Q&A: Can commissioners pause a meeting?


From the Benton Review (Fowler):

Q: Is it a violation to close a county commissioners meeting, hold a drainage board meeting, and then reopen the commissioners meeting? It was noted on their agenda posted at the commissioners’ meeting, but no prior notice was given.

A: The drainage board is a separate governing body from the county commissioners.

The drainage board should give 48 hours notice of its meetings just like the commissioners.

They could do meetings together as long as it’s clear that both governing bodies have given proper notice.

The board could open the commissioners meeting at its stated start time, recess the meeting at the appointed time for the drainage board by announcing the recess and when the commissioners will restart.

They could then hold the drainage board meeting, knowing they have to finish or recess it when it’s time to go back into the commissioners meeting.

Another thing for the commissioners to note: When they recess and reconvene, they are then tied to items on the agenda and cannot add items not included in the agenda posted at the door (if they use an agenda).

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