TO BE PUBLISHED
June 20, 1995
IN RE: Jerry L. Bom/Oldham County Board of Education
OPEN MEETINGS DECISION
This matter comes to the Attorney General as an appeal by Jerry L. Bom, a member of the Oldham County Board of Education, as a result of the written response he received from Heidi P. Glascock, Chairperson of the Oldham County Board of Education. Mr. Bom maintains that Ms. Glascock and two other members of the board of education violated the Open Meetings Act, specifically the provisions pertaining to conducting a closed session.
In a letter to Ms. Glascock, dated April 27, 1995, Mr. Bom stated that on April 17, 1995, he and some other persons were in the school library where the public session of the meeting was to resume after the conclusion of a tour of the school.
Ms. Glascock and two other members of the board were in the home economics classroom where dinner and the closed session were to be held. According to Mr. Bom, rather than return to the library, a motion was made and passed by the board members in the home economics classroom to go into a closed session. He further stated that such a procedure was in violation of the provisions of the Open Meetings Act.
Ms. Glascock replied to Mr. Bom in a letter dated May 2, 1995. She stated in part that she and two board members were in the home economics classroom. She further said the board had just completed a tour of the school which began immediately after the meeting was called to order. Rather than walk back down to the library, and since the closed session was to take place in the home economics classroom, a motion was made and seconded in the home economics classroom to go into a closed session.
KRS 61.815 deals with the requirements for conducting a closed session and subsections (1)(a) and (b) provide as follows:
(a) Notice shall be given in regular open meeting of the general nature of the business to be discussed in closed session, the reason for the closed session, and the specific provision of KRS 61.810 authorizing the closed session;
(b) Closed sessions may be held only after a motion is made and carried by a majority vote in open, public session[.]
A public agency must comply with the provisions relative to going into a closed session if that closed or executive session is to be a legal proceeding. See 94-OMD-78 at pages 3-4, a copy of which is enclosed.
The applicable statutory subsections clearly require that certain things be done in a regular, open, and public session before the public agency can go into a closed or executive session. The open and public session apparently began in the school library and the open and public session was to resume in the school library. We do not know whether the school tour was an open or closed session or even part of the meeting. In any event, after the tour of the school concluded three board members ended up in the home economics classroom where a dinner and a closed session were to be held. The home economics classroom was not the forum for the open and public school board meeting and thus the matters required to be done by KRS 61.815 should have transpired in the school library, the designated site for the open and public meeting, rather than in the home economics classroom, the site of the closed or executive session of the otherwise public meeting.
It is, therefore, the decision of the Attorney General that the three members of the board of education violated the Open Meetings Act when the notice, motion, and vote relative to the closed session were given, made, and taken at a site which did not constitute the forum for the open and public meeting.
The public agency, the Oldham County Board of Education, may challenge this decision by filing an appeal with the appropriate circuit court within thirty days from the date of this decision. See KRS 61.846(4)(a) and KRS 61.848. Pursuant to KRS 61.846(5) the Attorney General must be notified of any action filed in the circuit court but he shall not be named as a party in that action or in any subsequent proceedings under the Open Meetings Act.
Thomas R. Emerson
Assistant Attorney General
Copies of this decision
have been mailed to:
Jerry L. Bom
4212 Myers Avenue
Crestwood, Kentucky 40014
Heidi P. Glascock
Oldham County Board of Education
P.O. Box 218
Buckner, Kentucky 40010