We see stories on the news frequently about board meetings and how they are conducted. Just this week, the University of Michigan Board of Regents was criticized for closing a public meeting because the presence of protesters. The standards that apply to these situations can be confusing and are often the subject of intense debate. In this issue of LegalEase, we take a look at the statutes applicable to these situations and decipher exactly when public bodies can be in closed sessions.
The Michigan Open Meetings Act (OMA), enacted in 1977, is similar to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in that they are both considered "sunshine statutes." These statutes were enacted to promote openness and transparency in governmental actions.
The OMA applies to a school board of education because this entity falls under the statutory definition of a "public body." A common misconception about the application of the OMA to a school board is that the board may meet in closed session whenever the issue in consideration is an employment matter, including those issues that are "personal" or a "union matter." Quite the contrary is true. READ MORE HERE.