Condo Media - June 2020 - 56

The Region

RHODE ISLAND

Remote
Meetings

A New Normal for Associations
[by Frank A. Lombardi, Esq., CCAL]

The COVID-19 crisis has brought about
a sea change in the way things work in
our society, but for associations in particular, the changes will be seen in the way
they will have to operate for at least the
next year or perhaps two; that is, at least
until a working vaccine is discovered
and most of us can take advantage of it.
I mean, no matter what our government
says, or even what our most brilliant
doctors and scientists say, how long will it
take for each of us to really feel comfortable congregating in a relatively small
meeting place area with 100, 50, or even
25 of our neighboring unit owners to decide on a budget, a new board, or a badly
needed capital improvement project?
Probably a long time, yes, and so for the
time being, the new normal will be that
association meetings are done remotely
with the use of the latest technology.
SETTING UP VIRTUAL MEETINGS
While it will be relatively easy to implement new technology to set up virtual
meetings for say annual or budget meetings, the age-old problem of notice, opportunity to be heard, inclusion, etc.,
will still need to be addressed.
Since budget meetings are critical
for the fiscal health of an association,

56

CONDOMEDIA June 2020

I've included below one of the first
remote meeting notices that I've seen
implemented. Here is a budget meeting
notice published in the April 17, 2020
Providence Journal, sent out by the North
Providence Town Council, parts
of which I've paraphrased:
TOWN OF NORTH
PROVIDENCE-NOTICE
A Public Hearing on the
2020/2021 Budget will be Held on
April 28, 2020, at 6:00 P.M.
Join Zoom Meeting: http..........
Dial by your location:
+1 312-...-....
Meeting ID: 297........
The following is a summary of the
proposed budget for the operation
of the various departments and
agencies for the fiscal year
July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021,
submitted to the Town Council of
the Town of North Providence,
by Mayor Charles Lombardi in
accordance with Article 5 of the
North Providence Town Charter,
as amended.
Mary Ann De Angelus, Town Clerk

Note above that the meeting will be
held virtually via Zoom, in which the
host, here, the Town Council, through the
Town Clerk, has extended an invitation
to any town resident to join the meeting
from their homes. To participate in the
meeting, the citizens may call in on the
specified number to give their input, and
if, applicable, vote. This reminds me of
the game show, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, where a contestant is asked a
question, and if he or she does not know
the answer, can choose a help option of
"Ask the Audience." And thereby, each
audience member, the town resident by
analogy, simply texts their answer from
their phones, and the recipient, here, the
Town Council, can get feedback or votes
from the community.
By analogy, an executive board could
hold a meeting virtually, invite each unit
owner to join, listen, and see the debate
on a budget, and then, where applicable,
give input and ultimately vote. Ditto for
elections and other association business.
REMOTE MEETING
CONSIDERATIONS
In the Providence Journal article, the
Notice includes a letter from the Mayor,
Charles Lombardi (no relation to this



Condo Media - June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Condo Media - June 2020

Contents
Condo Media - June 2020 - Cover1
Condo Media - June 2020 - Cover2
Condo Media - June 2020 - Contents
Condo Media - June 2020 - 2
Condo Media - June 2020 - 3
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Condo Media - June 2020 - Cover3
Condo Media - June 2020 - Cover4
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