Followers of this blog know that I frequently caution that almost all board meetings in resident owned communities must be properly noticed and open to association members. There are specific provisions prohibiting board members from meeting "behind closed doors" in the statutes governing condominium associations, cooperative associations, and mandatory homeowners associations.
While it’s clear that these statutory provisions focus on ensuring that association members are provided with adequate notice of matters that are to be considered by the board of directors, there’s another very important consideration that can be illustrated by the recent difficulties faced by Susan G. Komen For the Cure after its decision to no longer offer grants to Planned Parenthood for mammograms was made public.
From what I’ve read about the initial decision, there was little if any input requested from or given by the many local organizations that help fund. Komen . In fact, it appears that some of Komen’s board members were unaware of the decision–which had been made in the latter part of 2011.
As everyone knows, once Komen’s decision became public, a firestorm of negative publicity erupted–and even though Komen apparently reversed its decision shortly after the media picked up on the story, I have to believe that most of us will no longer view Komen in quite the same way as we did before all of this occurred.
My assumption is that no law prevented Komen’s leadership from meeting "behind closed doors" when it concluded that the grants to Planned Parenthood be discontinued. When a board is allowed to isolate itself from its members it’s all too easy–and unfortunately all too common–to make decisions in a vacuum that prevents any factors or considerations other than those of the board members from being heard.. If one or two of those board members are particularly overbearing, it’s not too much of a stretch to see how a ROC board could find itself regretting a decision made "behind closed doors" once that decision is made public and legitimate concerns of the members are finally heard.
This is a very important "side effect" of the laws requiring open board meetings and member input at those meetings–no "vacuum" can exist if those laws are followed. Every resident owned community benefits when decisions are made only after the members have been given the opportunity to have their say.
I wonder if Komen’s leadership wishes it had given its supporters that opportunity before making its initial decision on the grants to Planned Parenthood