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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Executive Sessions and Complying with The Sunshine Laws

We often get comments about what gets discussed in executive sessions. Below is some information which might shed some light on the subject.

SECTION 30-4-70. Meetings which may be closed

(a) A public body may hold a meeting closed to the public for one or more of the following reasons:

(1) Discussion of employment, appointment, compensation, promotion, demotion, discipline, or release of an employee, a student, or a person regulated by a public body or the appointment of a person to a public body; however, if an adversary hearing involving the employee or client is held, the employee or client has the right to demand that the hearing be conducted publicly. Nothing contained in this item shall prevent the public body, in its discretion, from deleting the names of
the other employees or clients whose records are submitted for use at the hearing.
(2) Discussion of negotiations incident to proposed contractual arrangements and proposed sale or purchase of property, the receipt of legal advice where the legal advice relates to a pending, threatened, or potential claim or other matters covered by the attorney-client privilege, settlement of legal claims, or the position of the public agency in other adversary situations involving the assertion against the agency of a claim.
(3) Discussion regarding the development of security personnel or devices.
(4) Investigative proceedings regarding allegations of criminal misconduct.
(5) Discussion of matt ers relating to the proposed location, expansion, or the provision of services encouraging location or expansion of industries or other businesses in the area served by the public body.
(6) The Retirement System Investment Commission, if the meeting is in executive session specifically pursuant to Section 9-16-80(A) or 9-16-320(C).

From the Attny General:
There are two keys for public bodies preparing to enter an executive session: “votes” and “specific purposes.” To adjourn into executive session, a vote must be taken in public. The only actions that can be taken in executive sessions are to adjourn or return to public session.  Finally, no informal polling about a course of action may be taken in executive session.

(b) Before going into executive session the public agency shall vote in public on the question and when the vote is favorable, the presiding officer shall announce the specific purpose of the executive session. 

For the full guide, visit this link:

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