S.H. from Broward County, Florida writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
We have a new board. The new president called a “mandatory meeting” of the board of directors for early February with only 2-days notice. He stated under agenda that the topics were the pump (we have been having issues) and the “association reserves (sensitive issue that should not be discussed at our regular meeting.” I told him this is not legal, to have a meeting that unit owners cannot attend unless there are legal/lawyer issues involved. He said it was at it is a “personnel issue”. He has already suggested that one elected board member resign. She slammed door in his face. Is a meeting that lists pump and reserve issues legal without allowing the unit owners to attend? If it was a “personnel matter” would it be legal?
Mister Condo replies:
S.H., as I am not an attorney I offer no legal answers here. You should seek the advice and opinion of an attorney for a proper legal action. I will say that from what you have described, this Board President is mistaken in what constitutes an “emergency” meeting of the Board and what constitutes a closed meeting or executive session. Association members do have a right to attend Board meetings and these meetings do need to be properly noticed. There are situations that are truly emergencies for Boards where they can and should meet. Earthquakes, fires, hurricanes and such may constitute such emergencies. Executive Session or closed meetings are also, on occasion, appropriate when the matters at hand are of such a legal nature that executive session is called for. Personnel matters, such as hiring/firing a new property manager may qualify but discussions and/or votes on mundane items such as pump issues and association reserves would not likely qualify. The real question is what can you do to protect yourself and your community association from this type of governance. The obvious answer is to demand they do it right or recall the Board. Clearly, this president hasn’t had appropriate training and isn’t receiving good advice if he/she is trying to run the association in this manner. The Board and President may mean well and the association may have real issues with both its pump and its reserves but there is a right way to hold these meetings and address these issues. What you have described isn’t the right way. Good luck!