Q. With all of today’s technology available, and with video/audio conferencing by Skype or other means more popular today, I'm thinking that more associations would like to hold their meetings via the Internet or telephone conferencing. I'm wondering if there are any parameters for this, or if there are any legal restrictions. Where can I find the guidelines for meetings held by condominium associations?
—Board Business in Bloomington
A. “Sections 107.05(d) and 108.15(c) of the Illinois General Not for Profit Corporation Act allow individuals to participate in association meetings remotely by telephone conference or other communications means,” says Robert M. Prince, an attorney and partner with the law firm of Chatt & Prince, P.C. in Burr Ridge.
“However, if the association's articles of incorporation or bylaws specifically prohibit remote participation, then the association cannot allow board members and members to participate. Provided those documents do not prohibit the practice, a board member or committee member may participate in board meetings by remote means. The association may also allow members to participate in membership meetings as long as the practice is not prohibited in the articles of incorporation or the bylaws.
“An important caveat is that the means of communication among the participants must allow the participants to communicate with each other. Thus, a member cannot merely have another member on the phone, relaying what is happening. Instead, individuals who are participating remotely must be able to communicate with those in attendance at the meeting, including each other. Therefore, having two individuals on speaker phone is likely not permissible since they will not be able to directly communicate with each other.
“There are several items that an association should consider when dealing with remote participation in meetings. First, members of the association may not have a phone, a computer or the Internet that would allow them to participate remotely. Since these individuals must be permitted to attend meetings under Illinois law, the association will still have to have a physical meeting location. Second, though association meetings are open to the members, they are private meetings. The association should have a system for verifying identities of participants in the meetings to ensure that the meeting is only being accessed by its members.
“Associations should consider adopting rules and regulations concerning remote participation at meetings so that it can appropriately respond to requests by board members and members who want to attend in such a way.