TO BE PUBLISHED
October 27, 1993
IN RE: Edward H. Hook/Wayne Rogier
OPEN MEETINGS DECISION
This matter comes to the Attorney General as an appeal by Edward H. Hook from the written response of Wayne Rogier, the mayor of the city of Cloverport. Mr. Hook has requested that the Attorney General review the mayor's response to his letter relative to the legal status of a continued meeting.
In a prior decision of this office (93-OMD-111), copy enclosed, we directed that the mayor immediately respond in writing to Mr. Hook's complaint concerning a meeting of the city council. In a letter to Mr. Hook, dated October 4, 1993, Mayor Rogier responded in part as follows:
It is our contention that the session held on Tuesday, August 10 was a continuation of a recessed meeting begun on Monday, August 9, as is indicated by the minutes of that meeting of which you have a copy. We do not feel that this constitutes a 'special meeting' within the context of the statute cited in your complaint.
In his letter of appeal to this office, received October 12, 1993, Mr. Hook takes exception to the mayor's response in that the mayor did not cite the applicable statutory sections to support his denial and there are no provisions in the Open Meetings Act relative to the continuation of a meeting on another day. Mr. Hook apparently maintains that the meeting on August 10 should have been treated as a special meeting.
The Kentucky Open Meetings Act (KRS 61.805 through KRS 61.850) contains provisions pertaining to regular meetings (KRS 61.820) and special meetings (KRS 61.823). There are no provisions in the Open Meetings Act dealing with the continuation of meetings so we must look elsewhere to determine the status of such meetings.
In Robert's Rule of Order Revised by General Henry M. Robert, 18, at page 65, the following appears in part:
A recess is an intermission in the day's proceedings, as for meals or for counting the ballots when much time is required; or in the case of meetings like conventions lasting for several days a recess is sometimes taken over an entire day.
The intermissions in the proceedings of a day are termed recesses, whether the assembly voted to take a recess, or whether it simply adjourned having previously adopted a program or rule providing for the hours of meetings. When an assembly has frequent short regular meetings not lasting over a day, and an adjourned meeting is held on another day, the interval between the meetings is not referred to as a recess.
In the Manual of Legislative Procedure, by Paul Mason, in Chapter 22, Sec. 214, at page 173, the following appears:
1. The basic distinction between adjournment and a recess is that an adjournment terminates a meeting, while a recess is only an interruption or break in a meeting. After an adjournment a meeting begins with the procedure of opening a new meeting. After a recess the business or procedure of a meeting takes up at the point it was interrupted.
2. Breaks in the meetings of a day, as for meals, are usually recesses, but termination of meetings until a later day are adjournments.
In 4 McQuillin Mun. Corp. (3rd Ed.), 13.08, it is stated that, "Corporate meetings may be (1) regular or stated, (2) special or called, and (3) adjourned."
As to adjournments, it is written in 4 McQuillin Mun. Corp. (3rd Ed.), 13.38 that a regular meeting continues until terminated by an order of final adjournment or by operation of law. "The adjournment may be proved only by the record. If nothing to the contrary appears in the record, the presumption exists that the adjournment was legal."
In 4 McQuillin Mun. Corp. (3rd Ed.), 13.39, the author states in part:
If a regular meeting is adjourned, any business that would have been proper for the body to consider at that meeting may be considered and acted upon at the adjourned meeting, but if it is a special or called meeting which is adjourned, nothing can be done at such adjourned meeting unless it could have been considered and acted upon at the special or called meeting. An adjourned meeting of either a regular or stated or special or called meeting is but a continuation of the same meeting. A meeting pursuant to adjournment of a regular meeting is a regular, not a special, meeting and is a continuation of the regular meeting, and any business permissible to be transacted at the regular meeting may, of course, take place at the adjourned meeting. An adjourned meeting of a regular meeting may be lawfully held without giving special notice to the members since it is itself a regular meeting.
In Town of Hodgenville v. Kentucky Utilities Co., 250 Ky. 195, 61 S.W.2d 1047 (1933), the court said in part:
The law is by the great weight of authority that an adjourned meeting is but a continuation of the regular meeting, of which it is an adjournment, and that any business which could have been transacted at the regular meeting may be transacted at such adjourned meeting.
From a technical standpoint the council meeting held on August 10 appears to have been an adjourned meeting. Thus, it is our decision that as an adjourned meeting the meeting of August 10 was a continuation of the regular meeting of August 9 as opposed to a special meeting with the various notice and posting requirements. A meeting pursuant to an adjournment of a regular meeting is itself a regular meeting. Any business which could have been transacted at the regular meeting could have been transacted at the adjourned meeting.
Mr. Hook may challenge this decision by filing an appeal in the appropriate circuit within 30 days from the date of this decision. See KRS 61.846(4)(a) and KRS 61.848.
Thomas R. Emerson
Assistant Attorney General
Copies of this decision
have been mailed to:
Mr. Edward H. Hook
901 Cottonwood Drive
Cloverport, Kentucky 40111
Mr. Wayne Rogier
Mayor, City of Cloverport
227 W. Main Street
Cloverport, Kentucky 40111-1399