Q. I am a condo board member and often hear my fellow members say at our meetings, “What goes on in here stays in here.” How can that be fair to our unit owners? Shouldn’t everything go in the minutes except for names and amounts owed and one calls the like? Transparency is forgotten too often since too many vendettas are ruling the meetings.
—Unit Owner Who’s Speaking Up
A. “Condo board and homeowner associations have different practices concerning how business is accomplished,” says attorney Stuart Lieberman of the firm Lieberman & Blecher, based in Princeton. “Increasingly some rely heavily on private email exchanges and or phone calls during which many issues are informally decided – hopefully at least ratifying their actions at subsequent open meetings.
“But ultimately the inquirer is correct: unit owners need to know what decisions are being made and how they are being made. So in real life conflicts occur. Board members simply cannot meet every time an important, timely decision needs to be made. At the same time unit owners want and need transparency.
“Boards must never have an ‘us-against-them’ mentality. Everyone has money invested in the association and everyone, whether or not they volunteer for the board, has equal rights.