A POSSIBLE "OPEN MEETINGS ACT" VIOLATION? "A process that denies citizens the important opportunity to observe the deliberations of a member of public body toward the decision and the formulation of that decision violates the OMA."
The Bay City Academy Board will hold a special meeting via phone conference at 5:00pm to discuss and vote on the items on the agenda accessible here...oh, wait, the notice didn't say that.
And it neglected to mention that “public comments pertaining to agenda items can and will be taken prior to discussion and/or vote on the respective item.”
It's likely that the meeting may address recent information revealed on this blog, and other matters. However, if the meeting was called to address non-personnel matters, and public access to the meeting was not provided, then the Board may be in violation of Michigan's Open Meetings Act (OMA).
The OMA was enacted to promote governmental accountability and to foster openness in government as a means of enhancing responsible decision making. To that end, the OMA requires that the deliberation and formulation of public policy and decisions effectuating public policy be conducted at open meetings. Under the OMA, a public body's decision-making process is subject to public scrutiny and accountability. A process that denies citizens the important opportunity to observe the deliberations of a member of public body toward the decision and the formulation of that decision violates the OMA.
However, you'll notice that the Bay City Academy Board termed its phone conference a “special” meeting, not a closed meeting. The Open Meetings Act provides ten circumstances where a meeting may be closed to the public.
Some of the closed session purposes require a 2/3 vote to approve going into the closed session. These are indicated below by “(2/3)” after the purpose. The ten closed session purposes are:
Personnel matters, if requested by the individual, and the individual may rescind the request at any time, but cannot then request to go back into closed session.
-Student discipline, if requested by the student, or their parent or guardian.
-Collective bargaining negotiations, if requested by either party.
-Purchase or lease of real estate up until the time an option to purchase or lease is obtained. (2/3)
-Attorney consultation on specific pending litigation. (2/3)
-Review of applications for employment or appointment, if the candidate requests confidentiality. Interviews must be held in open meetings.
-Partisan caucuses of members of the state legislature.
-Consideration of material exempt from discussion or disclosure by state or federal statute. This includes materials exempt under the Freedom of Information Act, such as written opinions from the board’s attorney.
-Department of Commerce health code compliance conference.
-Certain meetings in the search for a university president, if the search process meets several specific criteria spelled out in the act.
But since the BCA doesn't post Board meeting minutes on its website, we'll just have to wait until the cabal in control decides to make the information public.
So much for “transparency”!