It is not uncommon for board members or managers of common interest communities to find themselves so focused on the current matters facing their communities that the bigger picture issues fall by the wayside. As most of our readers are keenly aware, the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (CCIOA) is the primary governing statutory scheme for common interest communities in the state.
While CCIOA contains several provisions that communities may often fail to observe, this article will focus specifically on requirements pertaining to notice for owner meetings and meetings of the board of directors, as well as the requirements and procedures for convening an executive session of the board of directors.
What does CCIOA Require for Notice of Meetings?
Many associations correctly follow the notice requirements for owner meetings, which requires notice be mailed to each owner no less than 10 and no more than 50 days in advance of such meeting. However, CCIOA also requires and/or strongly recommends other avenues by which notice should be given for any meetings of owners as well as meetings of the board.
In addition to the mailing notice, notice of owner meetings must also be physically posted in a conspicuous place within the community prior to the meeting. This is a requirement that may be easy to overlook since most people no longer receive information of this nature through physically posted notices. However, such notices are often good reminders of meetings if posted in advantageous areas, such as mailboxes or near any common gathering areas of a community (clubhouses, pool area, etc.) and can therefore be useful in increasing attendance.
Further, CCIOA strongly recommends posting notice and agenda for owner meetings online and through email. If electronic means are available, the association is required to provide notice of all regular and special meetings of unit owners by electronic mail at least 24 hours before the meeting.
Boards of directors should develop policies regarding physical and electronic posting of notices and include them within the association’s Conduct of Meetings Policy, which is one of the nine policies that CCIOA requires all associations to have implemented. Not only does this act as a useful tool for reminding board members of the notice requirements, but it also communicates to the owners how they may expect to receive notice.
What does CCIOA Require for Convening Executive Sessions?
Another issue that frequently comes up with respect to board meetings is: identification of matters that should be reserved for executive sessions of the board (rather than during the portions of board meetings open to attendance for all owners), and the legal process for going into and coming out of executive sessions, as well as documentation of those sessions.
CCIOA provides six purposes for which a board may convene an executive session: (1) matters pertaining to employment and/or the management agreement; (2) consultation with legal counsel; (3) investigation of criminal misconduct; (4) matters legally protected from public disclosure; (5) matters which would violate individual privacy if disclosed; and (6) discussion of communication with legal counsel, even though legal counsel is not present at the meeting.
Prior to convening any executive sessions, boards are required to announce they are going into executive session and the general matter of the sessions. When doing so, it is important to ensure the discussion topic announced fits one of the criteria enumerated above. The board is also required to have the minutes reflect what time it went into executive session, the general subject matter of discussion, and what time the board came out of executive session.
One of the tried-and-true qualities of any successful common interest community is transparency. When a board values transparency, it commits to making sure that information is transmitted to the owners and that it reaches as many owners as possible. Even when the board convenes an executive session, the goal is not to utilize this tool to reduce transparency, but to highlight the sensitive nature of topics addressed and inform the owners of the need for discretion concerning such topics.
While these are just a few of the many areas that communities may overlook in CCIOA, committing to following these requirements will work to cultivate invested and participatory owners within the community.
For more information on CCIOA requirements, including the meeting requirements discussed herein, please contact a Altitude Community Law attorney at 303.432.9999.