose information about the matter in an open meeting except for matters that are required to remain confidential by the terms of a settlement agreement or judgment."
Therefore, even if the "cloak of confidentiality" does not apply to a threat of a lawsuit, as your attorney has advised, the BOD may meet in a closed session to discuss this threat with an attorney. Any legal advice received from an attorney may take place in a closed session. IMO, the board should meet with their attorney immediately to discuss this issue and find out what action they should take, if any. Normally, threats are best left unanswered but since his problems are with fellow board members which may be making it somewhat impossible to conduct the business of the assn, it may be imperative to deal with his threats. Regardless of what the property manager wants or thinks, the BOD is in control and they can do as they wish. Perhaps the lawyer can give the board some advice on how to proceed in view of the upcoming election, re: what info they can disclose to the members about this situation, if any.

May I ask what is his complaint with the two board members who he wants to resign?
MichaelK11
(Texas)

Posts:432


08/26/2010 8:15 AM  
Regarding meetings and email, my HOA (and probably many others) have specific provisions in the Bylaws for taking action without a meeting and for meeting via telephone.

In our case (and probably many others), action taken without a meeting, but written (including electronic) instruments, require consent by all Directors. (We are informal, and take that to mean participation or non-objection by all Directors.) We report such actions at the next meeting and that's how they get in the minutes. I think this is roughly consistent with laws in other states that give each Director a veto on e-mail decisions.

If action by email is "without a meeting" then it's not a meeting, but that's just semantics. The principles are that any Director has (or should have) the power to insist that an action requires a meeting with live discussion, and generally doing things by email must hide it from the Membership or exclude some Directors from fully participating in the process.

(For us, participating in a meeting by telephone is permitted, as long as it complies with state corporation laws and at least two Directors are present at a physical meeting location.)

I would support another principle -- that any Directors can discuss anything they like in any private context they like, just like anything else, and can come to a consensus as people tend to do; but they must still take action at a lawful, noticed meeting (or by email, as permitted) and must open it to discussion before voting. They can't just act as if the decision was already made, certainly not as if it need not be discussed or recorded, and they can't just say they've decided and vote without summarizing the discussion and reasons and leaving that open to further discussion. This principle is not sufficient to the laws of AZ and a few other states, but I disagree with laws that say people can't talk about things.

=-=-=

JD,

If he is threatening legal action, I would both consult an attorney and also issue a notice of claim to your D&O insurance carrier. I would also call your insurance agency and ask if you have coverage if a Director sues the HOA, although I think you would -- he would probably have to sue in his capacity as a homeowner/member, not as the HOA BoD.

He is probably all bluster, but this has the potential to turn into a nasty and expensive legal battle (especially if he has complaints of any technical merit), so you should give your insurer an opportunity to get involved as early as possible to mitigate trouble and expense.

What he is doing -- "I have grievances that I don't want to discuss or allow you to address directly, but get rid of these two guys I don't like and all will be well" is purely extortion. For one, you cannot respond to this type of threat -- you can address grievances, but you cannot allow one individual to exert excessive control over the constitution of your BoD. That would infringe on the rights of all the other members. Also, if you give in to someone like this, he will probably have additional demands after he gets his way, and he will practically own the HOA until someone stands up to him.

Your choices are to reason with him or to stand up to him (which may amount to calling his bluff.

Thanks,
Michael K
MaryA1


Posts:0


08/26/2010 10:07 AM  

Michael,

Although not specifically stated in the AZ Open Meeting Law, but several attorneys general have issued opinions, a meeting of the board occurs when a quorum meets to discuss assn business whether any action or vote is taken or not. That would include email discussions and/or actions. One director/officer may speak to another and state opinions as long as a quorum does not exist. As long as a quorum is present it's a meeting and the open meeting laws apply. To operate otherwise would be to deny the members their right to attend and speak at a meeting, including speaking b/4 an action or vote is taken by the board regarding a specific agenda item.
MichaelK11
(Texas)

Posts:432


08/26/2010 2:36 PM  
Mary, this makes sense to me with respect to conversations in person or even by phone. People participate concurrently in conversations, so they are "present". How is someone who participates in an email exchange "present". Consider this message forum: I was not present when you wrote your post -- I came along later, read it, and am responding, although not in your presence. We are participating in a discussion, just as if we sent letters by USPS, but I wouldn't call this a meeting (even if you and I were members of a deliberative body wherein a quorum could be constituted by two).

I agree with you to the extent that taking action without an open meeting excludes those not present. I think we can both agree that holds, for action taken via written or electronic communication -- whether we say that is without a meeting or in a closed meeting via email.

I think we disagree about whether the Directors should be permitted to discuss matters (but take no action) if there may be a quorum present when no meeting was scheduled or noticed. Frankly, such a restriction could be easily avoided by simply Directors simply calling each other one at a time (similar to an email chain with limited distribution of each message) instead of conferring together. A spontaneous discussion would be illegal, but a planned, rolling discussion would be legal. I prefer that people be allowed to talk about whatever they like, but action must be discussed and taken at proper, open meetings -- regardless of whether it is also discussed at other times.

I understand the law in Arizona does not conform to my preference.
KW3
(California)

Posts:146


08/26/2010 4:04 PM  
I have a silly question call if you may: how does (do) an email (emails) among BDs become HOA's official record(s)? especially when the secretary and the bookkeeper (e.g., MM) are not involved in the communication?
MaryA1


Posts:0


08/27/2010 8:30 AM  
KW,

IMO, as long as a majority of the board (i.e. a quorum) is involved in the email communication then it is an official record. In AZ this would be considered a meeting even though the board members are not physically gathered together in one location.
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


08/27/2010 8:53 AM  
Mary and all,
If not this way, the e-mails could not be and would not be official correspondence subject to discovery......????
As this discussion proves again, not one size fits all and court requirements can vary from day to day not to mention state to state.
MichaelK11
(Texas)

Posts:432


08/27/2010 8:54 AM  
Maybe KW means, how does it get in to the files where the HOA keeps its official records (or tries to).

Maybe Mary means, it's an official record when it is sent, whether it gets saved with other official records or not. One could demand such emails be produced, as with other official records. One could hold the HOA liable if they are deleted, as with HOA records.

In our HOA, we Directors use Gmail addresses based on our titles, so that the emails are all saved on Google servers, in hopes that our personal computers will not be subpoenaed if someone wants to see our HOA-related email messages.
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


08/27/2010 8:58 AM  
KW3,
I doubt your question is silly and it requires thought, and I think it would be covered under Mary's conclusion. Which would mean official correspondence does not have to include anything other than the quorum requirements. IMHO
JD2
(Arizona)

Posts:4


08/27/2010 10:08 AM  
I am meeting with an HOA attorney this afternoon, and two other board members
want to go with me.
Three of us meeting for this discussion would represent a quorum.
How do we approach this situation of open meeting law when it is another BoD
that is threatening a lawsuit against us?
I'm sure it is bluster, like success through intimidation, but I would still
like to be educated from the legal standpoint as to just what our options are
should the board member in question actually decide to proceed and file suit.

Thanks
JD
AZ
MichaelK11
(Texas)

Posts:432


08/27/2010 11:06 AM  
First, say "another Director". 'BoD' means Board of Directors, meaning all of you Directors. "Another BoD" means a different Board, such as from another HOA or perhaps a Board of your HOA that preceded or supersedes this year's BoD (separated by an election).

I would approach this by inviting the entire BoD to the meeting, and allow the Director in question to participate in the discussion about how to handle his threat of lawsuit. That's what I would do, but I suspect most people would say that's a dumb idea.

I'm sure this is an official meeting of the BoD, according to what Mary and others have said about AZ open meeting laws. I'm also sure this is appropriate for an executive session, not an open meeting, since you are discussing privileged matters with an attorney. That just means you don't have to announce it to your Membership and invite everyone -- it has no bearing on inviting the bully, since he is on the BoD.

This is probably a conflict of interest for him. That's a good reason to exclude him, but probably not to conceal the meeting from him. There are appropriate ways to determine and handle conflicts of interest; but done correctly, they involve telling the guy with the conflict that you're going to vote on something and then decide first whether they can participate in the vote. (According to Roberts Rules of Order, it's actually optional for the person with the conflict to abstain or disregard the conflict and vote.)

Of course, the first thing you should do is ask the attorney. Either call him in advance or start out the conversation by asking if this quorum of your BoD can legally discuss the bully Director without inviting him in advance.

I'm going to guess the attorney will simply say, as a practical matter and as a matter of law, the bully has a conflict of interest such that the meeting is privileged between the other Directors and the attorney, so the meeting is appropriate and should continue. That skips all the proper procedure I went through above, but it's OK to skip to the chase on advice of counsel. If you ask a lawyer and follow his advice, then you are generally in the clear as far as legalities.

But if the lawyer says to reschedule the meeting and invite the other Director, then explain your fears, ask the worst that could happen, and then do what he says.

Be sure you know if you have a D&O insurance policy and ask the attorney whether to file a claim notice based on the threats. Has the bully threatened any legal action in writing -- in email or such? If so, be sure to show that to your attorney.
JD2
(Arizona)

Posts:4


08/27/2010 11:56 AM  
Thank you for correcting my terminology..I am learning more everyday.
The initial question was with regard to the confidentiality of threat
of suit when made in the executive session.
There is an email from the board member in question to the property manager as well as the other four board members wherein he expresses
just how much it is going to cost the community if he sues. He states
that what he asks for is nothing like what it will be when he is awarded
personal expenses on top of any judgment against the Board.
Forced resignations or lawsuit.
KW3
(California)

Posts:146


08/27/2010 12:45 PM  
First, I think I owe thanks to Mary, Michael, and Robert for their responses to my question. Here I am responding to Michael's post sharing his HOA's practice.

Posted By MichaelK11 on 08/27/2010 8:54 AM
Maybe KW means, how does it get in to the files where the HOA keeps its official records (or tries to).

Yes, exactly my question! For example, say 3 of the 5 BDs use their different personal email addresses to communicate and discuss their ideas/opinions related to the HOA business/issues. They may have conclusions; they may not. It's all informal and personal in nature. Especially when none of them is the secretary or the bookkeeper, how will these emails become official records of the HOA if none of them submits the emails to the BOD or the bookkeeper?

Maybe Mary means, it's an official record when it is sent, whether it gets saved with other official records or not. One could demand such emails be produced, as with other official records. One could hold the HOA liable if they are deleted, as with HOA records.

According to the "quorum" and open meeting law or rule, if such email communication become official records and considered a formal board meeting, it is still invalid because it's a close meeting to the membership. JMHO

In our HOA, we Directors use Gmail addresses based on our titles, so that the emails are all saved on Google servers, in hopes that our personal computers will not be subpoenaed if someone wants to see our HOA-related email messages.

In your case, I guess your HOA has its own official website and official email server and addresses for its BDs and officers. So it's easy to automatically constitute official records with all those email correspondences among the official addresses. But what if you guys use your personal email address to communicate?
KW3
(California)

Posts:146


08/27/2010 12:56 PM  
Sorry for messing up "quote" format. Hope this one correct the error.

First, I think I owe thanks to Mary, Michael, and Robert for their responses to my question. Here I am responding to Michael's post sharing his HOA's practice.

Posted By MichaelK11 on 08/27/2010 8:54 AM
Maybe KW means, how does it get in to the files where the HOA keeps its official records (or tries to).

Yes, exactly my question! For example, say 3 of the 5 BDs use their different personal email addresses to communicate and discuss their ideas/opinions related to the HOA business/issues. They may have conclusions; they may not. It's all informal and personal in nature. Especially when none of them is the secretary or the bookkeeper, how will these emails become official records of the HOA if none of them submits the emails to the BOD or the bookkeeper?

Maybe Mary means, it's an official record when it is sent, whether it gets saved with other official records or not. One could demand such emails be produced, as with other official records. One could hold the HOA liable if they are deleted, as with HOA records.

According to the "quorum" and open meeting law or rule, if such email communication become official records and considered a formal board meeting, it is still invalid because it's a close meeting to the membership. JMHO

In our HOA, we Directors use Gmail addresses based on our titles, so that the emails are all saved on Google servers, in hopes that our personal computers will not be subpoenaed if someone wants to see our HOA-related email messages.

In your case, I guess your HOA has its own official website and official email server and addresses for its BDs and officers. So it's easy to automatically constitute official records with all those email correspondences among the official addresses. But what if you guys use your personal email address to communicate?

MichaelK11
(Texas)

Posts:432


08/27/2010 1:26 PM  
Posted By KW3 on 08/27/2010 12:56 PM
Yes, exactly my question! For example, say 3 of the 5 BDs use their different personal email addresses to communicate and discuss their ideas/opinions related to the HOA business/issues. They may have conclusions; they may not. It's all informal and personal in nature. Especially when none of them is the secretary or the bookkeeper, how will these emails become official records of the HOA if none of them submits the emails to the BOD or the bookkeeper?

I think the point is that they are legally records of the HOA, so the HOA is responsible for saving them, and the Directors are legally bound to see they are duly filed with the HOA's other long-term records. I'm not saying this is the case (I'm no lawyer nor expert on AZ or CA HOAs); I'm saying it looks like that's what I think this would probably mean.
According to the "quorum" and open meeting law or rule, if such email communication become official records and considered a formal board meeting, it is still invalid because it's a close meeting to the membership. JMHO

I agree (and didn't really think about this before). I suppose it means that Directors are not supposed to discuss HOA matters in a quorum (by email or otherwise) unless at a properly noticed BoD meeting. Personally, I don't think this is a good law.
In your case, I guess your HOA has its own official website and official email server and addresses for its BDs and officers.... But what if you guys use your personal email address to communicate?

We don't have our own servers like you suggest. We are in TX, and I don't think we are required to keep emails as records or avoid discussing HOA business. We even vote by email. We feel obligated to present inter-meeting business at the next meeting as a courtesy, but it's not a legal obligation.

We have had recent lawsuits, so there is a concern about emails being subpoenaed -- although as personal communications of Directors concerning the HOA, not as official HOA records.

We use Gmail. Go to www.Google.com, click Gmail, and sign up for a free account. We use account names (email addresses) in the format ourHOAPresident@gmail.com, ourHOAVP@gmail.com, etc. Hypothetically, when we leave the Board or change position, each of us should turn over our old email account to our successor. So far, in practice, the few who have stepped down since we started these accounts just kept them. One successor got a new account with a similar email name (GroundsChair instead of Groundskeeper) and the former treasurer never really used his Gmail account so the new one just started using it. Some of us don't like Gmail very much.

The lawsuits aren't entirely over; but the risk of having our laptops subpoenaed for stuff since we started using Gmail is relatively small, so it really doesn't matter if we use personal email. For an HOA in a state that requires submitting email to the permanent files, I suppose you either forward the email or hope nobody gives you a hard time about it (or subpoenaes your personal computer).

With Gmail, you get a lot of permanent storage space on Google's servers, so as long as you don't delete stuff, you can say there's no need to file it elsewhere. If your laptop disk crashes or you otherwise lose your personal email or don't want to hold on to it, Gmail archives are not impacted.
KW3
(California)

Posts:146


08/27/2010 2:16 PM  
Posted By MichaelK11 on 08/27/2010 1:26 PM
Posted By KW3 on 08/27/2010 12:56 PM
Yes, exactly my question! For example, say 3 of the 5 BDs use their different personal email addresses to communicate and discuss their ideas/opinions related to the HOA business/issues. They may have conclusions; they may not. It's all informal and personal in nature. Especially when none of them is the secretary or the bookkeeper, how will these emails become official records of the HOA if none of them submits the emails to the BOD or the bookkeeper?

I think the point is that they are legally records of the HOA, so the HOA is responsible for saving them, and the Directors are legally bound to see they are duly filed with the HOA's other long-term records...

So whatever if a quorum of BDs get together (via email, or meet together, or ...) to discuss or talk about HOA-related issue, it's a board meeting and the content of such communication would become official records of the HOA, and the involved BDs are resp for submitting to the HOA bookkeeper? And yet, the meeting and records are invalid because it's a close meeting? I am lost, sorry.
MichaelK11
(Texas)

Posts:432


08/27/2010 3:08 PM  
I'm going to leave this to someone who knows more than I about HOA laws in CA and states with similar requirements.
MaryA1


Posts:0


08/27/2010 4:15 PM  
JD,

One of the exceptions of the open meeting law allowing a closed meeting is to meeting with an attorney to seek legal advice. So, this meeting is not in violation of the OML even though a closed session should also be noticed. If anyone complains you could always say it was an emergency closed meeting.
KellyM3
(North Carolina)

Posts:1041


08/27/2010 6:00 PM  
My By-laws allow for voting on business matters via written communication if every board member renders a vote on the matter in question. So, just one person ignoring an email request means no business conducted until the next regular board meeting.

However, I find that the more my board communicates (as opposed to an officer issuing information of some sort as an announcement) via email, the more passive-aggressive elements arise. So, it's dicey policy in real-world application as people puff their chests a little higher when hidden behind a computer monitor.

But, I'd have no problem sharing any emails with a HOA dues payer but they'd likely have to come to my house and read them because I'm not copying hundreds of emails.
FelixR


Posts:0


01/24/2011 12:10 PM  
The board of directors in my community have been voting on contentious issues by email between meetings so that there is no public input. I've had enough and want to turn them into some state regulatory board or agency. The community is in FL. Can anyone advise me who the right agency would be?
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