Journalist's Guide

During • Please note: part of the meeting might be closed to the public. o Verify the topic to be discussed falls entirely within one or more of the 14 “exceptions” that allow the closed session. o Give notice of the open meeting that must be held right before the closed session, so the presiding officer can hold the required public vote to close the meeting. o Arrange for the presiding officer to prepare a written statement with the required disclosures. o Arrange for minutes to be kept and adopted as sealed minutes of the closed session. o Arrange for someone to ensure the closed session discussion will not go beyond the exceptions and topics cited on the written closing statement. o Arrange to disclose in the minutes of the next open meeting, the following: a statement of the time, place, and purpose of the closed meeting; a record of the vote to close the meeting and the authority to do so; and a listing of the topics discussed, the persons present, and the actions taken. o For a meeting recessed to hold a closed administrative session, arrange to disclose, in the minutes of the next open meeting, the following: date, time, and place, persons present, and subjects discussed. After • Prepare the minutes for adoption as soon as practicable (including summaries of any prior closed sessions). • Post the open-session minutes online or make them available for inspection and arrange to keep them for at least 5 years. Additional procedures for a closed session: The Act lists 14 topics a public body may choose to discuss behind closed doors after the public body has met specific conditions. The topics, referred to as “exceptions,” include such subjects as personnel discussions about particular individuals, the receipt of legal advice from the public body’s attorney, and subjects that must be kept confidential under other laws. The conditions are the presiding officer prepare a written statement, or “closing statement,” that cites the part of the Act that contains the applicable exception, lists the topics that will be discussed in the closed session, and gives the public body’s reason for excluding the public. The presiding officer also must conduct a recorded vote, in the open session, on a motion to close the session. A member of the public in attendance may object to the decision and also may inspect the closing statement. When the public body meets in closed session, the members may not discuss topics other than those listed on the closing statement. Likewise, their discussion of the topics they did disclose must fall within the scope of the exception they claimed. After a public body has met in a closed session, it must disclose some details about the session in the minutes of its next open session.


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