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Subject: approach to email management
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CharlesG9
(Illinois)

Posts:2


09/21/2019 1:42 PM  
I’m wondering if anyone can provide me with guidance. We are a small (34) unit self-managed condo association in Illinois with a five-member board of managers. While we only transact condo business in our public meetings, managers do communicate with each other via email on a regular basis. We use our personal email accounts for these communications. The more I read, the more I’m convinced we should have dedicated email addresses for communication about condo managers. Not only can it prevent personal email accounts from becoming subject to search in litigation, but I am thinking it could allow us to archive our email communications without including personal emails in that archive.

Does anyone have experience in how to set-up a system of this sort? Can we simply do something as simple as setting up individual g-mail accounts for each manager? Could we set-up account names such as “[email protected]”, “[email protected]” etc and each time the board membership changes, revise the password to the account for the new board member? How do you go about archiving emails so they are appropriately accessible in the future (i.e. so we don’t need the old treasurer’s password to access that set of emails in the archive)?

We wish to continue to be self-managed, although I suspect that at least some management companies might have solutions built-in. We do not have a website for our association and no immediate plans to develop one.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:461


09/21/2019 2:32 PM  
Yes, you definitely want to keep HOA business separate from personal emails, for exactly the reason you mentioned. Also makes it easier to find things.

Each board member should have an email address reserved for board discussions. I suggest using your name rather than your office since board members can change roles. For example:

[email protected]

We have a dedicated email address that the community can use to communicate with the board, and this email address appears in the newsletters and on our web site. You can use Gmail or one of the other free services, or if you have a web site and domain name, you may have some free email addresses included with your web hosting package:

[email protected] or
[email protected]

I suggest keeping board discussions separate from the community email address. We set up auto-forwarding on our community email address - copies go to the board members as well as the property manager since we generally receive requests for service or complaints there. We also set up an auto-response thanking the person for contacting the board and stating that someone will get back to them shortly.

One other comment: Gmail and other free services have an advantage: emails are automatically backed up in the cloud, so you don't have to worry about backing up emails from your personal computer.

(You didn't ask about this, but we discourage the use of texting for association business. It's just not a suitable medium, and it's too hard to keep board business separate from everything else.)
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16481


09/21/2019 4:58 PM  
Posted By CharlesG9 on 09/21/2019 1:42 PM

Can we simply do something as simple as setting up individual g-mail accounts for each manager? Could we set-up account names such as “[email protected]”, “[email protected]” etc and each time the board membership changes, revise the password to the account for the new board member?




This is what we have done. However, it was done through our own website.

Our new board website manager is a fan of google (actually, I think it's all he knows).
Therefore, based on his desire, they have moved to one google account that forwards mail to each director (unsure if it's their personal email accounts, our domain accounts or individual google accounts).




Posted By CharlesG9 on 09/21/2019 1:42 PM

How do you go about archiving emails so they are appropriately accessible in the future (i.e. so we don’t need the old treasurer’s password to access that set of emails in the archive)?





I don't know google.

This was easily done using our own domain account.
CharlesG9
(Illinois)

Posts:2


09/22/2019 9:52 AM  
Very helpful guidance. Thank you so much!
ND
(PA)

Posts:349


09/23/2019 4:42 AM  
Another advantage to Google is the ability to use all the other Google Apps, specifically Google Drive which is handy for electronic file storage of all your HOA documentation. You can also control access to Drive, turning on and off access to the different Board Members and Officers as they come and go. I think it's possible for non-Google account holders to gain access, but all is so much more simple if everyone just has a Google Account. Google Voice is also pretty cool if you want to link multiple phone number to a single Google voice number . . . it gives you a phone number to give out to HOA members that isn't your personal cell phone number or work number (if you wanted to give out a phone number).

SylviaS5
(Illinois)

Posts:4


10/02/2019 10:56 AM  
How does this work with Palm II decision? I am really new to this but I've been told board members are not to communicate business between each other using email because of the Palm II decision in Illinois. That would be considered having a private meeting if the emails are not available to all owners. Does anyone else know?
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