As many directors and managers already know, the time it takes to successfully run an Association can be significant. One of the tools that Boards have often used to efficiently handle issues that were not the subject of debate has been the Action Without Meeting, or “AWOM”. Well, no more. California Governor Jerry Brown has now signed, bill SB 563 which becomes effective January 1, 2012, and amends the Open Meeting Act to eliminate a Board’s ability take action without a meeting.
In addition to eliminating the AWOM, SB 563 also requires that members of the association be given at least two days notice for a meeting that will be held solely in executive session, and changes the rules for holding a meeting via teleconference. Under the new law, if a Board meets via teleconference, the Association must specify a physical location where members can attend in person and listen to the meeting. In addition, at least one Board member must be physically present at the identified meeting location.
Lastly, Boards will be prohibited from acting via email with the very limited exception of emergency meetings. Emergency meetings may be called “if there are circumstances that could not have been reasonably foreseen which require immediate attention and possible action by the board, and which of necessity make it impracticable to provide notice” as would otherwise be required. However, before a Board can hold an emergency meeting via “electronic transmission” all members of the board, individually or collectively, must consent in writing to that action (the consent can be transmitted electronically, such as in an email), and the written consent or consents must be filed with the minutes of the meeting of the board.
Read the full text of the new law here.