Knowledgebase-Open Meetings Act Question


Information Product

Title:Open Meetings Act Question
Summary:MTAS was asked whether an "intervention" meeting of board of mayor and aldermen, in which focus is team building and better relations among board members, is subject to the Open Meetings Act.
Original Author:Ashburn, Melissa
Co-Author:
Product Create Date:05/09/2003
Last Reviewed on::03/19/2010
Subject:Open meetings--Laws and regulations--Tennessee; Meetings--Planning and management; Boards--Municipal; Conflict resolution
Type:Legal Opinion
Legal Opinion: Open Meetings Act Question public.doc

Reference Documents:

Text of Document: May 9, 2003

Re: Open Meetings Act question

Dear Mayor,

Your Management Consultant has asked me whether an “intervention” meeting session which he is planning for the board of mayor and aldermen is subject to the Open Meetings Law, and therefore must be open to the public. After reviewing the facts and the purpose of the meeting, it is my opinion that the meeting does not have to be open to the public.

The Tennessee Open Meetings Act, codified at T.C.A. 8-44-101, et seq., requires that meetings of any public body be open to the public. The definition of meeting as used in the act is

the convening of a governing body of a public body for which a quorum is required in order to make a decision or to deliberate toward a decision on any matter.

T.C.A. 8-44-102(b)(2). It is my understanding that the meeting your Management Consultant is planning for the board is a “team building” session, focusing on achieving better relations between the board members. He has assured me that no deliberations toward policy or decisions will occur at this meeting.

As such, the meeting planned by your Management Consultant for the board of mayor and aldermen does not have to be open to the public. The members of the board should be reminded that no deliberations or discussions concerning matters pending before the board, or matters of policy, may take place during the scheduled meeting.

I hope this information is helpful. Thank you for consulting with MTAS.

Sincerely,

Melissa A. Ashburn
Legal Consultant

Please remember that these legal opinions were written based on the facts of a given city at a certain time. The laws referenced in any opinion may have changed or may not be applicable to your city or circumstances.

Always consult with your city attorney or an MTAS consultant before taking any action based on information contained in this database.