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Monday, March 6, 2017

PAC Finds No OMA Violation in Advisory Opinion

A long-time reader of the blog forwarded a copy of a recent advisory opinion issued by the Public Access Counselor (PAC) ruling in favor of a public body against a challenge that the body violated the OMA. 2016 PAC 42283
According to the opinion, an individual filed a request for review with the PAC alleging that the village board violated the OMA in two respects. First, the complaint alleged that the agenda for the village board meeting did not provide sufficient information to the public as to the action that was taken by the village board in approving a new residential development. Second, the complaint alleged that the board members held secret meetings and discussions outside of a properly noticed meeting to discuss changes to the development plan and approvals.
With respect to the first complaint, the PAC determined that the agenda was descriptive enough to comply with section 2.02(c) of the OMA. The agenda listed 3 separate action items relating to the development, including a reconsideration of a previous document, an ordinance granting a special use permit for a planned development, and a resolution approving the development concept plan and subdivision plat. The complainant argued that the agenda was deficient because it did not identify that this was a new 32-lot proposal or that it had been amended from a previously presented 34-lot proposal. The PAC ruled that there was no statutory requirement to identify the plan as new or amended or to otherwise provide more specific details about the plan, and found no violation.
As to the second complaint, the PAC determined that there was no evidence that Board members met or discussed the plan in violation of the OMA. The public body's counsel responded to the allegations in a letter to the PAC, reporting that he had discussed the allegations with individual board members and that there was no evidence to support these allegations. Based on these assertions, as well as the fact that the OMA does not apply to work performed by staff members or discussions by less than a quorum of the public body, the PAC found no support for this complaint.
Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf


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