Q: We have a small condo association and it is difficult, as I assume it is for most, to get people to serve on our board. The idea we came up with is to have one person serve as the treasurer/secretary. In Illinois, is this legal? Is it something that you would recommend? Our bylaws don't say anything against it.
—Apathy in Alsip
A: Attorney Matthew Goldberg of the law firm of Bancroft, Richman & Goldberg, LLC in Chicago explains, “Condominium associations generally have two elections annually. The first election is intended fill to open board positions, at large from amongst the unit owners at a general meeting of the unit owners. The second election, which often immediately follows the first if not within a few days thereafter, is intended to fill specific officer positions (i.e. President, Secretary and Treasurer) from amongst the board members whom are elected at large by the unit owner population. This is covered under Sections 18(c), (d) and (e) of the Illinois Condominium Property Act. Only board members vote at this second election to fill specific offices.
“Although you should check your bylaws to determine if there is some provision unique to your condominium association, the only limitation found in the Illinois Condominium Property Act regarding who may run for the board is found in Section 18(a)(1) of the Act. Section 18(a)(1) provides that only unit owners may run for the board of managers and in the event there are multiple owners of a single unit, only one of the owners of that particular unit may hold office at a time. This rule does not apply if say if these two owners owned multiple units and each ran on behalf of a different unit. Also, it is important to remember that both election meetings require a quorum as outlined in your governing documents. If your problem is that you do not have enough people to run for the board rather then fill board positions and thus cannot fill a quorum you will need to consider other options. Either unit owners will need to step up and run for the board or deconversion is another option.
“What you describe is a common problem that is often solved in the manner you derive. There is nothing wrong or illegal about one board member holding multiple offices so long as that person is ready, willing and able to complete all the responsibilities designated to both positions. Also, it is important for all the board members to understand that even if they do not hold a specific office, they may also be held liable for a breach of fiduciary duty by the one taking on all the duties.”