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2013 Vol. 9 Official Opinions of the Open Meetings Compliance Board
9OMCB1

Administrative Function - Outside Exclusion, discussion of:
matters falling within advisory and quasi-legislative functions

Advisory Function - formulation of recommendations under delegation by parent
public body

Closed Session Procedures - Written Statement - Practices permitted
use of pre-prepared statement if adopted when the public body votes to
close

Minutes - Procedures - Practices in violation
failure to adopt without undue delay

Notice Requirements - Content - Notice requirement
not met by notice of "executive" session

Open Session Requirement - Generally
meeting about "budgetary concerns" to be open unless Act expressly
provides otherwise

Quasi-Legislative Function - Within the function:
the process as well as the act of approving, disapproving or amending a
budget

Re: University System of Maryland Board of Regents
(Craig O'Donnell, Complainant)

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

9OMCB15

Closed Session Procedures - General
Practices in violation
after-the-fact addition of reason for closed session
Closed Session Procedures - Written Statement
Practices in violation
failure to prepare written statement before closing meeting
Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions -
Business Relocation, sec 10-508(a)(4)
purpose and application of exception, generally
approval of legislation, outside exception
land use or financing matter that might generate future proposals from businesses, outside exception
Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions -
Marketing of Public Securities, sec 10-508(a)(6)
discussion of legislation on size of taxing district, outside exception

Board of Finance of Baltimore City
(Stephen Janis and Melissa Roeder (Fox45) and Luke Broadwater (The Baltimore Sun), Complainants

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

9OMCB29

Administrative Function
Within Exclusion, discussion of:
Council's appointment to vacancy on the council
Closed Session Procedures
Written Statement, practices in violation
Failure to prepare written statement
Minutes
Closed Session Statement, practices in violation
Failure to prepare minutes or disclose summary of closed sessions
Open Session Requirement
Practices in violation
Discussing in a closed session topics not within the claimed exception

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

Re: Town Council, Town of Hurlock (Reverend Charles T. Cephas, Complainant)

9OMCB37

Notice Requirements
Method, practices in violation
Notice only to people on distribution list

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

Re: Coastal and Watershed Resources Advisory Committee ("CWRAC")
Michele J. Fluss (Complainant)

9OMCB40

Meeting - Determined to be a meeting:
interaction of a quorum on public business

Notice Requirements - Method - Generally
notice to be given to the general public

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

Re: Frederick County Board of County Commissioners
Catherine Forrence and Kimberly Melon (Complainants)

9OMCB44

Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions
Legal Advice, sec 10-508(as)(7) - Within exception
advice on legality of assessing fees against county

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

Re: Mayor and Council, City of Rockville, Joseph Jordan, (Complainant)

9OMCB46

Closed Session Procedures - Written Statement

  • Practices in violation - omitting reason for closing and
    topic to be discussed
  • Failure to provide written statement to public at time
    of closing

Compliance Board - Authority and Procedures
Generally - Provision of written closing statement to
Board when person objects to closed session

Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions -
Business Relocation, sec.10-508(a)(4)

  • Particular businesses' proposal to relocate in city

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

Re: Baltimore Development Corporation, Kevin Litten, Baltimore Business Journal, Complainant

9OMCB53

Public Body - Determined not to be a public body

  • gathering of agency personnel for training

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

Re: Department of Budget and Management Senior Procurement Advisory Group, Gary Goldberg, Complainant

9OMCB55

Scope of Act - Act applicable only to "meetings"
Meeting - Determined not to be a meeting
Quorum not present

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

Re: Board of County Commissioners of Frederick County
Kimberly Mellon, Complainant

9OMCB57

Closed Session Procedures - Written Statement
Generally - Written statement to comport with oral announcements to the public about the topics to be discussed

- Written statement to be prepared before the closed session

Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions
Personnel, sec. 508(a)(1) - Outside exception, discussion of: amendment to town charter and town officers' authority

Notice Requirements - Content
Notice to include statement that meeting will be partly closed, when the topic can be anticipated

Open Session Requirement - Practices permitted
Holding the closed session in a different room than the one posted for the open meeting and then returning for the second part of the open meeting, if the public has been informed of that plan

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

Re: Mayor and Town Council of Rock Hall (consolidated complaints) Susan Francis, Robert Willis,and Grenville B. Whitman, Complainants

9OMCB71

CLOSED SESSION PROCEDURES - GENERAL

  • Disclosures to be in plain language that tells public what will be discussed, and, as to each topic, why the public will be excluded, and what law permits the closing

EXCEPTIONS PERMITTING CLOSED SESSION - Collective Bargaining, Sec.10-508(a)(9)

  • Within exception: discussion of whether to ratify collective bargaining agreement that is not final until ratified by public body

PROCUREMENT, Sec.10-508(a)(14) - Within exception, discussion of

  • Naming rights when done as part of procurement process, if disclosure would adversely affect public body's ability to participate in the competitive bidding/proposal process

PROPERTY ACQUISITION, Sec.10-508(a)(3) - Outside exception, discussion of:

  • Sale of public body's real property

PRIVATE INFORMATION ABOUT INDIVIDUALS - CONCERNING MATTER NOT RELATED TO PUBLIC BUSINESS, Sec. 10-503 (a)(2)

  • Within exception, discussion of personal history of candidate for public honor

MINUTES OF OPEN SESSION - Contents - Practices Permitted

  • Not required to specify method of adoption when action not taken in open meeting
  • not required to contain extensive detail about sub-committee's adoption of minutes and election of officers
  • not required to repeat all of the information on the closing statement that was adopted and made available during the meeting

MINUTES OF OPEN SESSION - SUMMARY OF CLOSED SESSION IN MINUTES OF OPEN SESSION - Practices in Violation

  • descriptions of topics that bear no apparent connection to the cited exceptions
  • use of terms too vague to convey information
  • failure to include all items required by the act
  • use of specialized terms that the public probably does not understand

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

Re: University System of Maryland Board of Regents
Craig O'Donnell, Complainant

9OMCB78

ADMINISTRATIVE FUNCTION - Within Exclusion, discussion of:

  • Issuance of check to implement decisions that had been reached during public sessions

EXCEPTIONS PERMITTING CLOSED SESSIONS - LEGAL ADVICE, Sec.10-508(a)(7) - WITHIN EXCEPTION

  • Receipt of legal advice on options for implementing decisions already taken publicly

EXCEPTIONS PERMITTING CLOSED SESSIONS - LITIGATION, Sec.10-508 - WITHIN EXCEPTION

  • Discussion of specific matter in and potentially in litigation

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

Re: Board of County Commissioners of Frederick County
Courtney Mabeus (Frederick News Post)
and Sonja Sperlich, Complainants

9OMCB81

Public Body - Determined Not to be a Public Body

  • Committee Formed by School Superintendent

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

Re: Beach Redistricting Committee of the Board of
Education of Calvert County
Nick Myers, Complainant

9OMCB83

Administrative Function - Outside Exclusion, Discussion of:

  • Whether to Propose Budget Amendments

Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions - Legal Advice, sec. 10-
508(A)(7)
- Within Exception

  • Receipt Of Counsel’s Advice On Charter Requirements

Meeting - Determined to be a Meeting:

  • Convening of Quorum of Council at Subgroup Meeting

Notice Requirements - Timing

  • Practices In Violation - In the Absence of an Emergency, Giving
    Notice Right Before The Meeting


Public Body - Status Cannot be Determined Without Facts on
Creation

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

Re: City of Cambridge Finance Committee
Charles McFadden, Complainant

9OMCB92
  • Public Body - Determined to Be: Task Force Created by
    Resolution


  • Advisory Function - Performance of Delegated Function to
    Study a Matter of Public Concern


  • Minutes Of Open Session - Generally - Must be Generated
    for Public Body's Meetings

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

Re: Chestertown Waterfront Task Force
Craig O'Donnell, Complainant

9OMCB94
  • Meeting - Determined to be a Meeting
    • Attendance by a Quorum at Another Entity's Meeting,
      When Members Discussed Public Business
  • Public Body - Generally
    • Entities Created by Memorandum of Understanding
      Adopted by Public Body
  • Minutes of Open Session - Summary of Closed Session in
    Minutes of Open Session
    - Generally
    • Level of Detail Required

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

Re: Town Council of theTown of Chestertown
Craig O'Donnell, Complainant

9OMCB99
  • Closed Session Procedures - Voting - Practices in Violation
    Failure to Vote, in an Open Session, to Meet in Closed
    Session

  • Closed Session Procedures -Written Statement - Practices
    in Violation - Failure to Prepare Statements

  • Notice Requirements - Content - Violation: Notice of Only
    an “Executive Session” When Public Body was Required to
    Vote Publicly on Holding that Session

  • Minutes of Open Session - Contents -
    Failure to Include Closed-Session Summary in Open
    Session Minutes

  • Exceptions Permitting Closed Sessions - Procurement, sec. 10-508(A)(14) - Presentations of Proposals by Competing Law Firms

  • Litigation, sec.10-508(A)(8) - Within Exception
    Discussion of Legal Options for Opposing a Project When
    Position had Already Been Reached

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


Re: Town Council of the Town of Chevy
Ronit Aviva Dancis, Complainant

 
 

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