September 13, 2004
FROM: Robert J. Freeman, Executive Director
The staff of the Committee on Open Government is authorized to issue advisory opinions. The ensuing staff advisory opinion is based solely upon the information presented in your correspondence.
As you are aware, I have received your letter in which you asked whether "home owners associations established pursuant to a Declaration of Condominium to manage the affairs of the Condominium [are] subject to the Open Meetings Law."
In my view, they are not. The Open Meetings Law applies to public bodies, and §102(2) of that statute defines the phrase "public body" to mean:
"...any entity for which a quorum is required in order to conduct public business and which consists of two or more members, performing a governmental function for the state or for an agency or department thereof, or for a public corporation as defined in section sixty-six of the general construction law, or committee or subcommittee or other similar body of such public body."
Based on the foregoing, the Open Meetings Law is applicable to governmental entities; it does not apply to private or non-governmental organizations. I note that a public corporation is typically a unit of local government (i.e., a county, town, village, school district, etc.) or a public authority.
It is suggested that the by-laws of a homeowners association might include provisions concerning the right of members to attend meetings and that you might seek to review them.
I hope that the foregoing serves to clarify your understanding of the scope of the Open Meetings Law and that I have been of assistance.