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Monday, May 14, 2018

School Board Did Not Violate OMA in Using "Self Evaluation" Exception

A recent PAC opinion addressed Section 2(c)(16) of the Open Meetings Act in an advisory opinion. 2018 PAC 51767. While a non-binding opinion, it offers guidance on interpreting the “self evaluation” exception of the OMA.

A school board member filed a complaint with the PAC alleging that the school board violated the Open Meetings Act by holding an improper closed session. The Board entered closed session at a special meeting to discuss self-evaluation of Board procedures under 2(c)(16) of the Act. While in the closed session, the Board also discussed ways in which it could prevent the complainant from posting on social media.    

Section 2(c)(16) allows a public body to discuss in closed session “self evaluation, practices and procedures or professional ethics, when meeting with a representative of a statewide association of which the public body is a member.”  The school board argued that the closed session was proper as two representatives from a statewide association, Illinois Association School Boards, were present to conduct the self-evaluation.  The board contended that the complainant’s allegations focused on a part of the closed session where the board discussed concerns about actions taken by individual board members.  It argued that the discussion was directly related to the self-evaluation.  The complainant argued that the discussion did not fall with the scope of the 2(c)(16) exception, claiming that the discussion centered on policy, not self-evaluation. 

Upon review of the verbatim recording of the meeting, the PAC found that the discussion was made in the context of discussing improvements to certain practices and procedures.  The PAC found that the discussion during the closed session was within the scope of 2(c)(16) and no violation of the Act occurred. 

Post Authored by Erin Pell, Ancel Glink


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