Open meeting law
The Plainville School Board meeting violated state open-meeting requirements, which are designed to assure htat the public’s business be conducted in public. The premise: Accountability to the citizenry. Closed meetings are allowed under the law for sensitive issues, such as personnel. but there are strict conditions for going behind closed doors:
> The meeting’s ourpose must be announced in public session. This was not done, although the Board did post notice that it would hold a meeting at 6 p.m. at the high school. The notice did not list the subject to be discussed.
> No additional issues may be taken up in the closed session.
> Any vote in a closed meeting must be announced immediately afterward in open session with public present — or whether here was no vote This was not done.
> Any action taken at a closed meeting, such as a vote, is null and void if these requirements are not met. There are fines for violations. In some states, open-meetig laws provide for jail time for repeated violations.
It’s not uncommon for local school board and village boards to violate open-meeting requirements unwittingly. Few locally elected representatives are lawyers, but boards have counsel available to guide them on legal requirements.