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Wednesday, August 30, 2023

PAC Finds No Violation of OMA for Meeting Notice and Location

Thanks again to a Municipal Minute reader for forwarding today's PAC advisory opinion which provides more guidance on notice posting requirements under the OMA.

In this advisory opinion, the PAC addressed a complaint that an advisory body of a city (a TIF joint review board or JRB) did not comply with the OMA. The complainant argued that the advisory body violated the OMA for several reasons, including that it did not post the notice of the JRB on the city's website, did not properly post its notice, and that its meeting should have been held at city hall rather than a city-owned museum. 2023 PAC 76681.

First, the PAC noted that the OMA only requires website posting of meetings of the governing body (in this case, the city council), and not other public bodies of the city. This issue was also discussed in yesterday's blog post.

Second, the PAC accepted the city's affidavit of city staff that the meeting notice was posted both at city hall and at the museum where the meeting was held as sufficient evidence that the meeting notice was properly posted absent any counter evidence by the complainant.

Third, the PAC found no violation in the JRB holding its meeting at a city-owned museum, noting that the OMA requires open and convenient meetings but does not mandate that meetings take place at the same location. Here, the notice specified the location of the meeting and there was no indication that the meeting location was either remote or inconvenient to deter the public from attending. The PAC also noted that the city stated that the location was chosen because of construction work on conference rooms at city hall.

Finally, the PAC rejected the complainant's argument that the JRB violated the OMA by not posting its minutes on the city's website, noting that the OMA only requires the "governing body" to post its minutes on the city's website and that, in any event, the JRB had not yet approved those meeting minutes.

Note that the complainant had also argued that the meeting time (1:30 pm on a workday) was inconvenient under the OMA. The PAC did not make a determination on this issue because it was later withdrawn by the complainant but did note that a public body conducting a meeting during regular business hours does not violate the OMA.


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