Board should simply take care of business
In their pursuit of a more harmonious relationship, the members of the Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors have agreed to critique their own performances and to hash out the results and their differences, presumably, in private.
This desire to eliminate the interpersonal friction is laudable, even though the cause of this discord has never been fully explained publicly. The self-evaluation concept is good as well, assuming that it can be done objectively.
There is just one thing: the directors intend to heal themselves by discussing their self-surveys behind closed doors. That’s understandable, but it’s also a violation of the Maryland Homeowners Association Act, which makes no allowance in its prescription for closed meetings for political marriage counseling for a quorum of elected officials.
The directors probably would contend their private meeting would fall under the exception for “matters pertaining to employees and personnel.” But labeling themselves thusly would also mean that the entire General Assembly could convene privately to discuss the political and personal differences of its members. It. Cant. Be. Done.
The directors also might argue they would be protecting “the privacy or reputation of individuals in matters not related to association business,” except that the disagreement between directors concerns how association business is conducted.
Applying any of the other exceptions listed in the act would be even more far-fetched, since they refer to litigation, assessments, court orders and business negotiations.
As the law says, if the discussion does not qualify for any of the exceptions to the closed meeting rule, no discussion or action may take place.
Clearly, the directors are in a jam, since they are legally required to announce publicly why they propose to meet privately to discuss how they present themselves to the public.
Here’s a better way: be straight with each other, stop maneuvering for advantages and take care of business. Do those three things and you can dislike each other all day long. The public will be fine with that.