Legal Corner: Speakerphone and Skype policies for boards
by Ronald S. Shubert, Esq.
Q: A number of presidents of community association boards have asked about the legality of the use of speakerphones or skyping of board members at meetings. A number of boards have members out of town at various times. May boards adopt a policy allowing for the participation of absent board members by speakerphones or skyping?
A: Yes. First, it is important to thoroughly review your association by-laws to determine whether or not there is a prohibition against the use of speakerphones or skyping. Typically, in by-laws that I have drafted in reference to participation by speakerphone or skyping, I have provided language that allows for members of the board to participate in a meeting by means of a conference telephone or skyping so long as all persons participating at a meeting can hear each other. Such participation in the meeting by speakerphone or skyping shall constitute attendance at such meeting. I further provide that action permitted or required to be taken at a meeting may be taken without a meeting if all members of the board consent in writing. Such written consents shall be filed with the Secretary of the board. If your by-laws do not prohibit skyping or speakerphone use, I would suggest that the by-laws be amended to provide such participation.
Of course, your board can proceed without an amendment, simply by resolution, however, my recommendation would be a simple amendment to the by-laws.
Ronald S. Shubert is a partner in the law firm of Phillips Lytle LLP and presently represents more than 400 community associations throughout New York State.