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2012 Vol. 8 Official Opinions of the Open Meetings Compliance Board
8OMCB1

Closed Session Procedure

  • Voting - practices permitted, no violation of requirement that vote be held in open session
  • Written Statement - practices in violation

Minutes

  • Generally
    • not to be treated as Public Information Act request
  • Closed Session Statement - Generally
    • must describe items considered in enough detail to convey the issue discussed
    • must include the three items specified by the Act

Compliance Board

  • Authority and Procedures - request for penalty, not within Board's authority

Meeting

  • Generally - posting of agenda in advance, not required by Act

Exceptions Permitting Closed Session

  • Legal Advice of counsel - exception applies when counsel is also member of staff so long as legal advice was given

Anne Arundel County Ethics Commission

8OMCB8

Compliance Board - Authority and Procedures

  • Response to complaint - public body's response inadequate where it does not provide information on the statutory criteria at issue

Meeting

  • Determined to be a meeting - convening of quorum of public body at committee meeting
  • Determined not to be a meeting - quorum not present or convened

Minutes

  • Generally - not required to reflect events which were not discussed or acted on in meeting
  • Practices in violation - failure to identify attendees of closed session and other information

Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions

  • Procurement, sec. 10-508(a)(14) - within exception: discussion of sole source contract only to the extent intertwined with competitive procurement that would be adversely impacted by disclosure of sole source discussion
  • Litigation, sec. 10-508(a)(8) - within exception:
    • discussion of settlement possibility
    • discussion of contract for litigations services in connection with litigation
  • Legal Advice, sec. 10-508(a)(7) - within exception: discussion of settlement possibility, with counsel

Maryland Transportation Authority, Capital & Finance Committees

8OMCB19

Open Session Requirement

  • Practices in violation, charging admission
Meeting
  • Determined to be a meeting: convening of quorum at event initiated and sponsored by the public body to discuss public business
Carroll County Commissioners
8OMCB27 Minutes
  • Procedures, practices in violation:
    • Treating minutes request made in person as a Public Information Act request

Maryland Transportation Authority

8OMCB32 Minutes
  • Generally
    • level of detail required
    • preparation within reasonable time, required

Carroll County Utilities Advisory Council

8OMCB35

Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions

  • Collective Bargaining
    • discussion of collective bargaining negotiations when public body had statutory duty to review any agreement before the negotiations public party executed it

  • Closed Session Procedures
    • Written statement
      • preparation before closed session required
      • level of detail required

City of Annapolis Advisory Commission

8OMCB38
  • Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions
    • Legal Advice - Generally
      • Exception extends to public body's receipt of advice but not to deliberations on policy matters
  • Closed Session Procedures
    • Voting - Practices in violation
      • Vote at one meeting to close the next
  • Closed Session Procedures
    • Written statement - Practices in violation
      • Preparing written statement after meeting

Calvert County Board of License Commissioners for Calvert County

8OMCB42
  • Exceptions Permitting Closed Session
    • Legal Advice - Within exception
      • Discussion with counsel of affordability of settlement offers
  • Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions
    • Litigation - Within exception
      • Discussion about status of settlement negotiations
  • Compliance Board - Authority and Procedures
    • Jurisdictional limits
      • No authority to compel production of document
  • Records
    • Open session
      • Minutes to be available to members of public, including those participating in litigation against public body

Salisbury City Council

8OMCB46
  • Closed Session Procedures
    • Voting - Vote to close not to be held in closed session

  • Written Statement
    • Generally - Duty of presiding officer to ensure accuracy at time of closing

  • Notice Requirements
    • Method - Generally
      Best feasible notice required for emergency meetings

  • Minutes
    • Generally - Transmission by e-mail not required

  • Compliance Board - Authority and Procedures
    • Jurisdictional limits

  • Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions
    • Personnel, sec.10-508(a)(1) - Within exception, discussion of:

  • Public Body
    • Generally - Status of committee as formally-created body generally ascertainable by parent body

Maryland Transportation Authority

8OMCB56

Meeting

  • Generally: walking quorum exception to quorum requirement
  • Determined not to be a meeting: quorum not present or convened

Calvert County Board of Appeals

8OMCB63

Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions

  • Procurement, sec.10-508(a)(14) within exception, discussion of: discussion of procurement matter after bid opening but pre-award, when adverse effect of disclosure found

Closed Session Procedures

  • General need to meet the elements of the exception claimed

Closed Session Procedures

  • Written Statement Advisory Function
    omission of information on how each member voted on action taken in closed session

Closed Session Procedures

  • Written Statement Advisory Function
    omission of functions of each non-member attendee

Minutes

  • Generally redaction generally not permitted

Public Body determined not to be a public body

  • Proposal evaluation panel created by procurement staff

Compliance Board Authority and Procedures

  • Jurisdictional limits
    Open Meetings Act issues only

Maryland Transportation Authority

8OMCB71

Minutes

  • Generally
    • Preparation within reasonable time, required

Compliance Board - Authority and Procedures

  • Opinions
    • Reconsideration of prior opinion - standards

Compliance Board - Authority and Procedures

  • Jurisdictional limits
    • Public body's distribution of opinions to members -
      not governed by Act

Carroll County Utilities Advisory Council

8OMCB73

Public Body

  • Determined not to be a public body
  • Procurement panel put together by staff

Public Body

  • Determined not to be a public body
    • Private group formed by member of the public

Compliance Board - Authority and Procedures

  • Jurisdictional limits
    • Open Meetings Act issues only

Compliance Board - Authority and Procedures

  • Complaint
    • Should be limited to requirements of the Act

Baltimore Development Corporation

8OMCB76

Notice Requirements

  • Applicability
    • Notice required for parent body and committee when quorum of parent attends committee meeting
  • Content
    • Announcement of tentative date insufficient when public is given no means of confirming it
    • Failure to provide public notice of method of publication
  • Method
    • Practices in violation
      • Oral announcement at parent body's meeting insufficient
      • Failure to provide written notice when meeting not scheduled under exigent circumstances
  • Timing
    • Generally
      • One-day notice not permissible when public body knows earlier of the need to meet

Charles County Planning Commission

8OMCB84

Administrative Function

  • Within Exclusion, discussion of:
    • Pursuant to statute, filling vacancy on council

Open Session Requirement

  • Practices permitted
    • deciding whether to allow public participation

Mayor and Town Council of Hurlock

8OMCB86
  • Closed Session Procedures
    • Voting - vote to close must be held in open session

  • Closed Session Procedures
    • Written Statement - failure to prepare written statement

  • Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions
    • Legal Advice, sec. 10-508(a)(7)
      • Outside exception - counsel not present

  • Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions
    • Personnel, sec. 10-508(a)(1)
      • Outside exception, discussion of:
        • policies or actions affecting classes of employees

  • Minutes
    • Closed Session Statement
      • Practices in violation
        • failure to include summary of closed session in minutes of open session

Somerset County Board of Education

8OMCB89
  • Administrative Function
    • Within exclusion, discussion of:
      • selection of members to attend a function
      • administration of existing expense policy
      • review of line items in existing budget when future policy not discussed
      • interpersonal relations among commissioners
      • department heads' communications with members, to the extent that discussion did not involve policy issues
  • Notice Requirements
    • Content
      • notice of closed meeting must specify that the vote to close will be held in open session
      • notice must specify location of meeting
      • notice of meeting to perform functions within the Act should be updated when public body instead decides to meet only to perform administrative functions

Carroll County Commissioners

*Topic headings correspond to those in the Opinions Index (2010 edition) at http://www.oag.state.md.us/opengov/openmeetings/appf.pdf

8OMCB95
  • Open Session Requirement - Generally
    • No violation when alleged discussion of policy matters did not occur

  • Closed Session Procedures - Written Statement - Generally
    • Reason for closing to be specified when not apparent from the topic discussed

  • Minutes - Closed Session Statement - Generally
    • Disclosure of topics not discussed advisable when meeting was closed in part to discuss them

Maryland State Board of Education

*Topic headings correspond to those in the Opinions Index (2010 edition) at http://www.oag.state.md.us/opengov/openmeetings/appf.pdf

8OMCB99
  • Closed Session Procedures Written Statement
    • Practices in violation - topic description reiterating statutory authority

  • Minutes - Closed Session Statement
    • Practices in violation - inadequate description

  • Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions -
    • Business Relocation sec. 10-508(a)(4)
    • discussion of negotiation with business considering location in the county: within exception

  • Compliance Board Authority and Procedures
    • Complaint
      complaint to be based on good-faith belief of violation, after reasonable inquiry

  • Meeting - Determined not to be a meeting:
    • Lunch during noon recess when no public business was discussed

Board of County Commissioners of Washington County

*Topic headings correspond to those in the Opinions Index (2010 edition) at http://www.oag.state.md.us/opengov/openmeetings/appf.pdf

8OMCB103

Meeting - Determined not to be a meeting:

  • In the absence of a quorum, circulation of form requesting agenda items or staff actions

*Topic headings correspond to those in the Opinions Index (2010 edition) at http://www.oag.state.md.us/opengov/openmeetings/appf.pdf

Board of County Commissioners of Carroll County

8OMCB107

Administrative Function - Within Exclusion, discussion of:

  • overseeing audit staff, to the extent that the discussion involves current operation, not future policy

*Topic headings correspond to those in the Opinions Index (2010 edition) at http://www.oag.state.md.us/opengov/openmeetings/appf.pdf

Maryland Transportation Authority

8OMCB111

Notice Requirements - Content

  • Omission of date, time, place in website posting
  • Notice Requirements - Method - Generally
    Posting on office door inside office building insufficient when public was last notified of the method 8 years ago
  • Open Session Requirement - Practices permitted
    For conference call meeting, enabling the public to listen by speaker phone
  • Open Session Requirement - Practices permitted
    Holding a meeting at a restaurant, without charge
  • Minutes - Generally
    Preparation and adoption within reasonable time required

*Topic headings correspond to those in the Opinions Index (2010 edition) at http://www.oag.state.md.us/opengov/openmeetings/appf.pdf

Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority

8OMCB115
  • Compliance Board - Authority and Procedures - Opinions
    Disputed issues of fact: cannot be resolved
  • Quasi-Judicial Function - Within the function:
    Determination subject to certain judicial review
    provisions
  • Administration Function - Within the Exclusion, discussion of:
    Application of existing law to claims against fund administered by the public body

*Topic headings correspond to those in the Opinions Index (2010 edition) at http://www.oag.state.md.us/opengov/openmeetings/appf.pdf

Maryland State Board of Morticians and Funeral Directors

8OMCB118
  • Public body - determined not to be a public body: Neighborhood association controlled by lot owners

*Topic headings correspond to those in the Opinions Index (2010 edition) at http://www.oag.state.md.us/opengov/openmeetings/appf.pdf

Pines Community Improvement Association, Inc.

8OMCB120

Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions - Personnel, sec.10-508(a)(1) discussion of candidates for appointments to board

*Topic headings correspond to those in the Opinions Index (2010 edition) at http://www.oag.state.md.us/opengov/openmeetings/appf.pdf

Board of Commissioners of Charles County

8OMCB122

Closed Session Procedures - Written Statement -
Generally - required to report actions taken
Minutes - Generally - need not include documents reviewed by the public
body at the meeting must be informative
Minutes - Generally - posting on website, not required
Compliance Board - Authority and Procedures - Opinions - disputes of fact not resolved

*Topic headings correspond to those in the Opinions Index (2010 edition) at http://www.oag.state.md.us/opengov/openmeetings/appf.pdf

Town of Betterton

8OMCB125

Notice Requirements - Timing - Practices permitted
Publication in Maryland Register one month before the meeting
Notice Requirement - Method - Practices permitted - Posting notice in Maryland Register
Minutes - Procedures - Practices permitted - Adoption by e-mail if the practice of adopting them in meetings would result in unreasonable delay
Minutes - Procedures - Practices in violation - Practice of adopting minutes several months later, at the next meeting
*Topic headings correspond to those in the Opinions Index (2010 edition) at http://www.oag.state.md.us/opengov/openmeetings/appf.pdf

Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority

8OMCB128

Compliance Board - Authority and Procedures - Complaint - Prompt assertion of allegations preferable, to enable public body to gather accurate facts
Compliance Board - Authority and Procedures - Response to Complaint - Review by members of public body preferable
Open Session Requirement - Generally - Regulation of videotaping
Open Session Requirement - Practices permitted - Regulation of location of videographer
Open Session Requirement - Practices in violation - Prohibiting videotaping of audience

*Topic headings correspond to those in the Opinions Index (2010 edition) at http://www.oag.state.md.us/opengov/openmeetings/appf.pdf

Prince George's County Council, Sitting as the District Council

8OMCB135

Compliance Board - Authority and Procedures - Jurisdictional Limits - Open Meetings Act issues only
Quasi - Judicial Function - Within the function: property tax assessment appeals board's deliberations on cases subject to Administrative Procedures Act

*Topic headings correspond to those in the Opinions Index (2010 edition) at http://www.oag.state.md.us/opengov/openmeetings/appf.pdf

Kent County Property Tax Assessment Appeals Board

8OMCB137

Closed Session Procedures - Generally- Practices in violation - failure to meet procedural requirements
Closed Session Procedures - Written Statement- Practices in violation - failing to prepare
Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions - Business Relocation, sec. 10-508(a)(4) - membership in athletic conference: outside exception
Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions - Legal Advice, sec. 10-508(a)(7) - Within exception - advice on compliance with Act
Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions - Litigation, sec. 10-508(a)(8) - Within exception -discussion of potential lawsuit
Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions - Other Law, sec. 10-508(a)(13) - discussion of confidential financial information: within the exception
Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions - Procurement, sec. 10-508(a)(14) - membership in athletic conference: outside exception
Minutes - Generally- Minutes of closed sessions to evidence the applicability of the claimed exception
Minutes - Closed Session Statement - Practices permitted - not specifying vote to adjourn
Minutes - Closed Session Statement - Practices permitted - not listing how each member voted when recorded vote was not required
Minutes - Closed Session Statement - Practices in violation - failure to identify attendees whose presence was not confidential
Notice Requirements - notice required despite fact that media has learned of the meeting
Open Session Requirements - violated by excluding public

*Topic headings correspond to those in the Opinions Index (2010 edition) at http://www.oag.state.md.us/opengov/openmeetings/appf.pdf

University System of Maryland Board of Regents

8OMCB150

Closed Session Procedures - Written Statement -practices in violation
Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions - Personnel, sec.10-508(a)(1) - Within exception, discussion of: specific individual's employment contract
Minutes - Generally -timely adoption required
Notice Requirements - Content - describing entire meeting as "closed" when vote to close required to be held in public
Notice Requirements - Method - practices permitted posting on website
Notice Requirements - Timing - practices permitted posting six days in advance
Board of Regents of Morgan State University

*Topic headings correspond to those in the Opinions Index (2010 edition) at http://www.oag.state.md.us/opengov/openmeetings/appf.pdf

8OMCB161

Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions - Legal Advice, sec. 10-508(a)(7) - Within exception - Discussion with a lawyer with whom the public body has formed an attorney-client relationship

Carroll County Commissioners

*Topic headings correspond to those in the Opinions Index (2010 edition) at http://www.oag.state.md.us/opengov/openmeetings/appf.pdf

8OMCB166

Closed Session Procedures - Written Statement
Generally - use of model form recommended, but not required
Compliance Board - Authority and Procedures - Opinions
Conflicting inferences: cannot be resolved
Compliance Board - Authority and Procedures - Response to complaint
Response required of each public body alleged to have violated the Act
Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions - Personnel, sec 10-508(a)(1)
Within exception, discussion of: Selection of recipients of honorary degrees
Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions - Private information about individuals:
Generally: applicable only to confidential personal information

University System of Maryland Board of Regents-
Committee on Education Policy and Student Life

*Topic headings correspond to those in the Opinions Index (2010 edition) at http://www.oag.state.md.us/opengov/openmeetings/appf.pdf

8OMCB170

Compliance Board - Authority and Procedures
Complaint
Complaints to be based on good-faith belief, after
reasonable inquiry into the facts, that Act was
violated
Dismissal appropriate when allegations, taken as true
do not state violation of Act
Compliance Board - Authority and Procedures
Jurisdictional limits
No authority to address public body's decision on
soliciting input from public

Baltimore County Council

*Topic headings correspond to those in the Opinions Index (2010 edition) at
http://www.oag.state.md.us/opengov/openmeetings/appf.pdf

8OMCB173

Minutes - Generally
Minutes to be prepared "as soon as practicable"
When prompt adoption of minutes is impracticable
through no fault of the public body, public body
should provide meeting information in another form

Maryland State Water Quality Advisory Committee

*Topic headings correspond to those in the Opinions Index (2010 edition) at http://www.oag.state.md.us/opengov/openmeetings/appf.pdf

8OMCB176

Minutes - Generally
Minutes to be prepared "as soon as practicable"
When timely adoption of minutes in a meeting is
impracticable through no fault of the public body,
public body should adopt them by a different
method
Belated adoption of closed session minutes not a
substantial violation

Maryland State Board of Elections

*Topic headings correspond to those in the Opinions Index (2010 edition) at http://www.oag.state.md.us/opengov/openmeetings/appf.pdf
8OMCB180

Minutes - Generally
Minutes to be prepared "as soon as practicable"
When prompt adoption of minutes is impracticable
through no fault of the public body, public body
should provide meeting information in another form

University System of Maryland Board of Regents

*Topic headings correspond to those in the Opinions Index (2010 edition) at http://www.oag.state.md.us/opengov/openmeetings/appf.pdf
8OMCB182

Closed Session Procedures - General
Procedures, summarized
Closed Session Procedures - Written Statement
Practices in violation
Failure to prepare written statement before closing
the meeting
failure to provide information required by Act
Minutes - Closed Session Statement - Generally
Summary of a closed session should meet elements of
the exception claimed as a basic for closing
Minutes-Closed Session Statement - Practices permitted
Not disclosing names of individual personnel discussed
in meeting closed for that purpose
Not disclosing real property discussed in meeting
closed to discuss the acquisition of that property
Minutes- Generally - Practices in violation
Failure to provide information required by Act
Notice Requirements- Applicability
Failure to provide: violation.
Notice Requirements- Content
Notice to convey that public may observe the public
body's vote to close a meeting under sec.10-508

Town of Centreville Town Council

*Topic headings correspond to those in the Opinions Index (2010 edition) at http://www.oag.state.md.us/opengov/openmeetings/appf.pdf
8OMCB188

Minutes - Generally
_ Minutes to contain certain information
Notice Requirements - Method - Practices in violation
Failure to give notice, or, if given, to retain copy for
one year
Open Session Requirement- Practices in Violation
Meeting at location not open to the public

Baltimore City Automated Traffic Violation
Enforcement System Task Force

*Topic headings correspond to those in the Opinions Index (2010 edition) at http://www.oag.state.md.us/opengov/openmeetings/appf.pdf
8OMCB193

Administrative Function - Within Exclusion, discussion of:
application of existing personnel policies

Notice Requirements - Method - Generally
requirements applicable to open session held to conduct vote to close

Closed Session Procedures - Written Statement -
Generally
to be prepared before the closed session

Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions -
Personnel, sec.10-508(a)(1) - within exception, discussion of
contract of individual employee

Board of Trustees of Frederick Community College

*Topic headings correspond to those in the Opinions Index (2010 edition) at http://www.oag.state.md.us/opengov/openmeetings/appf.pdf

 
 

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