ERIC Number: ED207141
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Closed (Executive) Sessions: How to Use & Present Them to the Public.
Harms, Edward C., Jr.
The author makes two initial assertions regarding the use and presentation of closed meetings. First, the real problem is not how to present them to the public but how to present them to the media. Second, closed sessions should never be used unless absolutely necessary. After presenting the reasons for the "sunshine" laws, the author cites exceptions to such laws: discussions of attorney-client matters (especially involving litigation), collective bargaining matters, some personnel matters, records that are exempt from disclosure, real property negotiations, or student expulsions. Although other subjects might best be discussed privately, state legislatures have determined that the advantages of disclosure outweigh the advantages of privacy. The only exceptions are when private rights are involved or where public interest would be immediately (not just potentially) damaged. Possible embarrassment of board members or employees is not sufficient reason for a closed meeting. If a session must be closed, the reasons for doing so ought to be documented in writing. The discussion must be prevented from straying to another topic that cannot be discussed in closed session. As soon as possible, any decision made must be explained publicly as fully as possible. (Author/JM)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Guides - Non-Classroom
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Closed Sessions; Oregon; Secrecy; Sunshine Laws
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National School Boards Association (41st, Dallas, TX, April 11-14, 1981).