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Public Access Opinion 15-005

Exceptions to Open Meetings and Agendas

Administrator Contracts
Case: Public Access Opinion 15-005
Date: Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A public body must cite the specific exception authorizing the closing of a meeting to the public. Section 2 (c) of the OMA allows an exception for discussions that directly involve specific employees. This section does not contain an exception that permits a public body to hold closed sessions to discuss employees in general or issues that may ultimately have an impact on employees.

The public should have advance notice that the public body is going to take final action. Here, the public body failed to incorporate in their regular meeting agenda an item indicating that a final action may be taken or any reference to the subject matter of the contract that was the subject of final action. The only reference to the discussion and vote on the contract was an item on the agenda titled “Executive Session”. Thus, the public body failed to give advance notice and violated Section 2.02(c) of the OMA.

This opinion is binding only to the parties involved and may be appealed pursuant to State law.

Shanell M. Bowden, IASB Law Clerk