WHEN IS A MEETING A MEETING?

It’s funny how many times over the years, Boards have told me “We weren’t having a meeting, we were only talking about the condo” or “We weren’t having a meeting, we were in a workshop.”

For clarification, let’s see how a “meeting” is defined by law.

For a condominium, the Florida Administrative Code says:

(1)(a) “Meeting of the board of administration” means any gathering of the members of the board of directors, at which a quorum of the members is present, for the purpose of conducting association business.

(b) “Committee meeting” means any gathering of a group of board members, unit owners, or board members and unit owners appointed by the board or a member of the board to make recommendations to the board regarding the association budget or take action on behalf of the board at which a quorum of the members of that committee is present. For example, a meeting of an executive committee, as defined in section 617.0825, F.S., or as that section may subsequently be renumbered, would be included in this definition as would a meeting of a group charged with developing a proposed budget.

So under this Rule, a quorum of the Board gets together and talks about the condo — it’s a meeting that needed to be properly noticed and the unit owners had a right to attend.

The Florida HOA Statutes 720.303(2) says:

A meeting of the board of directors of an association occurs whenever a quorum of the board gathers to conduct association business.

This provision also shall apply to the meetings of any committee or other similar body when a final decision will be made regarding the expenditure of association funds and to meetings of any body vested with the power to approve or disapprove architectural decisions with respect to a specific parcel of residential property owned by a member of the community.

So…….same rule for HOAs —–, a quorum of the Board gets together and talks about the HOA — it’s a meeting that needed to be properly noticed and the unit owners had a right to attend.

 

Now…….here’s the fun part.

As you learned in last week’s blog, both the condo statute and the HOA statute say that Board members can communicate by e-mail. So, let’s say that tomorrow night you happen to walk past the Board room and there are the 5 directors sitting next to each other on the stage, talking about association matters. You would scream and say they are having an illegal meeting that was not properly noticed – and you would be right.

The Board members promise never to do this again.

The next night you walk past the same room, and again see the Board members sitting next to each other. This time however, they are not saying a word. Each one of them brought their laptops to the room and instead of verbally speaking with each other, they are e-mailing each other.

It may be hard to swallow, but suddenly these Board members are not at a “meeting” and are not violating the statute.

What do you think? Good statute or bad statute?

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