One of my blog readers recently emailed me and wanted to know whether Florida’s "Sunshine Law" applies to meetings between less than a quorum of the members of the board of directors of an ROC.
Many members of resident owned communities incorrectly believe that the meetings of their ROC board or ROC committees are governed by Florida’s "Sunshine Law," which can be found in Chapter 286 of the Florida Statutes. It’s clear from the provisions of this chapter, and in particular Section 286.011, that Florida’s "Sunshine Law" only applies to meetings of boards or committees of state, county, or municipal agencies or other similar political subdivisions and not private enterprises. In other words, only a very few ROCs (those that are agencies of state or local government–such as a community development district) are subject to Florida’s "Sunshine Law".
Thus, in most situations, I see nothing wrong with a ROC President or other board member meeting with other board members as long as less than a quorum of the board is present during that meeting, even if the purpose of that meeting is to determine how the board members at that meeting are going to vote on a matter coming before the board in the future. An effective President or board chairperson should already have a pretty good idea of how his or her board is going to vote on important matters before the board meeting and it’s certainly logical that he or she contact the other board members in advance to find out how each member intends to vote and the reasons for that member’s vote.
As long as there is less than a quorum of board members in the room where the meeting is occurring, even if ROC business is being discussed, there is no violation of the applicable provisions of Florida Statutes Chapters 718, 719, or 720. I do want to remind ROC managers and board members that an illegal meeting occurs when a quorum of the board finds itself on the same conference call, receiving an email sent to them simultaneously, or in a "chat room" or other internet "meeting" area if that meeting was not properly noticed and made open to all members and does not fall within the limited exceptions that allow "closed" meetings. The State’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation will not take kindly to any such illegal meeting–even if it was held in "cyberspace".