Q&A: Economic committee and the Open Door Law


From The Brookville Democrat and The Brookville American:

Q: An elected official came to me with a complaint that the county council is meeting illegally. Franklin County Council created an economic committee. It has three council members and one commissioner, in addition to other people.

It is trying to come up with a five-year budget. Members meet several times per week and at various places in government buildings.

The elected official said the economic committee should follow the Open Door Law, and I agree. Are we correct?

A: If the committee was created by the county council or county commissioners or the president of either body, then that committee falls under the scope of the Open Door Law regardless of how many council members or commissioners are appointed to the committee.

Even if there were no council members or commissioners on the committee, it would still fall under the scope of the Open Door Law. See IC 5-14-1.5-2(b)(3) for a definition of a governing body under the statute.

This committee should be giving 48 hours notice of meetings and only hold executive sessions if the subject matter would allow it under the Open Door Law at IC 5-14-1.5-6.1.

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