OMLET Complaint Form
Homeowner Associations & The Open Meeting Law
A homeowner association does not satisfy the definition of "public body" because it is not a political subdivision, is neither a multi-member governing body nor an instrumentality of a political subdivision, and is neither a corporation nor an instrumentality whose board of directors is elected by a political subdivision. See Ariz. Att'y Gen. Op. 188-055. A homeowner association does not meet the definition of a "public body" in A.R.S. § 38-431(6), therefore it is not subject to the Open Meeting Law. Id. However, in 1994 the Arizona Legislature enacted A.R.S. § 33-1804 and required that “all meetings of the [homeowner] association and the board of directors are open to all members of the association" except for any portions of a meeting relating to four exempted topics (employment, legal advice, litigation, and enforcement matters). Also, the homeowner association must supply notice of its meetings to all members, unless the articles of incorporation and bylaws provide otherwise. See A.R.S. § 33-1804(B). The Attorney General, County Attorneys, and other public lawyers are not authorized to enforce the laws relating to homeowner associations. A homeowner association can have great influence in community affairs, and because its decisions affect its members, its members should always be invited to attend and observe the association’s deliberations. Thus, although not subject to Arizona's Open Meeting Law, homeowner associations are strongly encouraged to always conduct public meetings which are properly noticed. See Ariz. Att'y Gen. Op. I97-012."
How We Investigate Complaints
The Attorney General’s Office (the “Office”) is authorized by statute to investigate and resolve allegations that public bodies have violated the Open Meeting Law. The statute requires that complaints submitted to the Office be in writing and signed. We do not act on anonymous complaints. Complaints and supporting materials are public records and may be disclosed as required by law. Upon receipt of the complaint, the case is assigned to a member of the Open Meeting Law Enforcement Team (“OMLET”). The OMLET member will review the complaint and may contact the public body and other witnesses for a response to your allegations and any other relevant evidence. This may require subpoenas or depositions of key witnesses. If necessary, the OMLET member will contact you to obtain further information. The OMLET member will go through this process for each complaint filed against the body, including supplemental complaints filed later. In order to expedite the process, please consolidate your complaints as much as possible.
How We Resolve Complaints
After gathering the relevant evidence, the OMLET member will work with the public body to reach a resolution of the case. The Office’s primary mission in enforcing the Open Meeting Law is to ensure compliance and educate the public and public officials about the requirements of the statute. Most cases are resolved with mandatory training and a term of monitoring in which an independent attorney ensures that the public body is complying with the Open Meeting Law. In serious cases, the OMLET member may seek a civil penalty of $500 per incident. If the public body refuses to reach an agreed resolution, the OMLET member may file suit in superior court seeking that the appropriate remedies be imposed by court order. If the evidence establishes that a public officer violated the Open Meeting Law with the intent to deprive the public of information, the OMLET member may seek to have the officer removed from office.
How You Can Help Us
To expedite an investigation as much as possible, please provide as much specific information as you can about the alleged violations, such as the dates and times of events, the people present, and the content of any conversations. Also, please send any documents, photographs, video, or other evidence that support your allegations. Please include the name and contact information for other witnesses who are willing to provide evidence about the alleged violations.
If you are one of a group of people interested in filing a complaint against a public body, please select one person to file a complaint and attach written statements from the remaining complainants. Each written statement will receive the same attention as having been filed as a separate complaint.
(Electronic submission is currently unavailable, to submit complaint by mail, please download a printable pdf.)