Q&A: Closed meeting legal?


WRTV-Channel 6 (Indian­apolis):

Q: Five Indian­apolis city-county council members making up the public safety committee met with the sheriff and some of his staff to discuss how to deal with a budget shortfall.

According to the clerk no notice was posted for this meeting. The meeting was closed to the public and media.

Is this a violation of the Open Door Law? 

A: Yes. The public safety committee of the city-county council is subject to the same notice requirements as the full council.

Notice of its meeting should have been given to media outlets that requested notice prior to the end of 2011 and posted for the public at either the office of the council or the meeting location.

The notice should have been given 48 hours in advance of the meeting, not including weekends or holidays.

From the description of the subject matter of the meeting, the committee meeting should have been open to the public. Budgetary issues aren’t among the subjects allowed by the Open Door Law for an executive session.

Contact Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, with media law questions at skey@hspa.com or (317) 624-4427.