Q&A: Memoranda availability


From the Daily Reporter (Greenfield):

Q: We missed a school board meeting last night and asked for the meeting notes in order to follow up on a story today. The secretary said the minutes are not finished nor approved, so she would not release any notes or memoranda. I think we’re entitled to some sort of public record from that public meeting now. Am I correct?

A: You are correct. The Open Door Law requires memoranda to be kept during the meeting [IC 5-14-1.5-4(b)] and (c) requires the memoranda to be available within a reasonable period of time after the meeting for the purpose of informing the public of the governing body’s proceedings.

I would say a reasonable period of time would be the next business day after the meeting unless they are in use preparing the draft of the minutes as you asked to inspect the memoranda.

The Open Door Law also spells out that the minutes, if any, are to be open for public inspection and copying. The public doesn’t have to wait a month until the board approves a version of the minutes.

Keep in mind the memoranda might be a tape recording of the meeting, but it should still be made available for inspection and copying and should contain information required under (b).

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