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Subject: Video Taping Meetings - Board Control Of
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Author Messages
DavidS3
(Maryland)

Posts:37


06/14/2007 12:16 PM  
All

I know this subject has been discussed previously to some extent but not in the context that interests me. My question is to what degree if any can an HOA Board (1) prevent a third party (e.g., member of the media) from taping a Board Meeting or Annual Member's Meeting without prior permission or (2) controlling the subsequent use of that video? The person taping may or may not be a member. The use to which I refer is placing the video for public access on a web page/forum that belongs to and is controlled by the person making the tapes.

I realize that giving the larger community access to Board meetings and annual meeting may be viewed as a significant public service. There is nothing in the meetings themselves that have to be hidden from the public although its always possible that the camera may catch one person or another in an unflattering light. The issues that concern me is the lack of control over how the content is presented. In some cases, whether for technical or editorial reasons the entire meeting is not covered and this can, intentionally or unintentionally lead to bias. Moreover, in the case with which I am familiar the taper will generally announce the video accompanied by his own editorial comments on the content, thus biasing the viewer before he or she gets a chance to look at it. Very frequently these comments are negative and clearly intended to stir up comment on the forum. I know of course this is called freedom of the press, but having sole possession of the video of the HOA meeting is what gives him and audience to begin with.

As near as I can tell the MD State HOA Act is silent on this subject. Does anyone else have any insight on what a Board may or may not do to prevent or control unauthorized taping?

DaveS
RogerB
(Colorado)

Posts:4881


06/14/2007 12:52 PM  
David, I would not allow voice or video recording at any HOA meeting. These are private meetings not open to the public. The Board can set a policy regarding recording of meetings. If they don't have a policy they can chose to establish it before allowing any recording. Once a person has been given permission to record they own the recording and it is their choice what to do with it.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:4812


06/14/2007 2:19 PM  
I agree with the above poster. It's NOT a good idea for an outside source to video tape or record a board meeting. Especially when it comes to the media. That could easily backfire. What if your position is wrong and the media came in and covered it? You might not look so bright as you think.

Plus, your HOA is most likely a non-profit corporation. The stockholders are the homeowners. Does Walmart allow the media into their board and stockholders meetings? Why should your corporation allow the same thing? It's private amongst the homeowners.

If that doesn't drive my point in enough, here's another angle. What if you were walking down the street in front of a neighborhood. Someone from that neighborhood pulls you off the street into a meeting. You now are being forced to hear all the nitty gritty details of what that neighborhood is and does. You don't live there nor care to. What is the purpose of knowing someone else's business? That's what your asking others to do when you want to invite the media into the meetings or other recording sources.

Learn to participate in your HOA. Instead of complaining and thinking of issues, why not think of some solutions and what you would do if someone presented you the same issues. Besides, you let everyone know how bad your HOA is, who's going to want to move into it?

Former HOA President
JonD1
(New York)

Posts:1638


06/14/2007 3:19 PM  
Why would a member of the "media" be allowed to attend any Board meeting including an annual "owners" meeting for which they have no right to attend?

I would not allow video or sound recording of any meeting for use by some third party to offer their view of the content and actions taking place at the meeting.

We had one former Board member attempt to record our meeting with a pocket recorder. Sine then she has filed a lawsuit agains the property.

When our attorney was contacted he advised us we could implement a Board rule prohibiting any recordings of our meetings. This was the first order of business at the next meeting.

As a member of the Board it is your obligation to protect the information, actions, and confidentiality of the Board. No recordings for any reason nothing positive can come out of it.
Jadedone4
(Virginia)

Posts:495


06/14/2007 3:46 PM  
In principle, I agree with the "tone" of the responders here. However under my state's statute, a member can (at their own expense and with notice to the board) tape a meeting.

If outside person (i.e. NON-member of the community), wanted to tape - I would BAN that outright.

If person/member wanted to tape - I am not sure if I could ban that, and not sure if once the tape is made, what "ownership" the board could argue.


Question - is there a legal difference (as in definition) between a audio and video "tape" of a meeting?
Jadedone4
(Virginia)

Posts:495


06/14/2007 3:49 PM  
...oh, "senior moment"... forgot to mention, in reponse to original poster from MD, my state's HOA statute is also silent, but this requirement (to allow taping) is found in "open meeting" statute. Take a look at both sources if you have two separates - and see if one addresses/references the other.
DanaB1
(Connecticut)

Posts:319


06/16/2007 7:48 AM  
In these days where you are recorded at the bank, gas station, package store, any big box store, streets(depending on the city), police stations, you name it; I'm amazed to still read about people that are against having "meetings" taped.

If an owner wants to go thru the trouble of taping a meeting than the board is probably not doing a very good job of communicating to begin with. PERIOD.

Too many board members like to "talk" about doing things but then those things don't get done. The items don't end up in the minutes, etc.

I see first hand things being said at board meetings that are slanderous of individuals. But fire up a tape recorder and watch how much more professional the meetings become.

Towns tape all meetings, association boards that are above reproach tape meetings (some do it for residents that physcically can't make it to meetings).

If this member wants to tape it, let them tape it. If it's available it won't be worth watching anyway.

I sit on a board (again) and I'm for it.

Short story.......

I sat on this board in 2004, the VP at the time taped meetings (he said the purpose was for the secretary to later record the minutes more easily). I couldn't believe the way board members talked about owners, I think they forgot about the recorder and just started mouthing off. Each of these members could have been sued for slander.

Well, my term expired and I didn't re-up. At the owners meeting someone asked if meetings were taped, the VP said, "Yes and that copies are available (for a slight fee)" and then he laughed and said, "until my hard drive max's out". The next week I sent an email to the manager requesting copies for the last 4 board meetings and to let me know the costs. The next day I received a reply stating that they weren't available.

Funny how that worked out.

Dana
RogerB
(Colorado)

Posts:4881


06/16/2007 8:21 AM  
Posted By DanaB1 on 06/16/2007 7:48 AM
Too many board members like to "talk" about doing things but then those things don't get done. The items don't end up in the minutes, etc.

I see first hand things being said at board meetings that are slanderous of individuals. But fire up a tape recorder and watch how much more professional the meetings become. Dana



You bring up good points. However, recording a meeting does not correct improper conduct of meetings. For that I suggest the following solutions:
1) require motions to be made in writing
2) list action items in the minutes and include the Board member responsible
3) when minutes are approved make sure every motion is correctly recorded
4) review the results of each action item and hold people accountable - lots of people "talk" about doing things but don't walk their talk - put the spotlight on their results!

5) the Chair set rules for having the floor and terminate speach by anyone making slanderous remarks
JaneK
(California)

Posts:175


06/18/2007 12:41 PM  
Under CA law, taping of a board meeting cannot be prohibited. It is illegal to tape a 'confidential communication' and therefore executive session. Confidential communication does not include an open board meeting.

The association would have to amend it's bylaws to prohibit taping a meeting
JaneK
(California)

Posts:175


06/18/2007 11:04 PM  
Check if you have a site similar to this one in your state
http://www.cfac.org/content/index.php

Jane
JosephW
(Michigan)

Posts:882


06/20/2007 6:22 AM  
First, if your documents don't directly state it, adopt a policy that clearly states that meetings of the association, whether a board, annual or general meeting are private, limited to the members, their proxies, or legal representatives. That materials distributed by or obtained from the association may not be disseminated outside of the association, other than to an owner's legal counsel or agent. That video or audio recordings of meetings of the board or of the members cannot be released or distributed outside of the association without the written consent of the board and any owner who appears in or was present at the meeting.

In other words, what goes on in the association should stay in the association. This doesn't stop people from going to the media or from providing information to their counsel as needed, but it might make people think before posting that video of the annual meeting to YouTube.

Joe

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PatrickH
(California)

Posts:204


06/20/2007 6:56 AM  
I don't think that IBM or Coca Cola would allow a non shareholder in to record their Board of Directors meetings. I'm not even sure if they'd allow a shareholder to do it.

As far as I'm concerned, I'd have no problem with a shareholder in our corporation, (an owner), recording a Board meeting, but I wouldn't want some stranger in there doing it.

It's not a public forum, such as a city council meeting, it's a private meeting of a private corporation, so the corporation should have control of who besides it's shareholders are allowed to attend.

My two cents...
JudithC
(Virginia)

Posts:253


06/20/2007 1:09 PM  
Most of the literature that I have read has considered an association to be a hybrid between a governmental entity and a corporation. As the association is governing people, I tend toward the former. Of course, there are a lot more freedoms for the board if one considers the association to be purely a business. The states seem to be leaning toward the governmental model as they pass more sunshine laws, AARP discusses a "Homeowners Bill of Rights", etc. In any case, pertinent to the videotaping discussion is the news article at
http://tinyurl.com/ywjlp8
DavidS3
(Maryland)

Posts:37


06/27/2007 1:40 PM  
Thank you all for your responses. The basis for my original post actually refers to separate but related cases. The first case involves a 503 home community which is embedded in a 8200 home community. Members of the smaller community HOA are also members of the larger community HOA and pay dues to both. Both HOA's are of interest to me since I just completed a four year director/president term of the smaller HOA and now am a candidate for the Board of the larger one. To a certain extent the larger HOA has already made its decision in that it pays a person to video tape its regular Board meetings and the members annual meeting. The HOA plays the tape on its own TV channel but the person making the tape also puts it on his Forum. The taper also films other meeting from time to time for use on his own Forum. He is a member of the larger HOA. The process seems to be of mutual benefit and I see no reason to make an issue of it if I am elected.

The taper filmed one annual meeting of the smaller HOA. He did not have explicit permission but there was no objection either. He is not a resident of the smaller 503 home community. Far from having anything to be embarassed about, this community could be a model for how to transition and govern. Because there is a certain amount of interest and curiousity by the larger community we also could see a certain amount of benefit in letting them know how we operate.

I will pass on your comments to the president who succeeded me in the smaller HOA. The new Board may want to pass a rule that prohibits taping without their explicit permission. They may then decide to grant that permission after specifying specific conditions in a written agreement, or they may decide to prohibit it entirely.

If I am elected to the Board of the larger HOA I will look into the nature of the contractual relationship we have with the video-taper to see if appropriate protections are built in. Of course we would seek our respectivive attorneys advice in both cases.

Thanks again for your help.

DavidS
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Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > Video Taping Meetings - Board Control Of



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