Boards at Frobisher Place have frequently been consumed with a perceived need to maintain confidentiality of their discussions.
Citing confidentiality is legitimate in cases of:
- personnel matters. Example: performance appraisals and salary adjustments for Supers
- transactions with outside firms where competitive advantage could be an issue. Example: bids for contract work from different companies
- transactions with individual owners. Example: condo fees in arrears for a particular unit
- circumstances where a legal opinion is needed. Example: a resident has experienced a problem that may fall within Human Rights policies and legislation
As I see it, there has been excessive reliance on confidentiality. The result is poor communication with owners who have a right to know what their Board is discussing and how it reaches its decisions. At the last Board meeting I attended there was discussion of 35 topics. In my opinion, only 6 of those could be considered confidential according to the above criteria. The other 29 were matters owners not only could but should know about.
Considering 1 and 2 above, we could narrow the need for confidentiality even further. Owners should know the fact that the Board will be discussing staff performance and salary but owners should not be privy to the outcome of those discussions. Similarly, owners should know that the Board will be discussing bids for fire system upgrades but owners should not get the details before contracts are awarded.