Jim Slaughter JD, Parlementarian
Jim Slaughter JD, Parliamentarian

When can a Board legally, ethically and meet the spirit of the law have SECRET meetings?

Secrecy doesn’t sit well with many Americans.  As President John F. Kennedy said, “The very word, secrecy, is repugnant in a free and open society, and we are as a people, inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings.”

Yet secret proceedings are not uncommon in the community association world. Homeowners are often asked to leave for all or parts of board meetings. Minutes of these executive sessions are generally kept secret. At times, boards conduct business by telephone or e-mail to avoid public scrutiny.  

On one level, it’s ironic.  For every board that keeps residents out of board meetings, many others are begging for more homeowner involvement.  Jim Slaughter.com    pdf

Board determines confidentiality

Releasing confidential information could result in claims of defamation, invasion of privacy, violations of statute, etc. The Legislature made such matters confidential for a reason, so boards should be cautious about releasing executive session information.   (davis-stirling.com)    Privacy     SB 563

Davis Stirling – Civil Code

§4935  (a) The board may [not shall or must] adjourn to, or meet solely in, executive session to consider [ONLY]

(b) The board shall adjourn to, or meet solely in, executive session to discuss member discipline, if requested by the member who is the subject of the discussion. That member shall be entitled to attend the executive session.

See also Meet & Confer
1363 (g)
$500 penalty for failure to comply 1363.09
california condo guru.com
hearing.rights.details

(c) The board shall adjourn to, or meet solely in, executive session to discuss a payment plan pursuant to Section 5665.

(d) The board shall adjourn to, or meet solely in, executive session to decide whether to foreclose on a lien pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 5705.

(e) Any matter discussed in executive session shall be generally noted in the minutes of the immediately following meeting that is open to the entire membership.

Davis Stirling.com   on Executive Session

I don’t see ANYTHING in Brown or Davis Stirling that allows Boards to discuss finance or budget in closed session.  If any site visitors have a citation, please put that in comments below.

Links & Resources

1st Amendment Coalition Primer – Closed Session

Child Pages

2 comments on “Executive – Secret – Session §4935

  1. My California Community assoc published all the executive minutes in the public website available to anybody not just members.

    They discuss personnel matters, fines, small claims litigation, and people who are critical of the assoc.

    Are they personally liable?

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