Q&A: Committee appointed by mayor


From a Portage citizen:

Q: Mayor James Snyder of Portage is starting a Veterans Committee to serve the military veterans in the city. Where to I find the rules that govern such committees?

A: A committee appointed by a mayor doesn’t automatically fall under the scope of the Open Door Law, so you’d have to look at a couple of other examples in the statute that might cover this committee. It depends on who approves the committee budget or to whom they report.

• Public agency [at IC 5-14-1.5-2(a)(3)] includes any entity subject to budget review by the city council. So does the mayor control the veterans committee purse strings, or is it the city council?

• Public agency [at IC 5-14-1.5-2(a)(5)] includes a committee created by executive order to advise the city council. Who does the committee advise?

Depending on the answers to those questions, you could argue the veterans committee is a governing body subject to the Open Door Law.

But if the veterans committee budget is under the mayor’s control and members report to the mayor, then you’re probably out of luck.

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