Guidance for Board Meetings During COVID-19

Pursuant to Governor Executive Order No. 202.1 issued 3/13/2020, the Open Meetings Law requirements for Board Meetings have been temporarily modified as such:

Suspension of law allowing the attendance of meetings telephonically or other similar service:
Article 7 of the Public Officers Law, to the extent necessary to permit any public body to meet and take such actions authorized by the law without permitting in public in-person access to meetings and authorizing such meetings to be held remotely by conference call or similar service, provided that the public has the ability to view or listen to such proceeding and that such meetings are recorded and later transcribed. No. 202.1

If a Board decides to conduct regular or emergency meetings of the Board of Trustees remotely:

  • Meetings must be available live (as they are conducted) as well as recorded
  • Transcription of online meetings is separate from the Minutes, which still must also be kept
  • A quorum is still needed to pass an action
  • If the Board votes to enter Executive Session, live stream and recording may be paused
  • Minutes of Executive Session are still required if a Board takes formal action
These modifications have been extended through June 27, 2020 in Executive Order 202.34 (issued May 29, 2020).

Announcing Your Meetings

Using the following language when posting your meetings will help show your compliance with this executive order.

In keeping with Executive Order 202.1 (regarding emergency adjustments to the Open Meetings Law in response to the Covid-19 pandemic), the public is not permitted in-person access to this meeting, and the meeting shall be held remotely via [METHOD]. As required by the Governor’s Order, the public will have the ability to [VIEW OR LISTEN TO] such proceeding at [METHOD], and the meeting shall be recorded and transcribed.

Executive Session

If a Board votes to enter Executive Session for a legal reason, the direction to stop the recording for the duration of the Executive Session should be noted in the motion, and the direction to resume the recording when the executive session is ended should also be in the motion and noted in the minutes. Minutes of Executive Session are still required if a Board takes formal action. More information on entering Executive Session can be found on page 29 of the Handbook for Library Trustees of New York State.

Tools to Use

The most popular free online meeting options are:

This link provides a review of 10 video conferencing websites/apps to help select which might work best for your needs.

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