Public Records vs HOA Records

Technically Public Records/Open Meetings Laws (“OML”) for government and HOA’s are entirely different
·        But transparency principles emanating from years of government experience guide legal decision making for HOA’s. See also the video of the debate over the Harper Amendment in Section D. which transferred government transparency principles to HOA’s
·        One big difference
        o   There are 300+ known exceptions allowing government to close meetings and deny records- See Appendix 7.
        o   There are only FIVE for HOA’s 
        o   This reflects the legislators intent to ensure transparency in HOA’s
·       Some examples comparing the two


Public Records/OML
HOA’s
Exceptions available to close meetings and deny records
Approx. 300+ valid exemptions
FIVE – just FIVE
Legal precedent
Abundant thanks to Arizona Republic and Goldwater Inst.
Very little other than OAH cases and legislative intent
Executive Sessions
Officials must conduct a public vote to close meetings
Nothing, although an Agenda must still be supplied
Time limit to satisfy records request
No set limit. Just “reasonable” time frames
10 business days – not 11! It’s the law
Compliance
Arizona has an excellent independent system of enforcement via
·         The Ombudsman Office
·         OMLET (AG’s office)
Very little other than members own due diligence
When records are withheld
Must give broad description of what’s withheld and why
General principles only
Punishment
Can be very severe, particularly for officials.
OAH penalties plus fiduciary sanctions


For insomniacs and detail oriented people, for details of Arizona Open Meeting laws, click here.
For Public Records Laws, click here.