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Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Summary of 2023 Binding PAC Opinions (OMA)

Following our earlier summary of the 2023 PAC binding opinions on FOIA, today we focus on the PAC’s four binding opinions issued on OMA matters in 2023, which are linked below.

PAC Op. 23-014 (no final action in closed session)

In PAC Op. 23-014, the PAC determined that a public body voting to approve its closed session meeting minutes from a prior board meeting in closed session violated the OMA because it constituted a “final action” that public bodies are prohibited from taking in closed session. The PAC rejected the argument that OMA section 2(c)(21) authorizes approving closed session minutes in closed session, noting that this section only allows a discussion of whether to approve closed session minutes, but does not authorize final action on those minutes, which must be taken in open session under an agenda item that identifies the final action to be taken.

PAC Op. 23-013 (improperly restricting public comment on personnel matters)

In PAC Op. 23-013, the PAC concluded that a public body violated the OMA by restricting the content of a public comment about the board’s hiring policy. 

PAC Op. 23-004 (requirement to state general subject matter of item subject to final action)

In PAC Op. 23-004, the PAC found that a public body violated the OMA by failing to indicate the general subject matter on the agenda of the proposed final action on a severance agreement after the public body returned from executive session. 

PAC OP. 23-003 (improper meeting)

In PAC Op. 23-003, the PAC determined that a public body violated the OMA by holding an improper meeting without posting advance notice of the meeting and complying with other OMA requirements. Specifically, the PAC found that an informal “Meet and Greet” gathering that was attended by a majority of a quorum of a board to collect information and answer questions from staff on substantive public business matters qualified as a “meeting” under the OMA, even if no formal action was taken by the board at the gathering.

Post Authored by Eugene Bolotnikov, Ancel Glink


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