February 20, 2019

What are the procedures for conducting a closed meeting?

The general requirement that all public meetings shall be open to the public does not apply to certain categories of meetings. KRS 61.810 exempts 13 categories of meetings from the Open Meetings Act:

1.         Deliberations for decisions of the Kentucky Parole Board; 

2.            Deliberations on the future acquisition or sale of real property by a public agency, but only when publicity would be likely to affect the value of a specific piece of property to be acquired for public use or sold by a public agency; 

3.            Discussions of proposed or pending litigation against or on behalf of the public agency; 

4.            Grand and petit jury sessions; 

5.            Collective bargaining negotiations between public employers and their employees or their representatives; 

6.            Discussions or hearings which might lead to the appointment, discipline, or dismissal of an individual employee, member, or student without restricting that employee's, member's, or student's right to a public hearing if requested. This exception shall not be interpreted to permit discussion of general personnel matters in secret; 

7.            Discussions between a public agency and a representative of a business entity and discussions concerning a specific proposal, if open discussions would jeopardize the siting, retention, expansion, or upgrading of the business; 

8.            State and local cabinet meetings and executive cabinet meetings; 

9.            Committees of the General Assembly other than standing committees; 

10.          Deliberations of judicial or quasi-judicial bodies regarding individual adjudications or appointments, at which neither the person involved, his representatives, nor any other individual not a member of the agency's governing body or staff is present, but not including any meetings of planning commissions, zoning commissions, or boards of adjustment; 

11.          Meetings which federal or state law specifically require to be conducted in privacy; 

12.          Meetings which the Constitution provides shall be held in secret; and 

13.          That portion of a meeting devoted to a discussion of a specific public record exempted from disclosure under KRS 61.878(1)(m). However, that portion of any public agency meeting shall not be closed to a member of the Kentucky General Assembly.

If an exception to the Open Meetings Act applies, the public agency may go into closed (executive) session to conduct the meeting as long as it follows the required procedure in KRS 61.815. The agency must:

1.            Give notice in an open meeting of the general nature of the business to be discussed in the closed session, the reason for conducting the closed session, and the specific provision of KRS 61.810 authorizing the closed session; 

2.            Make a motion to go into closed session and the motion must be approved by a majority vote conducted in open session; 

3.            Take no final action in the executive session. The agency must reconvene in an open meeting and take its final action in that setting; and

4.            Refrain from discussing any subject other than what was publicly announced prior to convening the closed session.

When it is necessary for a public agency to satisfy the above requirements, the minutes of the open meeting should clearly reflect the requirements were met.

For a complete discussion of the Open Records/Open Meetings requirements, please see the City Officials Legal Handbook.