Re: executive closed sessions
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Wed, 15 Jul 2015 12:54:43 -0700 (PDT)
> On Jul 15, 2015, at 11:48 AM, Lynn Nadeau / Maraiah <welcome [at] 
>> wrote:
> Suppose you had a dissident member who was wreaking havoc on the community's 
> time, energy, money and emotions? Lawsuits, restraining orders, bad-mouthing, 
> etc. At some point you might want to be discussing the community's strategy 
> for self defense. Without any provision for closed sessions, the adversarial 
> member could listen in on it. How would that work? 

Why wouldn’t it? Why not confront it head on instead of secretly? 

I don’t think it is a problem for people to share their own feelings privately 
but if you are taking legal action or discussing the financial affairs of the 
association, why does it have to be secret and what effect does that have on 
the rest of the life of the community.

When a legal action is in progress, it is usually not discussed because it’s 
hard to avoid mixed messages that can affect the process and statements of 
fact. When we were negotiating the warranty settlement with our developer, the 
negotiations were open until a certain point so everyone had input but when the 
serious negotiations began they were limited to the team. This was to avoid 
incorrect information and manipulation on anyone’s part that would affect 
negotiations. But we all knew what was being negotiated and received reports 

On another occasion one unit was behind 5 months on condo fees. Some of the 
people who knew this were very angry and refused to allow the person so serve 
on the Board. No one else knew why. It was very uncomfortable to know someone 
was so far behind. Who was it? Why? Did they need help? Were they planning to 
move and not tell anyone? What?

The president wisely went to talk to the person and set up a payment plan. 
Problem solved. All the secrecy was not warranted and had a significant affect 
at least part of the community. 

I think evaluating this in terms of the aim is important. I often ask why treat 
community participation, particularly workshare, differently than money. Here I 
ask why treat money differently than community participation?

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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