Individuals who agree to serve on boards for their community associations will inevitably find themselves receiving confidential information about their friends and neighbors. This may be information about an alleged architectural violation, or an unpaid balance due to the association. Sometimes the association will receive complaints about police called to a home, only to learn later of alleged drug activity or a domestic violence situation. This may seem like juicy gossip, and it can be tempting to share this information with others. However, directors owe certain duties of confidentiality to their members, and understanding these duties is essential for the smooth and harmonious (and legal) operation of your community.
One good way to help remind board members of their obligations related to confidentiality is to have them sign a resolution or code of conduct that clearly sets out when and how individuals should keep information private. The Community Association Institute, an international membership organization dedicated to community associations, published its own Model Code of Ethics for Community Association Board Members several years ago that contains many important reminders to board members, and others, about how a board can operate consistent with the highest ethical standards. This Code can be used, in whole or part, to draft a code or resolution for your community that addresses areas of particular concern. It also provides a good outline of areas where a board member needs to be careful when it comes to discussing association business.
If you have questions about this or any other community association related matter, please contact one of our North Carolina attorneys in Charlotte, Greensboro, Wilmington or the Triangle, or our South Carolina attorneys in Greenville and Columbia.
Author: Harmony Taylor
Articles have been Reprinted with permission from Black, Slaughter, Black.
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