Earlier this week I had the pleasure of presenting for the CAI-RMC HOA Roundtable in Fort Collins, and one of the topics we discussed was transparency. Lack of transparency continues to be one of the most common complaints against board members and community association managers today.
Claims like “the board won’t let me attend a meeting” or “the management company refuses to provide me records” are typical and prevalent. And, while the law does not require the board to publish notice of board meetings or to provide access to all records, perhaps it is better to over-communicate in certain circumstances, or allow observation of meetings rather than create the perception that you are making secret decisions behind closed doors.
An association that practices transparency is one that practices openness: open meetings, open records, no hidden agendas. From openness flows both accountability and trust. Consider the following in promoting transparency:
- Encourage attendance at all membership, board and committee meetings.
- Take board action via email or phone sparingly.
- Promptly disclose conflicts of interest.
- Adopt a conduct of meetings policy that encourages member input and treats all members uniformly.
- Adopt an inspection of records policy that provides easy access to Association records pursuant to HB1237.
- Allow members to attend working sessions.
- Enter into executive sessions only for those matters identified under the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act.
- Go above and beyond required notice procedures when providing notice of meetings at which major actions will be discussed and/or decided.
- Use committees regularly.
- Affirmatively communicate all major decisions to the members and why they were made.
- Create a website that allows for easily searchable and accessible association information.
- Circulate newsletters and share information regularly.
- Incorporate steps in your responsible governance policies and procedures that will promote transparency.
- Ensure your processes are understandable and fair to all members.
- Seek collaboration and input from the members frequently.
For more information about how your community association can practice greater transparency, please contact any one of our attorneys at 303.432.9999.