QUESTION: Our association pays for the lunch of the board of directors. Could the directors be considered paid directors as a result of the free lunch?
ANSWER: No, feeding them does not make them paid directors. When directors miss meals to attend board meetings they get cranky. When their stomachs are rumbling, their blood sugar is low and they are looking at their watches, board members cannot give proper attention to the business at hand. When directors are fed, their patience seems to improve and they make better decisions.
Industry Practice. Some boards have popcorn and M&Ms at their meetings, others order veggie platters, still others have pizza or Subway sandwiches. As long as the cost is modest, the practice is more than reasonable and directors do not lose their volunteer status nor does it raise any ethical issues.
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