Q&A: Notice of meeting canceled, rescheduled

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From the Post-Tribune (Merrillville):

Q: The Porter County Council was scheduled to meet recently for an executive session for an interview with a prospective employee and a regular meeting. The meetings were canceled due to snow and rescheduled for this evening.

One of the members of the county council said the meetings are being held illegally because notice wasn’t given 48 hours in advance. Does the council need to give 48 hours notice to reschedule, even for an emergency cancellation like a storm? 

A: If the meeting was canceled, there should be 48 hours notice given before the next meeting.

If the meeting was started, but then they decided to recess it and reconvene at a later date, they don’t have to give 48 hours notice but just announce at the aborted meeting when they plan to meet again. It could be an hour later, the next day or longer.

If the meeting is an “emergency” meeting, then 48 hours notice isn’t necessary, but the media must get the same notice as the members of the governing body.

But snowy roads do not make the meeting an emergency – the subject matter must concern “actual or threatened injury to person or property, or actual or threatened disruption of the governmental activity” of the public agency by an event.

Interviewing a prospective employee is not an emergency, nor is regular meeting of the council.

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

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