QUESTION: Our HOA has some very contentious members at our meetings. Recently, one member rushed another and had to be held back. Our attorney suggested we start video recording the meetings. Some of the contentious members claim it violates the law and we must get permission from every one attending the meeting. Do you have an opinion on this subject?
ANSWER: I agree with your attorney. Recording and especially broadcasting your meetings to the membership will expose hotheads and bullies (both in the audience and on the board), and will go a long way toward establishing civility and decorum. Because they are the board's meetings, the board can establish rules for the conduct of their meetings. That means they can prohibit members from recording the meetings or, in the alternative, they can choose to record and/or broadcast their meetings. Because board meetings are considered public forums within the association, the board does not need the permission of attendees if it decides to record/broadcast meetings.
The reverse is not true. Attendees cannot record the meetings without the board's permission. Attendees can observe the meeting and can address the board during open forum but must follow rules established by the board--no disruptions of the meeting, no recordings, etc. If the board were to allow members to record meetings, permission would not be needed from other attendees since the meetings are deemed "public forums" within the association.
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