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What constitutes a "public meeting"?

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1 minute ago, DuctTape said:

If the State has an "open meetings" law, this practice may be illegal. Often there are strict laws governing what may be discussed in executive session.  At the very least it is unethical. The purpose of public meetings is to discuss (debate) issues. 

Oh, I agree that the various "email exchanges" are certainly at least on sketchy legal ground when it comes to the "Open Meetings" act.

Most of the places I've worked that do a "Committee of the whole" or "Executive Committee" skate around the laws by publishing that meeting as well, but what they'll do is put out a notice that reads like:


City of Awesome Council meeting at 7pm on 1/2/19 in Council chambers

Agenda includes:

Formal hearing on Ordinance XYZ,

Monthly bills and expenditures,

Presentation on new wastewater facility

Simulcast in "viewing room" for overflow seating

                        Council Executive Committee meeting prior to the public meeting at 6:00pm in Conference Room 1


Usually they aren't really trying to have private discussions, they are just trying to have the actual debate somewhere slightly less formal with less potential for disruption.


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30 minutes ago, DuctTape said:

As examples, they are to help guide not be exhaustive lists. The counselor approves the specific meeting based on the purpose of requirement. 

Right.  But they do give us guidance.

With next year being an election year, you're starting to see debates happening in various places. These can be excellent forums to hear about diverse opinions, but they're not the only places.  I would definitely approve of a scout who wanted to attend an event labelled as a "forum", even though it might not follow a traditional debate structure. The "forum" tends to differ from a "debate" in that it focuses on a narrower subset of issues than a general "debate" might.  For example, there are "forum" events focused on women's issues, LGBT, climate issues, etc. 

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On 9/25/2019 at 8:04 AM, walk in the woods said:

Public vs private institutions. If the organization burns taxpayer dollars it's a public meeting 

Oh. I like that definition.  I will use that. 


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16 minutes ago, SSScout said:

Oh. I like that definition.  I will use that. 

Generally, I also understand a "public meeting" to be related to governmental function (even if it might not be directly spending taxpayer dollars).

But I also like DuctTape's definition:  "Public means you can attend, private is closed to "the public"."


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