Virtual Board Meetings may Soon be coming to an End
On Friday, June 25, 2021, Governor Pritzker extended the Disaster Declaration related to COVID-19 for another 30 days. Pursuant to the declaration, public bodies may continue to hold virtual meetings in accordance with the Open Meetings Act amendments adopted last year. It appears, however, that the end may be near for virtual meetings. Unlike past declarations, the June 25 declaration includes the following language specific to the Open Meetings Act exception: “[A]s the number of fully vaccinated individuals in Illinois continues to increase, I do not expect to make this finding again, and public bodies should plan on its expiration as of July 24, 2021.”
For those that are not already doing so, public bodies should begin to prepare to hold in-person meetings exclusively after July 24, 2021. If the Governor stands by this statement, public bodies will need to adhere to pre-pandemic OMA requirements for in-person meetings. For example, a quorum of board members must be physically present to hold a meeting. An absent board member will only be allowed to participate in the meeting if the board member’s absence is the result of an illness, for employment purposes, or for a family or other emergency.
If you need assistance with transitioning back to in-person board meetings, please contact the authors of this post or any other Franczek attorney.