Open Gov't chief talks about public meetings, records

Freeman added that the oft-quoted "personnel issues" reason in itself does not justify a legal executive session. A public board is only allowed to go into an executive session to discuss specific medical, financial, credit or employment history of a particular person - or the appointment, employment, promotion, demotion, discipline, suspension, dismissal or removal of a particular person or corporation.

What if a board goes into executive session for one issue and then discusses another issue that was not stated?

Freeman said that it is not contrary to law for a board member to reveal the contents of an executive session, especially if the subject discussed was not allowed by law in the a closed session.

The question of mumbling board members was raised. Freeman said that in a meeting, board members are obligated to speak loud enough to be heard distinctly. He encouraged the audience to challenge the board members and to call out, "Speak up, we can't hear you."

Asked his opinion about suing the courts to enforce requests under FOIL, Freeman said that using the courts is the last option. He advised obtaining his legal opinions on the Committee on open Government's website.

"A quote from me sometimes forces compliance," he said. "Use me until you use me up."

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