1. An agency may call "executive session" meetings or, as part of a meeting, go into "executive session." Such sessions are not open to the public. The following are the reasons now authorized:
(a) To consider matters affecting national security.Until 1979, the act allowed closed sessions to "consider matters affecting ... the appointment or employment or dismissal of a public officer or employee." In 1979, the Legislature amended the act and deleted the words "matters affecting." The Legislature's 1985 amendment limited executive sessions to evaluating qualifications of applicants and reviewing performance of employees. It may include interviewing of witnesses or the applicant.
(b) To consider the selection of a site or the acquisition of real estate by lease or purchase when public knowledge regarding such consideration would likely increase the price.
(c) To consider the minimum price at which real estate will be offered for sale or lease when public knowledge regarding the consideration would likely lower the price. Final action selling or leasing public property, however, must be taken in a public meeting.
(d) To review negotiations on the performance of publicly bid contracts when public knowledge would likely increase costs. Before 1985, the act permitted executive session to "consider" such negotiations. The current language demonstrates that only "review" of past or ongoing negotiations may occur in executive session, not consideration of future negotiations.
(e) To consider, in the case of an export trading company, financial and commercial information supplied by private people to the export trading company.
(f) To receive and evaluate complaints or charges brought against a public officer or employee. Before 1985 the act was vague regarding the applicability of this subsection to complaints by private citizens. Clearly, under the present language complaints including situations where discipline could be administered may be considered in executive session. It may include interviewing of witnesses. If, however, the officer or employee so requests, a public hearing or open public meeting must consider the complaint or charge.
(g) To evaluate the qualifications of an applicant for public employment or to review the performance of a public employee. A governing body's discussion of agency salaries and conditions of employment must occur in a public meeting, however. Final action on hiring, setting the salary of or discharging or disciplining an employee must likewise occur in a public meeting.
(h) To evaluate the qualifications of a candidate for appointment to elective office, except that interviewing of such proposed appointees and final appointment to elective office shall be done in an open public meeting, not in executive session.This provision, added in 1985, narrowed the attorney-client privilege rights of a public agency. Prior court interpretation held that the public could properly be excluded from communications between an agency and its lawyers if the communications are both confidential and concerned contemplated or pending litigation or settlement offers involving the agency. Under the amendment, an agency must also show a likelihood that public discussion with its attorney will have an adverse legal or financial consequence for the particular agency.
(i) To discuss certain matters with legal counsel representing the agency when public knowledge of the discussion is likely to result in adverse legal or financial consequence to the agency. Matters that may for this reason be discussed in closed session are those relating to agency enforcement actions and to present or potential litigation to which the agency, the governing body or a member acting in official capacity is, or is likely to become, a party.
(j) To consider, in the case of the State Library Commission, prices, products, equipment and services where such discussion would likely adversely affect the commission; however, final action on the matters must be taken in public.Before convening in executive session, the presiding officer must publicly announce both the purpose for excluding the public and the time at which executive session is to end. The presiding officer may later extend the closed session, but must announce the revised time of conclusion. The agency is in violation if it goes into executive session without explanation or ends unannounced at an unspecified time.
(k) To consider, in the case of the State Investment Board, financial and commercial information relating to investment of public trust or retirement funds if public knowledge regarding the discussion would result in loss.