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2010 Vol. 7 Official Opinions of the Open Meetings Compliance Board
7OMCB1

Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions - Procurement - Closed sessions during with vendors made oral presentations as part of competitive procurement process allowed
Town of Ocean City

7OMCB5 Minutes - Contents - Failure to identify those present and to provide adequate description of topics discussed violated Act
Chesapeake Town Council
7OMCB8 Minutes - Procedure - Failure to prepare and approve minutes within reasonable period violated Act
Minutes - Preparation following all meetings, including public hearings, required
Minutes - Closed Session Statement - Merely paraphrasing statutory exception inadequate
Minutes - Preparation responsibility of public body
Centreville Town Council and Town's Planning Commission
7OMCB15 Open Session Requirements - Public body's discussion of Legislative or Quasi-legislative matters without notice to public violated Act
Criminal Injuries Compensation Board
7OMCB18 Notice Requirements - Method - Notice only to those who had preregistered to be advised of meetings violated Act

Coastal and Watershed Resources Advisory Committee
7OMCB21

Public Body - Boundary Study Committee appointed by Assistant School Superintendent as required under local Board of Education policy is a public body under sect. 10-502(h)(1)
Public Body - sect. 10-502(h)(2) has no application to entity appointed pursuant to local Board of Education policy
Meeting - Quorum not present or convened - Determined not to be a meeting
Notice - Quorum anticipated - Notice required even if, at time of session, quorum fails to attend
West Towson Elementary School Boundary Study Committee

7OMCB30

Minutes - Public Access - While Open Meetings Act grants the public a right to review minutes of a public meeting, the right to obtain copies governed by Public Information Act rather than Open Meetings Act
Closed Session Procedures - Written Statement - Right to obtain copies of closing statements prepared in connection with prior meetings governed by Public Information Act rather than Open Meetings Act
Maryland Transportation Authority

7OMCB36 Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions - Legal Advice - Exception, in combination with Litigation exception, authorized closed meeting with counsel regarding litigation and delegation of settlement authority

Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions - Litigation - Exception, in combination with Legal Advice exception, authorized closed meeting with counsel regarding litigation and delegation of settlement authority

Closed Session Procedures - Written Statement - Omitting specific statutory cite violated Act

Minutes - Closed Session Statement - Inadequate information violated Act
Havre de Grace City Council

7 OMCB 42 (2010)

Notice Requirements - Method - Oral Announcement of Legislative Committee meetings during final days of session satisfy Act
Notice Requirements - Method - Absent special circumstances, written notice required
Minutes - Failure to prepare and adopt violated Act
Maryland General Assembly

7 OMCB 49 (2010) Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions - Personnel - Deliberations on agency elimination - Outside exception
Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions - Elimination of County Agency - Consultations with legal counsel on employment law matters and discussions concerning options for specific employees - Session may be closed
Closed Session Procedures - Written Statement - Omitting topic to be discussed violated Act
Open Session Requirements - Practice in Violation - Access by invitation only
Charles County Commissioners
7 OMCB 58 (2010) Exceptions Permitting Closed Session - Legal Advice - Consultations with in-house counsel addressing opinions of other lawyers not present during meeting within exception
Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions - Collective Bargaining - Discussions concerning whether to ask union to reopen negotiations within exception
Howard County Board of Education
7 OMCB 64 (2010) Public Body - Generally - Effective October 1, 2009, definition expanded to include entities appointed by official subject to policy direction of independent body appointed by Governor and within the Executive Branch of State Government
Minutes - Public meeting governed by Act - Redaction inappropriate
Compliance Board - Response to complaint - Failure to address allegation violated Act
Maryland Transportation Authority
7OMCB69 Public Body - School redistricting committee not a public body as it was not established by formal action of the County Board of Education
Calvert County School System's Barstow Redistricting Committee
7OMCB76 Meeting - Presence of County Commissioners as individuals at meeting of another body not a meeting of the Commissioners
Public Body - Charles Count Economic Executive Committee appointed by County Commissioners sufficiently formed to be subject to Open Meetings Act
Charles County Commissioners
7OMCB80 Minutes - Preparation and approval normally by time of public body's next meeting - Public access to minutes
Brentwood Town Council
7OMCB83 Minutes - Review and approval of draft minutes by public body - Public access to minutes
Board of Appeals for the Town of Chesapeake Beach

7OMCB 85

Meeting - Presence of quorum of Town Council at meeting with Library Trustees concerning funding request for consideration by Council triggered Open Meetings Act
Galena Town Council

7OMCB89

Quasi-Judicial Function - Animal Control Commission proceeding concerning violations of Animal Control Ordinance
Litigation - Board defers consideration of complaint raising matters at issue in parallel litigation
Prince George's County Commission for Animal Control

7OMCB92

"Meeting"
Determined to be a meeting - Accidental quorum
attending another public body's meeting on matters
before both bodies
Compliance Board Authority
Process - Opinions - Reconsideration of prior opinion -
Standards
Notice -Timing - Generally
Craig O'Donnell - Kent County News

7OMCB95 Exception - Legal Advice - Outside Exception - Discussion of enforcement terms of special exception was distinct from pending litigation on the grant of the special exception.
Minutes - Preparation following all meetings, required.
Poolesville Board of Zoning Appeals
7OMCB101 Administrative Function - Within Exclusion - Discussion of School Board's election of its own officers
Howard County Board of Education
7OMCB105 Public Body - Determined not to be: informally created committees appointed by Library President
Meeting - Determined not to be a meeting: Mere attendance at another entity's meeting, at which the public body's own public business was not considered
Kent County Board of Library Trustees
7OMCB112 Closed Session Procedures - Written Statement - Practices in violation: preparing written statement before or after meeting; topic description reiterating statutory authority; and failure to record vote
Minutes - Practices in violation: inadequate description / violation
Exceptions - Collective Bargaining - Outside Exception - Discussion of whether to recognize a particular union or employee representative
Personnel - Outside exception - Sheriff's appointees to sheriff's advisory committee not invoking discussion of individual county employees
Public Safety - Outside exception - Discussion about Sheriff's advisory committee, not bearing on public safety
Allegany County Commissioners
7OMCB118 Minutes - Generally: preparation following all meetings, required; within reasonable time, required
Minutes - Contents - Final written report of committee not a substitute - Violation
Minutes - Practices Permitted - Transcript disclosure as minutes
Bridge and Tunnel Peer Review Panel
7OMCB121 Minutes - Generally - Preparation following all meetings, required.
Minutes - Procedures - Failure to review and approve minutes; failure to produce
Glenarden Youth Advisory Committee
7OMCB125 Exceptions - Personnel - Outside Exception - Job description
Exceptions - Personnel - Within Exception - Individual employees - Performance of County Attorney - Legal services proposals
Administrative Function - Within Exception - Deferral of topics to open meeting discussion - budget preparation
Exceptions - Collective Bargaining - Negotiations with unions
Minutes - Closed Session Statement - Failure to Include Description - Inadequate information
Kent County Board of Education
7OMCB131 Administrative Function - Outside the Exception - Hiring lobbyist to oppose legislation in General Assembly before adopting resolution to take that position
Closed Session Procedures - Written Statement - In violation - Uninformative boilerplate - Omission of topics that were improperly discussed in closed session
Exceptions - Personnel - Outside Exception - Reclassification of employees not involving information on specific employees - Inside Exception - Interviewing prospective lobbyist
Cecil County Board of Commissioners
7OMCB140

Minutes - Closed Session Statement - Practices in violation
Maryland Transportation Authority

7OMCB142

Closed Session Procedures - Written Statement - Practices permitted
Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions - Personnel, 10-508(a)(1) - With exception, discussion of:  appointment of specifically identifiable employee
Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions - Legal Advice - 10-508(a)(7) - Within exception
Compliance Board - Authority and Procedures - Disclosure of action taken in closed session - not prohibited by Act
Prince George's County Council

7OMCB148

Exceptions Permitting Closed Session - Legal Advice, 10-508(a)(7) - Outside exception - Request to counsel to draft legislation
Exceptions Permitting Closed Session - Litigation, 10-508(a)(8) - Status of pending litigation - Outside exception - Request to counsel to draft legislation
Exceptions Permitting Closed Session - Business Relocation, 10-508(a)(4) - Discussion of proposed zoning change, outside exception
Exceptions Permitting Closed Session - Business Relocation, 10-508(a)(4) - Discussion of financial incentives for that specific business entity, inside exception
Exceptions Permitting Closed Session - Business Relocation, 10-508(a)(4) - Discussion of legislation, outside exception
Closed Session Procedures - General - Practices permitted - Vote at same meeting, shortly before closed session
Minutes - Contents - Practices in violation - Failure to include in open session minutes actions that were taken in closed session but should have been taken in open session
Kent County Commissioners

7OMCB170

Public Body - Determined not to be a public body - Attorney General's Committee on Campaign Finance
Attorney General's Advisory Committee on Campaign Finance

7OMCB176

Meeting - Determined not to be a meeting - E-mail canvass
Meeting - Determined not to be a meeting - Separate telephone calls to each member
Public Body - Determined not to be a public body - Subcommittee not created by legal instrument
Public Body - Determined to be a public body - Subcommittee created by legal instrument
Maryland Transportation Authority, Capital and Finance Committees

7OMCB186

Quasi-Judicial Function - Within the function: hearings by 3-judge panels
Public Body - Determined to be a public body: 3-judge panels
Meeting - Determined not to be a meeting: Quorum not present or convened - 3 member panel of 9 member body
Legislative Function - Within function, discussion of: positons on legislation
Closed Session Procedures - Violated by failure to hold vote, make written statement and include summary in minutes in open session
Baltimore City Environmental Control Board

7OMCB193

Meeting - Determined not to be a meeting:  Quorum not present
Carroll County Commissioners

7OMCB195

Public Bodies - Generally - Private corporation solely owned by public body - Additional facts needed
Compliance Board - Opinions - Compliance Board unable to gather and determine the facts needed for resolution of complaint
Exceptions Permitting Closed Session  - Investment of public funds, sect. 10-508(a)(5) - Discussion of donation to another entity: outside exception.  - Discussion of corporate governance of corporation owed by public body: outside exception.
Minutes - Generally - Sealing and unsealing
Maryland Transportation Authority

7OMCB208

Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions - Property Acquisition, sect. 10-508(a)(3) - Discussion of use of property owned by the public body - outside exception
Minutes - Contents - Boilerplate reference to statutory exception in summary of closed session - in violation
Closed Session Procedures - Written Statement - Failure to include information required by Act - in violation
Administrative Function - Discussion of lease of real property to another entity not within the exclusion
Montgomery County Board of Education

7OMCB216

Closed Session Procedures - Written Statement Generally - Written statement to be completed by presiding officer or ratified by presiding officer's signature prior to closed session.  - Written statement may, but need not, reflect identities of members voting to close.  - Written statement must be informative
Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions - Personnel, sect. 10-508(a)(1) - Within Exception - Discussion of individuals.
Administrative Function - Discussion of members' own committee assignments, within administrative function
- Discussion of reorganization of departments, outside the administration function
Exceptions Permitting Closed Session - Property Acquisition, sect. 10-508(a)(3) - Discussion of sale of public body's property, outside exception
Queen Anne's County Commissioners

7OMCB225

Minutes - Procedures - Posting on website not required
Closed Session Procedures -
General - Practices in violation - Failure of presiding officer to complete closing statement; failure to include meaningful information
Administrative Function -
            Within Exclusion
-          Signing documents and letters not requiring decision-making; -          Discussion of repairs to equipment - Separate meeting on administrative matters.
Outside Exclusion -          Receipt of information on land-use matters; Briefing on matters as initial step in policy formation.
Meeting - Closed Session Statement - Meeting of quorum with cabinet members
Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions - -          Personnel, sect. 10-508(a)(1) - Within Exception - Discussion of specific individual's attributes.
-          Personnel, sect. 10-508(a)(1) - Outside Exception - Discussion of department responsibilities
-          Business Relocation, sect. 10-508(a)(4) - Within Exception - Discussion of retention of business in the County
-          Public Security, sect. 10-508(a)(10) - Within Exception - Discussion of location of 911 center involving security issues
-          Property Acquisition, sect. 10-508(a)(3) - Within Exception - Discussion of acquisition of agricultural easement
Minutes - Contents - Practices in Violation -             -          Failure to provide meaningful summary of closed session
-          Failure to identify persons present

Carroll County Commissioners    
7OMCB237

Notice Requirements - Practices in Violation - Posting notice at town hall insufficient when public body usually supplemented that method with others
Minutes

  • Procedure - Brief delay in approval permissible
  • Generally - Minutes to disclose how each member votes when a recorded vote is required

Town of Rock Hall

7OMCB245 Administrative Function - Outside the Exclusion - Discussion of lease of public entity's property to another entity
Closed Session Procedures -
Written Statement - In Violation - Uninformative boilerplate
General - In Violation - Failure to cite the correct basis for the closing
Exceptions Permitting Closed Session - Legal Advice, sect.10-508(a)(11) - Within Exception - Counsel's advice on lease
Minutes - Generally - Closed session minutes to contain meaningful information

Montgomery County Board of Education
7OMCB250 Administrative Function -
Outside Exclusion -
Discussion of licensing matters
Setting standards for regulated entities
Serving in advisory capacity
Within Exclusion -
Investigating patient complaints
Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions - Other Law, sect. 10-508(a)(13) - Medical review committee law
Closed Session Procedures - Written Statement - Generally - To be completed before meeting in closed session
Minutes - Contents - Practices in Violation - To contain meaningful summary of prior closed session

Commission on Kidney Disease
7OMCB259 Notice - Timing -
Generally - Best notice feasible required for meetings scheduled on short notice - Obscure location of notice on website not a violation when other methods used
Practices permitted - combination of notice by e-mail to interested citizens, press release, and website posting

Coastal and Watershed Resources Advisory Committee
7OMCB264

Minutes - Generally - Summaries of closed-session actions to be provided in minutes of next open session - minutes to be approved promptly
Administrative Function - Outside Exclusion - Citizens' committee created by informal consensus not a public body - discussion about whether to create a citizens' committee required to held in public session
Montgomery County Board of Education

7OMCB269

“Meeting” - Determined not to be a meeting - Gathering of fewer than a quorum when quorum not present
- Determined to be a meeting - Social gathering and chance encounter exception - not applicable when used to discuss public business
Administrative Function - Within Exclusion - Assignment of members to attend another entity’s event
Mayor and Town Council of Brentwood

7OMCB272

Meeting - Determined not to be a meeting - Act did not apply when a quorum of the members of the public body was not convened
Board of County Commissioners of Allegany County

7OMCB274

Property Acquisition, sect. 10-508(a)(3) - Acquisition of property for school by committee of board employees to acquire it - Acquisition of property from public entity
Minutes - Generally - Failure to keep - Violation by committee
Notice Requirements - Method - Practices in violation - No notice given by committee
Closed Session Procedures - General - Practices in violation - Failure to follow procedures by committee
Compliance Board - Authority and Procedures - Jurisdictional Limits - Outside jurisdiction - Complaint that a certain constituency was not represented as committee or given notice of contemplated action
Montgomery County Board of Education

7OMCB282

Meeting - Determined not to be a meeting - Lack of evidence that public body met to conduct the business of its wholly owned private corporation
Maryland Transportation Authority

7OMCB284

Public Body - Subcommittee created informally by one member of the public body does not meet the definition of a “public body” unless it performs the public body’s function
Compliance Board - Jurisdictional Limits - No authority to address Public Information Act requests concerning the respondent public body
Fees Subcommittee of the State Biosolids Task Force

 
 

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