Open Board Meetings. The legislature patterned the Open Meeting Act on the open meeting provisions of The Brown Act. By statute, members can observe the board conduct business. In addition, they can address the board during the Open Forum portion of the meeting. See "Member Access to Board Packets."
No Decisions Outside of Board Meetings. "The board shall not take action on any item of business outside of a board meeting." (Civ. Code § 4910(a).)
Meeting Defined. Board meetings are defined by the Davis-Stirling Act as a gathering of a quorum of directors at the same time and place to "hear, discuss, or deliberate upon any item of business that is within the authority of the board." (Civ. Code § 4090.)
Business Defined. "Item of business" means any action within the authority of the board, except those actions the board has validly delegated to any other person or persons, managing agent, officer of the association, or committee of the board comprising less than a majority of the directors. (Civ. Code § 4155.)
Exceptions. Not all gatherings of directors are considered "board meetings." See "Exceptions to Open Meeting Act." And not all board meetings are required to be open, "Executive Session Meetings" are excepted.
Allowable Meetings. With proper notice, the following meeting forms are allowed:
- In Person. Directors can meet in person at a physical location.
- Virtual (Zoom) Meetings. Directors meet by telephone or video conference. (Civ. Code § 4090(b).) See Zoom Meetings.
Violations of the Open Meeting Act. Sometimes boards make decisions in closed meetings in violation of the Open Meeting Act. If that happens, members can go into court for injunctive relief and civil penalties up to $500 for each violation. See "Violation of the Open Meeting Act."
ASSISTANCE: Associations needing legal assistance can contact us. To stay current with issues affecting community associations, subscribe to the Davis-Stirling Newsletter.