Don’t have time to meet in-person? Let’s have a teleconference meeting.
QUESTION: If teleconferences are not provided for in our governing documents, can we use it for our annual meetings?
ANSWER: Yes, even if your documents are silent you can hold both board and membership meetings by teleconference where everyone calls into the same phone number to join the meeting.
Board Meetings. Directors are allowed to attend meetings by telephone provided all directors can hear and talk to one another. (Corp. Code §7211(a)(6).) For executive session meetings by telephone, boards must still give two days’ notice to the membership. Because it is executive session, members cannot attend.
For open meetings of the board, the Davis-Stirling Act requires that notice of meeting identify at least one physical location where owners can attend. ( Civ. Code §4090(b).) That means a conference phone must be at that location so members in the room can hear directors conduct the meeting. It must also give them the opportunity to be heard by the board during open forum.
Membership Meetings. Everything described above also applies to membership meetings. Small associations with members out of town or with absentee owners may find it convenient to hold their annual meeting via a conference call. The call-in number can be published so members can call into the meeting. Large associations may find it unwieldy to hold their annual meeting via a conference call-in number.
RECOMMENDATION: Invest in quality equipment at the meeting’s physical location. Putting a cell phone on speaker is not the best way to meet the statute’s requirements. I’ve attended meetings where that was done and it’s almost impossible for everyone to hear the conversation. A good conference phone is not very expensive and can be ordered online from Amazon.com. If you squeeze your budget hard enough, you can find the money to buy one.
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