OMA Physical Attendance Requirements
The Chicago Executive Airport Board of Directors (Board) did not violate OMA when it held a meeting on March 18, 2020. There was not a quorum of members physically present at the meeting. The chairman was present while six other executives participated via teleconference.
On March 19, 2020, a request for review was submitted to PAC. The requestor alleged that the Board violated sections 2.01 and 7(a) of OMA. Section 2.01 of OMA states that, “[a] quorum of members of a public body must be physically present at the location of an open meeting.” Section 7(a) of OMA states that a member may be allowed to attend a meeting by other means (video or audio conference) because of certain enumerated reasons if a quorum of members are physically present.
This meeting took place under special circumstances. Under normal circumstances, the six executives would not have been able to attend remotely. However, the Governor of Illinois declared all counties of Illinois as a disaster area on March 9, 2020, and issued Executive Order 2020-07 on March 16, 2020 in response to the outbreak of COVID-19. Executive Order 2020-07 suspended sections 2.01 and 7(a) of OMA for the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation. Executive Order 2020-07 and the disaster proclamation were in effect at the time of the meeting. Therefore, the meeting was lawful and no further action was needed.
Note: We have summarized this non-binding opinion as it may help districts understand how the PAC is interpreting Executive Order 2020-07 on OMA.