Public Access Opinion 23-014

Vote to Approve Closed Session Minutes Must Occur in Open Session

Open Meetings Act - OMA
Case: Public Access Opinion 23-014
Date: Friday, December 1, 2023

On October 4, 2023, Requestor submitted a Request for Review to the Public Access Counselor (PAC) alleging that the Village of Skokie Board of Trustees (Board) violated section 2(e) of the Open Meetings Act (OMA) by approving the closed session minutes from the June 5, 2023 meeting in closed session during its October 2, 2023 meeting.

Section 2(e) of OMA states that “no final action may be taken at a closed meeting” and that “final action shall be preceded by a public recital” sufficient to inform the public about the business being conducted.

On review, the PAC noted that the plain language of Section 2(e) indicates that a final vote may not be taken in closed session. Instead, the Board may discuss whether to approve the minutes in closed session and vote in open session, or take a preliminary vote in closed session and a final vote in open session. Further, adequate recital during open session only requires making a motion to approve the closed session minutes of a meeting held on a particular date and does not require revealing details of the underlying matters discussed.

The PAC found that the Board violated Section 2(e) of OMA. The PAC ordered the Board to include the approval of the June 5, 2023 closed session minutes on the agenda for the next regular meeting and provide the public with adequate recital before voting on the approval of those minutes.

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

Michelle Yang, IASB Law Clerk