LORROS and Open Meeting Acts

HOA board meetings must be “open and public“ – actions may not be secret.

The HOA Brown Act is the Open Meeting Act, which now is extensively detailed regarding association meetings. The apparent aim of the act is valuable – to make the governance of associations more open and accessible to members. (Checklist for dealing with the Open Meeting Act)

It’s understandable that boards have used emails to make decisions for convenience and expediency which caused problems with “openness” and transparency. As such, the Davis-Stirling Act states that starting January 1, 2012, boards of directors “shall not conduct a meeting via a series of electronic transmissions, including, but not limited to, electronic mail” except for emergencies.

LORROS is designed to help boards make informed decisions by making discussions easier and more accessible, but would be considered using “electronic transmissions” and therefore be subject to the Act and must be used accordingly.

If your HOA bylaws or local Open Meeting Act restricts your board from conducting a board meeting “via a series of electronic transmissions”, LORROS can be useful in many other ways.

  1. Committees – In most cases (check your local bylaws) committees that don’t make decisions, but rather make recommendations to the board to decide are not covered by Open Meeting Acts. Committees will be able to take full advantage of all the benefits of LORROS – full Discussions, Polls (to build consensus), Meetings and Actions.
  2. Generating Meeting Agendas – LORROS allows you to easily generate meeting agendas including background information, files and proposed motions. The LORROS Meeting package is automatically sent out and further agenda additions can be easily made prior to the start of the meeting. Allowable email exchanges between board members usually include (but not limited to):
    1. setting dates and times for meetings,
    2. distributing information for meetings,
    3. requesting that items be placed on the agenda (prune trees, repair streets, create committees, paint buildings, repair roofs, etc.).
  3. Minutes – Using LORROS for meeting minutes has two significant advantages:
    1. the minutes are saved in the database for easy retrieval and keyword searching,
    2. can be saved as a pdf with the click of a button.
  4. Emergency MeetingsLORROS Meetings are ideal when the board needs to make emergency decisions. LORROS automatically generates minutes and full transcripts to provide full transparency and accountability. “Electronic transmissions may be used as a method of conducting an emergency meeting if all members of the board, individually or collectively, consent in writing to that action . . .” (Civ. Code §4910(b)(2)).
  5. Non-Business – Decisions often create actions that need to be tracked and reported on such as reporting the status of repairs. LORROS Actions are a great way of keeping members of the board informed as well as providing full and accountable records to the owners (if required).
    LORROS Discussions provide an easy and convenient method for board members to communicate (within the confines of any Act) and can be used for discovery (if required).

At LORROS we are trying to help boards be more productive, open and accessible to members by facilitating the democratic decision-making process with transparency and accountability (“open and public“).

This is NOT a legal opinion, and we recommend that if you have any concerns you should review how you intend to use LORROS with your attorney.

Photo by Hunters Race on Unsplash

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