Q&A: Hiring decision in executive session


From the Carroll County Comet (Delphi):

Q: The Carroll County commissioners plan to meet in executive session to discuss who they want to hire as a county coordinator. They have already interviewed the candidates, and their only purpose in meeting is to decide whom to hire.

Is this enough reason for an executive session? I don’t think they will “receive information about (and interview) prospective employees.” I believe they are meeting alone. No one else will be present to give them any additional information.

A: I believe the executive session would be allowed under the “to receive information about and interview prospective employees” provision found at IC 5-14.1.5-6.1(b)(5).

The information doesn’t have to be new. They could review the applications already received. They can share their impressions of the candidates based on previous interviews in executive sessions. They can lobby each other for a particular favorite candidate.

And due to the ruling years ago in Baker v. Middlebury, they can basically determine who they plan to hire in the executive session. What they can’t do is take a final action (vote) on the hiring in the executive session. That would need to be done in a public meeting, even though they probably will know the outcome of the vote.

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