After a long day at work, it’s sometimes nice to sit down with a lovely glass of red wine or a cocktail.  However, at the risk of sounding like an old fuddy duddy, I have to say that alcohol and HOA board meetings are just not a good mix.

Directors attend board meetings to conduct the business of their HOAs.  It is not unusual for directors to consider complex or controversial issues which require their focused attention.  While I have luckily never witnessed an intoxicated director at a meeting, directors are required to fulfill their fiduciary duty to the associations they serve and to exercise their sound business judgment.  It’s no secret that the consumption of alcohol can interfere with an individual’s judgment.  

Folks could argue that one glass of wine, a beer or cocktail doesn’t interfere with their judgment.  While that may be true, I would suggest that consuming alcohol at a board meeting could result in a perception that directors are not taking their role seriously or are not in any condition to make important decisions which affect homeowners and their associations as a whole.  Let’s face it, perception is reality in HOAs and this cannot be ignored.   

What if a lawsuit is filed against the Association regarding a decision that was made at a meeting where alcohol was being consumed by directors?  Do you think such a lawsuit would include a cause of action for breach of fiduciary duty?  Do you think a judge or jury could swayed by the fact that the directors could not have exercised their sound business judgment because they were under the influence of alcohol?  As a member of a board of directors of an HOA – I would suggest that you never want to be faced with these questions.

Once a board meeting has concluded, feel free to enjoy your neighbors and have that glass of wine or a cocktail.  Enough said from Molly Foley-Healy, your old fuddy duddy!