BY JOHN KIRITSIS, ESQ., CPA, MBA, MS, JD, LL.M
When conducting board business in New York City (NYC) condos through conference calls or other forms of remote communication, it’s important to adhere to legal guidelines and best practices to ensure transparency, compliance, and effective decision-making. Here are some legal do’s and don’ts for communicating during conference calls in NYC condo board meetings:
Provide Notice: Notify all board members in advance about the scheduled conference call. Provide the date, time, and agenda for the meeting.
Keep Minutes: Designate someone to take minutes during the conference call. Accurate minutes help document decisions, discussions, and actions taken during the meeting.
Follow Open Meetings Laws: Comply with any open meetings laws or regulations that apply to condo board meetings in NYC. Ensure that the meeting is accessible to unit owners if required by law.
Use Secure Technology: Ensure that the chosen conferencing technology is secure and encrypted to protect sensitive information discussed during the call.
Stick to the Agenda: Follow the meeting agenda to maintain focus and efficiency. Discuss relevant topics and avoid going off-topic.
Allow Participation: Give all board members the opportunity to speak and provide input on agenda items. Encourage open discussion and collaboration.
Provide Documents: Distribute relevant documents and materials in advance of the conference call. This allows board members to review information before the meeting.
Allow Public Comment: If required by law, provide a designated time for unit owners to comment or ask questions during the call.
Document Decisions: Clearly document decisions, resolutions, and action items in the minutes. Be accurate in recording who made motions and the outcomes of votes.
Adjourn Properly: Officially adjourn the meeting when all agenda items have been discussed and decisions have been made.
Exclude Board Members: Avoid excluding any board members from the conference call unless it is due to conflicts of interest or other legitimate reasons.
Private Discussions: Avoid private discussions among a subset of board members during the conference call. All discussions should be transparent and involve the entire board.
Unannounced Votes: Don’t hold votes on items that were not included in the agenda or not properly noticed in advance.
Off-the-Record Conversations: Avoid side conversations that are not documented in the minutes. All discussions should be part of the official record.
Bypass Open Meetings Laws: Don’t bypass open meetings laws by making decisions outside of official meetings, as this could lead to legal challenges.
Personal Attacks or Harassment: Avoid personal attacks, harassment, or offensive language during the conference call. Maintain a professional and respectful tone.
Lack of Quorum: Don’t proceed with decision-making if a quorum (minimum required number of board members) is not present.
Ignoring Owner Participation: If required by law, don’t ignore the opportunity for unit owners to participate and provide input during the call.
Failing to Document: Don’t neglect to record accurate minutes of the conference call. Proper documentation is crucial for transparency and accountability.
Decision-Making Under Pressure: Avoid making rushed decisions under pressure. If needed, adjourn the meeting and reconvene later to ensure thoughtful decision-making.
By following these legal do’s and don’ts during conference call communication in NYC condo board meetings, you can ensure that your board operates within the bounds of the law, fosters transparency, and promotes effective governance. It’s also recommended to seek legal advice to ensure compliance with any specific laws or regulations that apply to condo board meetings in NYC.
Citations, References and Potentially Useful Resources for Further Information:
New York State Constitution
Federal Securities Regulation
New York State Martin Act
New York Condominium Act
New York State Security Regulations
New York Business Corporation Law
New York Limited Liability Company Law
New York Uniform Partnership Act
Federal Internal Revenue Code
New York State Tax Laws, Rules & Regulations
New York City Tax Laws, Rules & Regulations
Winston Churchill Owners, Inc. v. Regents Real Estate Associates
Board of Managers of the Park Regis Condominium v. Park Regis Owners Corp.
Park Sutton Condominium v. 447 E. 57th St. LLC
28 E. 10th Street Corp. v. Veras
Riverside Syndicate, Inc. v. Munroe
Essex House Condominium v. Marks
The Parc Vendome Condominium v. Atkinson
54-56 Meserole Street Owners Corp. v. Rossi
The Beekman Regent Condominium v. Bottiglieri
Chelsea 19th LLC v. West 19th Street Realty LLC
New York Department of Finance
New York City Department of Buildings
New York City Bar Association
New York State Bar Association
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