November 29, 2012
By: Adam Dauksas
As we noted in an earlier e-blackboard article, beginning January 1, 2013, the Open Meetings Act will require that a board of education’s meeting agenda “set forth the general subject matter of any resolution or ordinance that will be the subject of final action” during the meeting to which that agenda pertains. Again, this change in the law is directly aimed at eliminating the wide-spread practice of using vague action item descriptions, such as one word statements (e.g. “Budget”) or opaque phrases (e.g. “Action Following Closed Session”).
While this particular change to the Act has yet to officially take effect, Scariano, Himes and Petrarca, Chtd. continues to see a significant number of boards describe their action items in relatively ambiguous terms. You can comply with the Act by generally describing the recommended action. For example, “Action: dismissal of certified employee” could be used when a teacher is recommended for termination, without including the teacher’s name on the agenda. Failure to have a compliant agenda item may invalidate any final action, so it is important you share this information with whoever prepares the agenda.
Should you have any questions regarding the Open Meetings Act or this recent change, please do not hesitate to contact Scariano, Himes and Petrarca, Chtd.