E-MAILS = CLOSED MEETINGS
Published March 12, 2021
Since the Florida Legislature, in its infinite wisdom, allows
board members to communicate by e-mail among each other, the “OPEN
MEETING REQUIREMENT” is more or less dead, especially
since e-mails sent and received by private computers are not
public record. As Eric pointed out, it takes a lawsuit and
“discovery” to get hold of these e-mails. But what happens if
the board members, who communicated with each other by e-mail,
delete the copies of these e-mails right after the conversation?
Then what? Oops!
Imagine the scenario: In a Hi-Rise condo the 40-year
certification requires expensive repair to the balconies – a
million-dollar project. As required by law the board gets 3 bids
and every board member gets a copy. At a determined time all 5
board members sit at home in front of their computers and the
conversation starts. After a lengthy discussion they all agree
that BID # 2 is the one they should all agree on. SO FAR: NO
At the next public board meeting this contract is on the agenda.
At the meeting, with lots of owners present interested to hear
what the board will discuss in regards to the million-dollar
project. Remember: They will be required to pay for it in a
special assessment since the association failed to collect the
necessary reserve funds over the years. But they will all be
disappointed when the president starts this agenda item by
saying: “We have seen the bids, and I make the motion to sign
the contract with the company that submitted BID # 2.” The
motion gets seconded and the board votes unanimously in favor of
the motion. The owners attending the meeting are all upset about
this lack of discussion, but the board did everything according
to the Florida statutes, right?
WELL: SO MUCH FOR OPEN MEETINGS!
||Jan Bergemann is president of Cyber Citizens For Justice,
's largest state-wide property owners' advocacy group.
CCFJ works on legislation to help owners living in
associations. He moved to
in 1995 - hoping to retire. He moved into a HOA, where the
developer cheated the homeowners and used the association dues
for his own purposes. End of retirement!
CCFJ was born in the year 2000, when some owners met in
- finding out that power is only in numbers. Bergemann was a
member of Governor Jeb Bush's HOA Task force in 2003/2004.
The organization has two websites to inform interested
homeowners and condo owners:
News Website: http://www.ccfj.net/.
Educational Website: http://www.ccfjfoundation.net/.
We think that only owners can really represent owners, since all
service providers surely have a different interest! We are
trying to create owner-friendly laws, but the best laws are
useless without enforcement. And enforcement is totally lacking