03/26/2015 – Open Meetings

Open Meetings & Sunshine Laws

Nina Gupta (Nelson Mullins – DCSD outside counsel)
We shouldn’t be acting on any items that are outside the agenda unless it is necessary.  Those matters should be few and far between.
Stan Jester (DeKalb Board of Education)
A month or so ago, you mentioned we shouldn’t be acting on anything unless it was an emergency.  The letter you just read says that unless the board deems it necessary.  That’s two different conversations.
Nina Gupta
It’s not the exact wording.  The purpose of this is to make sure the board is not conducting any business that hasn’t been properly noticed.  If it’s not actually necessary to take an action when it’s not on an agenda, then you shouldn’t be taking an action that’s not on the agenda.
Stan Jester
OCGA says “of all matters expected to come before the board”.  If they leave out expected, then it is “all matters to come before the board”.  So, ‘expected’ is in there for a reason.  It gives the board some (inaudible).  The word ‘necessary’ versus ’emergency’.  I feel like you are giving us less leeway than OCGA gives us.
Nina Gupta
If you were to ask the Attorney General, and the Attorney General (inaudible).  The Attorney General’s office will tell you, if it’s not on the agenda, you better have a darn good reason as to why you are acting on it.  That reason has to be (inaudible), because what you are doing is you’re taking an action that the public had no notice about, had no opportunity to contact their elected representative about.  So, those should be very few and far between.
Stan Jester
I beg to differ.  I see boards all the time making motions and moving on things that weren’t on the agenda and nobody seems to be up in arms about it.
Nina Gupta
My suggestion is to notice action and to not take action on things that the public doesn’t (inaudible)
Open Meetings Act