Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Open Meeting Law: Questions answered

  • PowerPoint only with presentation; but there is a video online
  • What about a joint meeting? Two postings?
  • if both bodies plan to deliberate, they both post, but it can be one posting
  • if a subcommittee meets after the full body meets, does it need its own posting? It can be a joint posting.
  • Is an ad-hoc committee of a school committee for naming a building a public body? It depends. If they haven't been delegated a task, that it may not be formal enough. Is it within the jurisdiction?
  • delegating areas of research? do you have a quorum and are you a subcommittee?
  • procedural deliberations public? Yes.
  • For public recruitment, if two people go, is it subject? Are they a quorum deliberating?
  • Consequences? Most common, tell what you did wrong, tell you how you should have done it, "go and sin now more" BUT if you do it again...
  • for remote participation: must be audible, can just use a conference call
  • municipal website can be where things are posted
  • final decision must be made publicly when it comes to candidates to consider
  • minutes of executive session approved in open session? Still an open issue. Approval done in executive session is still protected
  • Can co-sponsorship be published as part of the agenda? Clerk can request co-sponsorship, but it should be announced at the meeting. "If you are acting otherwise, you are acting as a conduit for deliberation"

  • Are AG's interpretations binding? Yes.
  • Executive officer determines remote participation
  • if there is public interest in an item, it's in your best interest to be sure it is properly posted
  • what if criminal misconduct is not related to their professional competency? Rights of purpose one
  • Detail of minutes? Back and forth of discussion and how issue was resolved
  • Can members of body be cc'ed on submitting an item. Yes, but without an opinion. Would counsel against it. Best practice is to send directly to the staff person.
  • Can rules be suspended for new business? Item "items not reasonably anticipated 48 hours in advance" Encourage public participation section; can end comment if new issues
  • what if the public body doesn't meet within the 14 days of the complaint? Encouraged to call meeting to deal with it. Can write a response explain need for extension.Should generally get together to discuss it.
  • How much detail must be given in posting of executive session? As much as reasonably possible without taking away reason for executive session."to the best extent possible what is to be discussed" There is a practical concern. Identifying union should be fine to list. Same deal with property: if naming it would have a detrimental affect, then don't name it.
  • if a meeting has been properly posted, but there is no quorum, what can be done? There's no meeting, but this is a question of the rules of the public body. 
  • is a review of personnel rules an executive session? Probably not (not covered)
  • should all role call votes be voted publicly? Best practice is yes. Can a member change a vote? Matter for the rules of the body.

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