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Subject: Conference call tool suggestions
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Author Messages
HomE
(Washington)

Posts:19


12/22/2017 10:10 AM  
Does anyone have any suggestions on conference call tools for use with the discussions between board members and also for board meetings. I'm trying to avoid re-inventing the wheel. Thanks.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:4632


12/22/2017 11:41 AM  
I'd like to hear replies to this too. We've been using a cell phone's cong. call feature, which is very unsatisfactory even tho' we only need this maybe once year.
ArtL1
(Florida)

Posts:46


12/22/2017 1:17 PM  
I'm curious about this too...but with the added wrinkle that in FL, HOA board meetings have to be open to the members, so we'd have to be able to allow any/all members interested to also join and at least be able to listen to the meeting.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:4632


12/22/2017 2:17 PM  
We in CA have the same statute as FL. Owners need to be able to hear the remote director.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:15081


12/22/2017 2:25 PM  
Skype works well.


We have open meetings as well and have used skype for Board members. Not an issue.
ArtL1
(Florida)

Posts:46


12/22/2017 3:46 PM  
Posted By TimB4 on 12/22/2017 2:25 PM
Skype works well.


We have open meetings as well and have used skype for Board members. Not an issue.




That's limited to 25 "callers" though, no?
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:1761


12/22/2017 9:48 PM  
Posted By ArtL1 on 12/22/2017 3:46 PM
That's limited to 25 "callers" though, no?

But there aren't 25 board members so that's not an issue. At board meetings, directors may attend via teleconference or a speakerphone setup. I'm pretty sure the intent of the law was to have at least 1 director at a fixed meeting location where the non-director owners could go in person to observe the meeting (and participate as appropriate).

The board can have the remote directors "dial in" to the meeting. There is no requirement that that same arrangement be made for owners who wish to attend.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:15081


12/23/2017 3:11 AM  
As Geno said.

The use of skype is for the board member who can not physically attend.
Members who desire to attend the open meeting may still do so, but need to show up in person.

I actually attended a meeting once via skype. It worked, but the dining room table didn't make for a great conference call.
AugustinD


Posts:658


12/23/2017 7:22 AM  
Polycom SoundStation 2 Non Expandable Analog Conference Phone (2200-16000-001). See https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00073FCS0/ref=asc_df_B00073FCS05311865/?tag=hyprod-20&creative=395009&creativeASIN=B00073FCS0&linkCode=df0&hvadid=198116571093&hvpos=1o4&hvnetw=g&hvrand=3600744743710464410&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9030506&hvtargid=pla-322487261961

RichardP13
(California)

Posts:2202


12/23/2017 8:18 AM  
This one works with a iPhone, since many meeting places don't have access to a land line.

https://www.amazon.com/Jabra-Wireless-Bluetooth-Softphone-Packaging/dp/B00AQUO5RI/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1507751096&sr=8-3&keywords=jabra+speak+510
ArtL1
(Florida)

Posts:46


12/23/2017 6:20 PM  
Posted By GenoS on 12/22/2017 9:48 PM
Posted By ArtL1 on 12/22/2017 3:46 PM
That's limited to 25 "callers" though, no?

But there aren't 25 board members so that's not an issue. At board meetings, directors may attend via teleconference or a speakerphone setup. I'm pretty sure the intent of the law was to have at least 1 director at a fixed meeting location where the non-director owners could go in person to observe the meeting (and participate as appropriate).

The board can have the remote directors "dial in" to the meeting. There is no requirement that that same arrangement be made for owners who wish to attend.




I was thinking "fully virtualized board meeting" where everyone "in attendance" does so via internet/phone. I've "been to" one such board meeting, but don't know what they used to setup the bridge or what the limits were.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:1761


12/24/2017 2:22 PM  
Art, you'd have to ask an attorney for real legal advice, but I think such a "fully virtualized" board meeting might not be allowed in Florida. There's nothing in FS 720, FS 718 or FS 617 that specifically discuss the isssue of , "What happens if ALL meeting attendees are remote participants?"
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:4632


12/24/2017 3:26 PM  
Good point, Geno. In CA, there has to be at least one live director at the meeting site so that Owners can attend our mandatory open board meetings.
ArtL1
(Florida)

Posts:46


12/24/2017 4:58 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 12/24/2017 3:26 PM
Good point, Geno. In CA, there has to be at least one live director at the meeting site so that Owners can attend our mandatory open board meetings.




I disagree




(2) BOARD MEETINGS.—
(a) A meeting of the board of directors of an association occurs whenever a quorum of the board gathers to conduct association business. Meetings of the board must be open to all members, except for meetings between the board and its attorney with respect to proposed or pending litigation where the contents of the discussion would otherwise be governed by the attorney-client privilege. A meeting of the board must be held at a location that is accessible to a physically handicapped person if requested by a physically handicapped person who has a right to attend the meeting. The provisions of this subsection shall also apply to the meetings of any committee or other similar body when a final decision will be made regarding the expenditure of association funds and to meetings of any body vested with the power to approve or disapprove architectural decisions with respect to a specific parcel of residential property owned by a member of the community.
(b) Members have the right to attend all meetings of the board. The right to attend such meetings includes the right to speak at such meetings with reference to all designated items....





I've been told this part of the statute is why a quorum of the board (2 people, on a 3 person board) can't even discuss HOA business on a phone call. If two of us on a phone call "is a board meeting", then I don't see why a meeting can't be done via conference bridge or similar VOIP tech where everyone in attendance is just on the bridge.

If there's a credible legal opinion that "gathers" means in-person or that narrowly defines "conduct association business" that would allow two of three board members to talk via phone about HOA business outside of a board meeting, I'd love to see it. Really.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:4632


12/25/2017 8:35 AM  
I noted, Art, that the requirement for one director to be physically present at open board meetings refers to CA. I assumed that Geno or someone else would check to see what applies in FL.

The section you cite doesn't tell us how board meetings can be conducted telephonically in FL, but there must be something somewhere.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:1761


12/25/2017 1:21 PM  
A quick search turns up only THIS 2009 ADVISORY OPINION from the Florida Attorney General, Bill McCollum. It's lengthy and is concerned with a municipal retirement board, not a condo or homeowners association. It also involves Florida's Sunshine Law which also does not apply to condos and HOAs, but the legislature seems to have used aspects of the Sunshine Law as a foundation for its HOA and condo statutes which require that board meetings and discussions be open to the members/owners.

The narrow question asked in that opinion has to do with whether or not the municipal board can meet with remote participants counting toward a quorum. By all means read the whole thing for context, but here are some brief excerpts from the text:


"This office has concluded that, in the absence of a statute to the contrary, the requisite number of members must be physically present at a meeting in order to constitute a quorum."

"... any advisory body is required to have a quorum in order to conduct official business, it appears that the members of these bodies must, in the absence of a statute to the contrary, be physically present in order to constitute a quorum."

"While I acknowledge that the City of Coral Gables ordinances creating the retirement board and empowering it do not contain language referring to the physical presence of a quorum of the members for the transaction of board business, I believe that the legislative requirement of a quorum and the designation of the number required to constitute a quorum argues for the physical presence of that number of board members at a meeting."

"However, those opinions specifically recognize that where a quorum is necessary for action to be taken, physical presence of the members making up the quorum is required in the absence of a statute providing otherwise."


Which way would a judge rule on the same question in a condo setting? Your guess is as good as mine unless there's some case history or prior rulings to draw upon for guidance.
ArtL1
(Florida)

Posts:46


12/25/2017 8:57 PM  
Have a look at FS 617.0820(4):

Unless the articles of incorporation or the bylaws provide otherwise, the board of directors may permit any or all directors to participate in a regular or special meeting by, or conduct the meeting through the use of, any means of communication by which all directors participating may simultaneously hear each other during the meeting. A director participating in a meeting by this means is deemed to be present in person at the meeting.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:1761


12/25/2017 11:09 PM  
OK, that would apply given that FS 718 doesn't explicitly address the situation, but how about this one?

FS 718.112(2)(b)5

"A board or committee member’s participation in a meeting via telephone, real-time videoconferencing, or similar real-time electronic or video communication counts toward a quorum, and such member may vote as if physically present. A speaker must be used so that the conversation of such members may be heard by the board or committee members attending in person as well as by any unit owners present at a meeting."

So, taken together, FS 617 and FS 718 seem to say all directors may participate remotely, but FS 718 also says the audio from remote participants must be amplified through a speaker(phone) so that the conversation may be heard by unit owners "present at a meeting". This implies that the meeting place need not have any directors physically present at all. But it still needs to be held at a location where unit owners can observe the procedings.

I still think it will take some legal authority (attorney, judge, DBPR, attorney general) to read all the applicable statutes together in order to decide the question. FS 617 and FS 718 don't exactly dovetail in every respect.
ArtL1
(Florida)

Posts:46


12/26/2017 8:24 AM  
FS 718 is for condos. I would expect no part of it is applicable to me (being that I'm in a HOA) unless specifically included by another statute.

I don't see that the OP in this thread specified (HOA vs Condo)...and they're in another state.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:4632


12/26/2017 8:40 AM  
Something I wonder about is that in FL (and CA), Owners present at open meetings must be allowed to ask questions, make remarks, etc. If they only can hear the remote directors, how, technically, can they verbally contribute? I'm assuming this issue is why that--in CA-- at least one director must be physically present.
ArtL1
(Florida)

Posts:46


12/26/2017 8:55 AM  
If it's a standard conference bridge, or the online equivalent (skype conference call, gotomeeting, etc.) then all participants are able to both hear and speak.

I just checked gotomeeting, and they have a tiered pricing model:

$19/month: 10 users
$29/month: 50 users
$49/month: 100 users

That mid-level tier would likely work for us under most circumstances. I wonder if it becomes a statute violation though if this is used for a "fully virtualized" board meeting, and you run out of attendee slots, so not everyone who wants to can attend? Any of the above are less than we currently pay monthly for a meeting room...but I doubt we'd want to totally give up in-person meetings in favor of online ones.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:1761


12/26/2017 1:27 PM  
Posted By ArtL1 on 12/26/2017 8:24 AM
FS 718 is for condos. I would expect no part of it is applicable to me (being that I'm in a HOA) unless specifically included by another statute.

I wouldn't count on that. There are a number of DBPR arbitration decisions where condo aspects of both the statutes and the Florida Administrative Code have been held to be applicable. If DBPR says condo election rules are reasonable in an HOA setting (HOA statute says virtually nothing about HOA election procedures), which are procedural in nature, then I think there's a good chance that the DBPR would also find that condo board meeting rules are applicable to HOAs. I can't think of anything more "procedural" in nature than the way board meetings are held.

There is precedent that where special software or network connections are required to participate in a meeting, the association must provide any owner who wishes to attend with access to such a setup.

FS 720 also says owners have the right to record all board meetings. Any meeting setup that precludes that from happening is probably illegal.

And the OP is not from Florida, so this is all probably irrelevant.
ArtL1
(Florida)

Posts:46


01/09/2018 9:51 AM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 12/25/2017 8:35 AM
I noted, Art, that the requirement for one director to be physically present at open board meetings refers to CA. I assumed that Geno or someone else would check to see what applies in FL.

The section you cite doesn't tell us how board meetings can be conducted telephonically in FL, but there must be something somewhere.




I just realized, I'd read "in CA" and thought "in general". Obviously, laws governing HOAs and not for profits can vary quite a bit from state to state.
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