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 Open Meetings Opinions


         The West Virginia Ethics Commission’s Committee on Open Governmental Meetings gives written advisory opinions to governing bodies and their members on whether a proposed action or an action of an ongoing nature violates the law.  
         Requests for written advisory opinions should be submitted in writing at least ten calendar days before the Open Meeting Committee meeting.
         W. Va. Code § 6-9A-11 was amended, effective July 1, 2006, and provides that any governing body or member thereof that acts in good faith reliance on an advisory opinion has an absolute defense to any civil suit or criminal prosecution for any action taken based upon this opinion, so long as the underlying facts and circumstances surrounding the action are the same or substantially the same as those being addressed in this opinion, unless and until it is amended or revoked.   See Table 1
        None of the pre-2006 opinions have been amended or revoked. They are still valid. Thus, similarly situated individuals may rely upon those opinions.  See Table 2 
        However, a public official relying on an earlier opinion should check later opinions issued on the same subject matter to determine if the opinion has been modified. For example, the Open Meetings Committee has taken a more restrictive approach in recent years in regard to what constitutes a committee or subcommittee subject to the Open Meetings Act. Specifically, it has found that committees and subcommittees which are authorized to make recommendations to the parent governing body need to comply with the act ” see OMAO 2007-01.
          For more information on the Open Meetings Act:  click here 


Open Meetings Advisory Opinions  

 

 

             Click on the Opinion number below to view the complete text of the opinion in .pdf format.   If the opinion number is followed by the letters wd or void, the request was withdrawn and  no opinion issued.
Scroll down or click here for the  Index of Open Meetings Opinions by Topic 
                                           
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TABLE 1    Open meetings opinions  2006-05 -- present 

    2006     2007        2008        2009         2010 -2012    2013 -2014
                              
    OM 2007-01   OM 2008-01  OM 2009-01  OM 2010-01  OM 2013-01
    OM 2007-02   OM 2008-02  OM 2009-02  OM 2010-02  OM 2013-02
    OM 2007-03   OM 2008-03  OM 2009-03  OM 2010-03 wd  OM 2013-03
    OM 2007-04   OM 2008-04  OM 2009-04  OM 2010-04  OM 2013-04
 OM 2006-05  OM 2007-05   OM 2008-05  OM 2009-05  ========  OM 2013-05
 OM 2006-06  OM 2007-06   OM 2008-06  OM 2009-06  OM 2011-01  OM 2013-06
 OM 2006-07  OM 2007-07   OM 2008-07  OM 2009-07  OM 2011-02   =========
 OM 2006-08  OM 2007-08   OM 2008-08  OM 2009-08  OM 2011-03  OM 2014-01
 OM 2006-09  OM 2007-09   OM 2008-09    OM 2011-04  OM 2014-02
 OM 2006-10  OM 2007-10   OM 2008-10    OM 2011-05  OM 2014-03
 OM 2006-11  OM 2007-11   OM 2008-11    OM 2011-06  
 OM 2006-12  OM 2007-12   OM 2008-12    OM 2011-07  
 OM 2006-13     OM 2008-13    ==========  
 OM 2006-14     OM 2008-14    OM 2012-01  
 OM 2006-15     OM 2008-15    OM 2012-02  
      OM 2008-16    OM 2012-03  
      OM 2008-17    OM 2012-04  
      OM 2008-18    OM 2012-05  
           

 

................................................................................................................................

Table 2   Open meetings opinions  1999-01 to 2006-04

1999-2000                 2001     2002-2003       2004-2005   2006   
 OM 99-01  OM 2001-01  OM 2002-01   OM 2004-01 
  attachment
OM 2006-01
 OM 99-02  OM 2001-02  OM 2002-02  OM 2004-02 OM 2006-02 wd 
 OM 99-03  OM 2001-03  OM 2002-03  OM 2004-03 OM 2006-03
 OM 99-04 WD  OM 2001-04  OM 2002-04  OM 2004-04 &  
 attachment
OM 2006-04
 OM-99-05  OM 2001-05  OM 2002-05  OM 2004-05 &   
 attachment
 
 OM 99-06  OM 2001-06  OM 2002-06  OM 2004-06  
 OM 99-07  OM 2001-07  OM 2002-07  OM 2004-07   
 OM 99-08  OM 2001-08  OM 2002-08  OM 2004-08  
 OM 99-09  OM 2001-09  OM 2002-09  OM 2004-09  
 OM 99-10  OM 2001-10  OM 2002-10  OM 2004-10  
 OM 99-11  OM 2001-11  OM 2002-11  OM 2004-11  
 OM 99-12  OM 2001-12  OM 2002-12  OM 2004-12  
 OM 99-13  OM 2001-13  OM 2002-13  OM 2004-13  
 OM 99-14  OM 2001-14  OM 2002-14  OM 2004-14  
 OM 2000-01  OM 2001-15  OM 2002-15  OM 2004-15  
 OM 2000-02  OM 2001-16  OM 2002-16  OM 2004-16  
 OM 2000-03  OM 2001-17  OM 2002-17 VOID  OM 2004-17  
 OM 2000-04  OM 2001-18  OM 2002-18  OM 2005-01 WD  
 OM 2000-05  OM 2001-19  OM 2002-19  OM 2005-02  
 OM 2000-06 WD  OM 2001-20  OM 2002-20  OM 2005-03  
 OM 2000-07  OM 2001-21  OM 2002-21  OM 2005-04  
 OM 2000-08  OM 2001-22  OM 2002-22  OM 2005-05  
 OM 2000-09  OM 2001-23  OM 2003-01  OM 2005-06  
 OM 2000-10  OM 2001-24  OM 2003-02  OM 2005-07  
 OM 2000-11  OM 2001-25  OM 2003-03  OM 2005-08  
 OM 2000-12  OM 2001-26  OM 2003-04  OM 2005-09  
 OM 2000-13  OM 2001-27  OM 2003-05  OM 2005-10  
 OM 2000-14  OM 2001-28  OM 2003-06 &
 attachment
 OM 2005-11  
 OM 2000-15  OM 2001-29  OM 2003-07  OM 2005-12  
 OM 2000-16  OM 2001-30  OM 2003-08  OM 2005-13 &
 attachment
 
   OM 2001-31  OM 2003-09  
   OM 2001-32  OM 2003-10 &  
 attachment
 
   OM 2001-33  OM 2003-11    
   OM 2001-34  OM 2003-12    
   OM 2001-35  OM 2003-13    
   OM 2001-36  OM 2003-14    
   OM 2001-37  OM 2003-15    
   OM 2001-38    
   OM 2001-39      

 Index of Open Meetings Opinions by Topic

AGENCY
AGENDA / NOTICE
EXECUTIVE SESSION
MEETING DEFINED
MEETING PROCEDURES
MINUTES
MISCELLANEOUS
QUORUM
RULES


AGENCY
99-01 State College and University Systems of West Virginia
Institutional advisory boards and advisory councils affiliated with state institutions of higher education are not public agencies under Act.
SEE ALSO 2001-37, 2002-11

99-03 City Council, Town of Whitesville
Open Meetings Act applies to volunteer fire department which enforces fire protection code and provides firefighting services in a municipality

99-12 West Virginia Professional River Outfitters Association
Private organization which exercises no executive or legislative powers is not a public agency

99-13 Humane Society of Morgan County
Non-profit organization which exists independent of state or local authorization not a public corporation subject to Act

2000-03 City of White Sulphur Springs Planning & Zoning Commission
Panel of Commission members reviewing permit applications constitutes a governing body under the Act

2000-04 Marion County PSD’s United
Association of public officials with no executive or legislative authority not public agency
SEE ALSO 2004-03

2000-13 Verdunville Elementary School Local School Improvement Council
Local School Improvement Council (LSIC) exercises sufficient legislative or executive power to be considered a public agency.
SEE ALSO 2008-06

2001-01 Mercer County Humane Society
Private organization primarily funded by private donations and exercising no governmental function not a public agency subject to Act

2001-05 West Virginia Advocates, Inc.
Private organization designated by Governor to serve as federally-funded entity to provide protection and advocacy services to developmentally disabled citizens is not a public corporation covered by the Act.
SEE ALSO 2005-06

2001-09 Hurricane Middle School Faculty Senate
Faculty Senate is subject to Act when exercising executive authority over public funds

2001-14 Clay County Development Corporation
Private non-profit corporation receiving federal funds for senior citizen programs is not a public corporation covered by the Act.
SEE ALSO 2001-29; 2003-09; 2007-02

2001-15 Tri-Cities Power Authority
As an administrative unit of three municipalities, the Tri-Cities Power Authority is a public agency subject to the Act.
SEE ALSO 2007-07

2001-21 West Virginia Public Port Authority
A committee appointed to interview prospective contractors with no authority to make a binding recommendation is not covered by the Act .
SEE ALSO 2005-03; 2007-01; 2008-01

2001-31 Consolidated Public Retirement Board
Standing committees of a governmental unit are presumed to exercise some executive or legislative power, but ad hoc committees with no authority to exercise authority of parent body are not subject to Act’s open meetings requirements.
SEE ALSO 2005-03; 2007-01; 2008-01

2002-21 West Virginia Commission on Holocaust Education
Commission exercises sufficient executive power to be considered a public agency subject to the Act.
SEE ALSO 2004-05

2002-22 West Virginia Motorsports Council
Council created by Governor’s Executive Order to promote motorsports was not delegated such legislative or executive authority as to come under the Act.

2003-12 Physicians’ Mutual Insurance Company (Provisional Board)
Legislature specifically exempted Company from Open Meetings requirements.

2004-15 Workforce Investment Board of Kanawha County
Non-profit corporation established pursuant to federal law determined to be a public agency where Governor establishes criteria for appointment of board members and local elected officials appoint voting members.

2005-03 West Virginia Environmental Quality Board
Committee delegated authority to approve a request for proposal for a scientific study and to direct the vendor selected to perform the study is a subunit authorized to exercise some portion of the Board’s executive power.

2005-05 Tygarts Valley Conservation District
Standing committees of public agency are subject to the Act.

2005-09 Pocahontas Woods
Service of County School Superintendent on Board of Directors of private organization does not affect organization’s status as exempt from Open Meetings Act.
SEE ALSO 2008-05

2006-06   Wood County Republican Executive Committee              
A  political party executive committee established in accordance with the State's Election Code is not a "public agency" subject to the Open Meetings Act. 

2006-10  Paden City City Council
Standing committees of a City council are governing bodies of public agencies subject to the requirements of the Open Meetings Act.

2007-01  WV Statewide Addressing and Mapping Board
Committees and subcommittees which are authorized to make recommendations to the parent governing body need to comply with the act. 

2007-02   Hancock County Senior Center
Private non-profit corporation receiving federal funds for senior citizen programs is not a public corporation covered by the Act. 

2007-04    McClellan District Volunteer Fire Department  
Volunteer Fire department established as a private, non-profit organization is not a public agency subject to the Act..     

2007-07   Elks Run Study Group 
As a governmental subunit created by joint resolution of two municipalities, the Elks Run Study Group is a public agency subject to the Act.

2008-01  West Virginia Investment Management Board 
Subcommittees delegated decision-making authority to invest State funds are subject to the Act.

2008-03   Dunbar Municipal Police and Fire Pension boards      
Board of Trustees of municipal fire and police pension funds established as public corporations are subject to the Act

2008-04    Kanawha County Commission 
Board of Ballot commissioners is subject to the Open Meetings Act

2008-05    WV Board of Optometry 
Joint committee with WV Optometric Association would be subject to Act
Sending Board Member to attend meetings of Optometric Association will not make that organization subject to the Act.

2008-06   Kanawha County Board of Education  
Local School Improvement Council is a public agency subject to the Act.

2008-07   Parkersburg/Wood County Convention & Visitors Bureau 
Non-profit corporation receiving proceeds from hotel occupancy tax is not a public agency covered by the Act 

2008-14    Unemployment Compensation Solutions Task Force 
Task Force established by Governor's Executive Order to make recommendations on certain problems facing Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund is governing body of Public Agency subject to Act.

2008-16  West Virginia Board of Education/West Virginia School Board Association Board Member Training Standards Review Committee.    
Joint committee with private organization whose members are appointed by public agency is a governing body of a public agency subject to the Act.

2009-03  Kanawha County Commission 
County clerk and chairpersons of the two major political parties not a public agency under the Act. A gathering of such a group does not constitute a meeting as defined by the Act.

2009-07Harrison County Comprehensive Education Facility Planning Committee
Is subject to the Open Meeting Act because the Committee plays an integral role in the development of a County BOE's Plan and may not be supplanted or eliminated from the process. 
The Committee must submit a proposed plan to the BOE and it must take official action on the proposed plan.

2010-01
    Morgan County Rescue Service  
Is not a public agency subject to the provisions of the Open Meetings Act.

2011-02  Raleigh County Commission
Meeting of a quorum of a county commission members with staff constitutes a meeting under Act.
See also O.M.A.O. 2000-07
Meeting of staff of a government agency, who are not appointed or elected officials of a governing body, does not constitute a meeting under Act.

2011-05  West Virginia State Epidemiological Workgroup
Workgroup housed within public agency, formally established to assist state agency in making data informed decisions, whose members represent numerous public entities, constitutes a governing body under the Act. 

2011-07   Webster Springs Town Council
Mayor and recorder are members of the governing body of a municipality.
Unless Town charter provides that recorder and mayor are not permitted to vote, they are to be counted in determining a quorum.

2012-02  Bridgemont Community & Technical College
Transportation Engineering Certification Board, comprised of public employees and private sector representatives, is subject to the Open Meetings Act.
The Open Meetings Act does not require the Transportation Engineering Certification Board to make its rules available for public comment, but any deliberations, discussions or votes regarding its rules or policies must be made during a properly noticed public meeting.
Transportation Engineering Certification Board may informally discuss certification applications and/or make certification decisions outside of public meetings since this action is quasi-judicial in nature. In these quasi-judicial meetings Board Members may not discuss or decide policy matters which are required to be deliberated and acted upon during the course of a properly noticed public meeting.
Transportation Engineering Certification Board is not required to make certification decisions during regular scheduled public meetings, but may do so in a quasi-judicial meeting. 

2012-03  Martinsburg-Berkeley County Convention and Visitors Bureau
Non-profit organization not within statutory definition of public agency so not subject to Act. See also Open Meetings opinion 2008-07


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AGENDA AND NOTICE

99-07 Mason County Board of Education
Last-minute changes to meeting agenda should be addressed by adopting rules stating what specificity is required in the agenda, circumstances which will justify amending meeting agenda, and how revised agenda should be disseminated.

99-10 Marshall County Board of Education
Meeting agenda need not list name of employee elevating a personnel grievance to Board at Level III, unless employee requests open hearing.
SEE ALSO 2000-12; 2009-01

2000-02 Mason County Board of Education
Except in an emergency situation, Board may not take official action on issue not on agenda.
This opinion was overruled by 2011-03.

2000-09 Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority
The Act requires notice of a proposed change in the governing body’s by-laws be stated in the agenda because such change requires official action.

2001-04 Braxton County Commission
Reasonable notice to public of matters to be covered at regular meeting of governing body that meets every two weeks requires making agenda available at least three days prior to meeting. Except for emergency matters, agenda should not be amended less than two days prior to meeting.
SEE ALSO 2001-26, 2001-27, 2001-28, 2002-05, 2002-10, 2003-05, 2004-06, 2004-07, 2004-10, 2004-13, 2006-15

2001-10 Kanawha County Commission
Governing body meeting weekly or twice weekly should make agenda available two days prior to meeting; days clarified as excluding weekends and holidays; agenda may not be generic.
SEE ALSO 2001-11, 13, 16, 17, 19, 20, 22, 23, 34; 2007-09

2001-12 Lewis County Commission
Annual posting of regular meeting schedule at courthouse entrances provides adequate meeting notice; agenda should be similarly posted two days in advance of weekly meeting.

2001-13 Upshur County Commission
Generic descriptions in agenda are inadequate to inform public of matters requiring official action; absent an emergency situation, Commission may not take official action on new matter raised in citizen comment period.
SEE ALSO 2001-23, 2001-26; 2002-05; 2004-10, 2004-13, 2006-14

2004-15 Workforce Investment Board of Kanawha County
As a regional agency of state government, local workforce investment board may give reasonable notice of meetings without publication in State Register.

2004-16 Kanawha County Board of Education
Board of Education may include a question period for directing questions to the School Superintendent on the meeting agenda.

2006-07
    WV Board of Respiratory Care
Meeting agenda should be issued a reasonable time in advance of a regular meeting;      
Three business days provides adequate advance notice of agenda

 

2006-11     Fountain Public Service District  
Not required to publish meeting notice in State Register but must give "reasonable" notice of meetings.
Must post notice of special meeting two business days in advance.  
SEE ALSO  2006-15, 2007-06

2006-14  Hardy County Rural Development authority  
Generic descriptions in agenda are inadequate to inform public of matters requiring official action.

2006-15  Clay County Board of Education  
Meeting agendas for regular meetings should be made available three business days in advance.
Notice of special meetings should be posted two business days in advance. Agendas may be amended up to two business days before the meeting to include items not known at the time the original agenda was prepared and the amended agenda must be provided to the public and media in the same manner as the original agenda.

2007-05    City of Dunbar      
Sudden event that threatens public health and safety is an emergency;
Emergency must require official action to justify giving reasonable notice;
Explain nature of emergency in meeting notice; repeat explanation in minutes;
Hiring outside legal counsel to examine financial records is not an emergency.  

2007-06    Raleigh County Emergency Services Authority 
Must post notice of special meeting at least two days in advance of the meeting date;
In counting the days, the day of the meeting as well as Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays are excluded;
The purpose or purposes of the special meeting should be described in the special meeting notice.

2007-09  Harrison County Commission  
Governing body of public agency which meets weekly, or more frequently, may issue its meeting agenda two business days in advance of each meeting.

2007-10  Clarksburg Water Board   
Pending claims or potential litigation does not provide specific notice of matters to be considered at meeting
Discuss pending lawsuit of Doe vs. Board with legal counsel or Discuss citizen's claim that her lawn was damaged by a crew repairing a water leak would provide proper notice of proposed or pending litigation.

2008-09  Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Board  
Work sessions are subject to same notice requirements as other meetings. 

2008-11 Mingo County Board of Education  
No requirement to list changing order of business on meeting agenda.

2008-17 Jefferson County Ambulance Authority  
Unresolved personnel issues is not an adequate agenda listing;
Agenda need not state that item will or may be addressed in executive session;
Merits of item not listed on agenda should not be discussed and decided unless it involves an emergency requiring immediate official action;
Disapproving a portion of a lawyer's bill is not an emergency.

2009-02  Hampshire County Board of Health  
Consolidation of two positions resulting in the dismissal of one part-time employee may be discussed in Executive Session unless either or the affected employees requests that it be discussed in the open.
Discussion of potential layoffs or furloughs may be discussed in Executive Session because they are not across the board personnel matters.
Vote on such consolidation, furloughs and layoffs must take place in open session.
Agenda items should be more descriptive and identify the specific positions affected.

2009-04  Point Pleasant City Council  

Meeting Agenda must identify an issue that Council expects to discuss in executive session; Motion to go into executive session must state the reason;
The meeting Chair and/or Mayor may coach the Council Member making the motion to go into executive session;
Personnel exemption includes a public officer, e.g. Council Member;
Council Member subject of proposed discussion in executive session has right to elect that the discussion take place in an open meeting;
Council may only vote on matters listed on agenda; Agenda item The Outside Delegations:  Jane Roe and John Doe Company insufficient notice to authorize Council to vote to approve a contract with the company.

2012-01 Raleigh County Commission

The Open Meetings Act does not require governing bodies to publish their meeting notices or agendas via legal advertisement, although other statutory provisions may, at times, require that a meeting or hearing be legally advertised.  A governing body may impose additional requirements by a rules or regulations, including, for municipalities, provisions in their charters or ordinances.

Governing bodies should ensure that they comply with the time requirements for posting regular, special and emergency meeting notices.

2012-04 Conservation District
• Must either identify on agenda each invoice and amount to be approved for payment, OR state on agenda that a list of invoices, or the invoices themselves, are available for public review.
• Must have a list of invoices, which includes the name of each vendor and the amount owed to each, available for public review at least two business days before the meeting, not counting the day of the meeting. OR Must have all invoices being considered available for review at the agency’s office during its public office hours.
• May not add invoices after deadline to amend agenda has passed, e.g. governing body may not add to the stack right before the meeting.
• Must either record in minutes name and amount of every invoice approved OR attach to minutes a list of the invoices approved, and amount of each.
• When considering award of grant or request for money, agenda must identify potential recipient by name, but may omit amount
• Minutes must include both the name of the recipient and the amount awarded 
 

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EXECUTIVE SESSION
 
99-02 Mason County Board of Education
Board may conduct annual personnel evaluation of school superintendent in executive session.

99-05 Cabell County Board of Education
Board may deliberate and decide upon student disciplinary action in executive session, unless student requests open meeting. SEE ALSO 2005-04

99-06 Braxton County Board of Education
When citizen’s appeal before Board has been conducted in public, Board members may nonetheless meet and deliberate privately, because they are acting in quasi-judicial role

2000-02 Mason County Board of Education
When issue arises that is not on agenda, Board may discuss whether official action is required in executive session if one of Act’s exceptions applies to issue. Overruled by 2011-03     SEE ALSO 2002-09; 2006-13 

2000-10 Morgantown City Council
City Council may discuss current or pending litigation with attorney in executive session based upon common law attorney-client privilege as recognized by the W. Va. Supreme Court of Appeals in Peters v. County Commission.
SEE ALSO 2001-25; 2004-11, 2004-12, 2007-10*

2000-15 New Martinsville City Council
Agenda should not declare item will be handled in executive session; taking minutes of executive sessions is discretionary; governing body must vote to go into executive session; agenda listings should not mislead public; individual personally affected by agenda item not entitled to personal notice.
SEE ALSO 2002-02, 2002-09

2000-16 Consolidated Public Retirement Board
Committee may meet with consultant in executive session to discuss investment and competition issues.

2001-02 Pleasant Valley City Council
Drafting employee job description involves general personnel policy issue, not matter arising from employment of a public employee, and such matters may not be discussed in executive session.
SEE ALSO 2006-13

2001-18 West Virginia Women’s Commission
Conducting employee performance reviews with affected employees may be accomplished in executive session unless employee requests open meeting.

2001-24 Central West Virginia Regional Airport Authority
Committee evaluating prospective architectural contractors pursuant to WV Code 5G-1-3 may interview contractor representatives in executive session.

2002-02 Raleigh County Emergency Services Authority
Recording discussion in executive session is discretionary. Circuit court has authority to conduct in camera hearing regarding executive session discussions per Peters v. Wood County Comm’n
SEE ALSO 2000-15; 2003-14; 2006-01; 2007-03

2002-06 Ritchie County Development Authority
Developers and prospective business plans that proponents seek to maintain in confidence until official action is required may be discussed with development authority board members in executive session under exemption covering purchase, sale or lease of property, and advance construction planning.

2002-07 Clarksburg Water Board
Elimination of an employment position held by a current employee may be discussed in executive session, unless affected employee requests an open meeting.

2002-08 Clarksburg Water Board
Misconduct of employee who has requested open meeting to discuss personnel matter will not relieve board of duty to conduct discussion in open session.

2002-13 New Martinsville City Council
Interviews of job applicants may be conducted in executive session, unless applicant requests open meeting; Act does not control whether Council Member may attend executive session of a Committee on which he does not serve.

2003-07 Berkeley County Farmland Protection Board
Applications from landowners seeking inclusion of property in agricultural land bank may be reviewed and discussed in executive session.

2003-08 Upshur County Commission, Upshur County Development Authority &
Buckhannon City Council
Economic development arrangements may be discussed in executive session.  
While vote must be taken in open session, each matter may be identified generically until final agreement reached, which must then be made available to the public.

2003-13 Parkersburg City Council
Report of Special Investigation Commission appointed to investigate alleged irregularities may be considered in executive session but any official action must be voted upon in an open meeting.

2004-09 Town of West Union
Compliance with the requirement to identify the authorization for going into executive session may be accomplished by describing the subject matter authorized by an exemption; reference to a particular Code section or subsection is not necessary SEE ALSO 2006-13*;2007-10*

2005-07
Preston County Board of Education
Act does not require personal notice to person who may be subject of discussion under personnel exception during executive session

2006-01 St. Albans City Council
Governing bodies have complete discretion whether to take minutes or make recordings of executive sessions.

2006-13  City of Follansbee Water board  
Executive session may be held to discuss item not on meeting agenda only under limited circumstances;
Authorization for going into executive session may be described generically;
General personnel policies should not be discussed in executive session pursuant to the personnel exemption.  

2007-03  Huntington Sanitary Board   
Executive session permissible to discuss matters protected by attorney-client privilege.
Negotiating strategy for collective bargaining talks may be developed with negotiator in executive session.

2007-10  Clarksburg Water Board  
Upon proper motion and majority vote, executive session may address multiple agenda items;
May approve proposed settlement in executive session, but terms of final settlement must be reported.

2008-10  Kanawha County Board of Education  
Establishing goals and objectives for Superintendent as part of evaluation process is a personnel matter that may be discussed in executive session.
Committee is not authorized to decide whether school code requires goals and objectives for Superintendent be discussed in executive session.

2008-17  Jefferson County Ambulance Authority   
Agenda need not state that item will or may be addressed in executive session;
Employee personnel matter should be voted upon in public;
Additional matter not covered by motion to go into executive session should not be raised and discussed in executive session. 

2009-02 Hampshire County Board of Health 
Consolidation of two positions resulting in the dismissal of one part-time employee may be discussed in Executive Session unless either or the affected employees requests that it be discussed in the open. 
Discussion of potential layoffs or furloughs may be discussed in Executive Session because they are not across the board personnel matters. Vote on such consolidation, furloughs and layoffs must take place in open session.
Agenda items should be more descriptive and identify the specific positions affected.

2009-04  Point Pleasant City Council 
Meeting Agenda must identify an issue that Council expects to discuss in executive session; motion to go into executive session must state the reason;
The meeting Chair and/or Mayor may “coach” the Council Member making the motion to go into executive session;
Personnel exemption includes a public officer, e.g. Council Member;
Council Member subject of proposed discussion in executive session has right to elect that the discussion take place in an open meeting;
Council may only vote on matters listed on agenda; Agenda item The Outside Delegations: Jane Roe and John Doe Company insufficient notice to authorize Council to vote to approve a contract with the company.

2009-05  Point Pleasant City Council 
Open Meetings Act does not require personal notice to person who may be subject of discussion under personnel exception during executive session.
Governing bodies are encouraged to consult with their attorneys to ensure that other rights, such as constitutional due process rights, if any, of affected employees, are protected when those bodies discuss personnel matters.        
Governing bodies are encouraged to provide notice in those situations where the essential functions of the governing body are not compromised by such notice.
 
2012-05 Outdoor Heritage Conservation Fund
• Not required to go into executive session for any purpose, including discussing grant applications for conservation easements.
• May go into executive session to discuss grant applications for easements under the “purchase or sale of property” exception
• May not vote in executive session; instead, all votes must be taken during public potion of meeting



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MEETING DEFINED

99-09 Recorder, City of Ronceverte
City Council committees are subject to Act.
SEE ALSO 2001-28; 2002-13

99-11 Marion County Enforcement Agency for Marion County Unsafe Building Ordinance Inspection component of an enforcement agency investigation falls within on-site inspection exemption to meeting definition

2000-01 West Virginia Consolidated Public Retirement Board
Telephonic conference call consideration of applications for disability retirement falls under adjudicatory exception to meeting definition.
SEE ALSO 2002-15; 2002-16; 2008-08

2000-07
Lewisburg City Planning Commission
Gathering of Commission members, mayor and zoning officer to review submitted plans prior to scheduled hearing would constitute meeting under Act.

2000-14 West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council
A work session in which two or more voting members of the Funding Committee participate in discussing matters that require Committee approval is a meeting.
SEE ALSO 2001-25; 2003-11

2001-03 Pleasants County Board of Education
Two or more County Board of Education Members may properly visit a school to observe facilities, educational programs, teaching strategies and other school activities as an on-site inspection activity exempt from the requirements of the Act.

2001-08 Randolph County Commission
County Commissioners making presentation to members of separate governing body not meeting of County Commission subject to the Act.

2001-34 Preston County Commission
A quorum of County Commissioners may meet with constituents and other public officers, so long as they do not begin deliberating toward a decision on a matter requiring official action. SEE ALSO 2003-01; 2008-09

2001-36 James W. Curry Library
Series of phone calls to obtain approval for official action from board members is not a proper meeting in compliance with the Act.

2002-15 Nicholas County Deputy Civil Service Commission
Hearings on deputy sheriff disciplinary matters are exempt quasi-judicial matters, not meetings subject to the requirements of the Act.

2003-02 Morgan County Planning Commission
A quorum of a governing body can discuss logistical arrangements for a meeting at any time without holding a meeting subject to the Act.
SEE ALSO 2008-09*
When only 2 members of 11-member governing body are present, no meeting can take place.

2003-13 Parkersburg City Council Special Investigation Committee
A Special Investigation Committee authorized by the city’s charter to conduct an official investigation employing subpoena powers and taking sworn testimony is engaged in an exempt quasi-judicial proceeding when meeting to conduct such investigation. Nonetheless, general rules of procedure, hiring staff or contracting for services must be done in a regular meeting subject to the Act.

2004-17 Jefferson County Commission
Two of five elected Commissioners may meet privately and discuss issues pending before the Commission outside a formal meeting.
SEE ALSO 2003-02

2005-12 Mercer County Board of Education
Board Member may exchange e-mail communications with Superintendent and other Board Members regarding logistical matters.
Exchange of e-mails involving deliberation on merits of matter requiring official action not permitted.

2006-09  Jefferson County Planning Commission  
Email may be used by staff and members to submit drafts and proposals in advance of a meeting;
Email may not be used to conduct a dialogue on the merits of a matter requiring official action;
Staff and members may use Email freely to discuss logistical matters  

2006-10   PadenCity  City Council  
City Council committee may conduct site visits of properties under their authority;
Any deliberation or discussion on the merits of any official action to be taken or proposed must take place in a meeting conducted under the Act.

2007-01  WV Statewide Addressing & Mapping Board  
Less than a quorum of 11-member Board who gather to discuss matters requiring official action does not involve a meeting subject to the Act.
Serial communications and E-mails may not be used to subvert the Act
A status conference for progress reports attended by a quorum of the Board is a "meeting" under the Act.

2007-03  Huntington Sanitary Board    
Two members of a three-member governing body who gather to deliberate toward a decision on any matter requiring official action are a meeting under the Act
A series of meetings involving less than a quorum intended to avoid holding a meeting subject to the Act is not authorized. 

2007-08  Hedgesville Town Council     
A gathering of less than a quorum is not a meeting subject to the Act;
May not employ a series of gatherings to avoid a meeting;
A quorum may discuss logistical matters outside a formal meeting;
Educational, training and social gatherings are not considered meetings so long as members refrain from deliberating toward a decision on a matter requiring official action.

2008-02  Hardy County Commission
An exit conference involving a quorum of the Commission and a representative of the State Auditor's Office regarding a draft of the county's annual audit is not a meeting so long as the Commissioners refrain from deliberating toward a decision

2008-08  Board of Funeral Service Examiners 
Public hearings regarding disciplinary matters are not "meetings" subject to the requirements of the Act.  SEE ALSO
2008-13

2008-09   Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Board 
Staff may provide packets of information to Board Members in advance of a meeting  
SEE ALSO
2006-09
Other than the agenda and draft minutes, the Act does not compel advance dissemination of pre- decisional documents to the public or media.  (NOTE: OMAO 2010-04 overruled the requirement to provide draft minutes.)
A quorum may meet with industry representatives so long as Board Members do not engage in discussion which involves deliberating toward a decision on a matter requiring official action.
Work Sessions are considered meetings where a quorum is present and matters requiring official action are discussed and considered, but no votes are taken or decisions made.

2008-13  Permanent Total Disability Reviewing Board  
Board's activity in reviewing applications for permanent total disability under State's workers' compensation law involves adjudicatory function exempt from Act. 
SEE ALSO  2008-08

2008-18  Boone County Board of Education    
Educational or training workshops are not meetings subject to the Act.

2009-03  Kanawha County Commission
County clerk and chairpersons of the two major political parties not a public agency under the Act.
A gathering of such a group does not constitute a meeting as defined by the Act.

2009-06  Executive Director of the WV School Board Association
Consultant retained by the BOE may meet one-on-one with the elected members of the County Board to establish criteria and skills important in hiring a new superintendent. 
Not a meeting subject to the Open Meetings Act

2011-03  Clarksburg City Council 
Act requires a meeting agenda to include all items that require official action that the Council will discuss at that meeting, even if the governing body does not take official action at that meeting.

2011-04  West Virginia Industrial Council
Procedural rule authorizing governing body to call a meeting upon the request of a quorum thereof does not violate Act's prohibition against discussions of quorum outside a publicly noticed meeting.
Discussion by a quorum concerning calling a meeting shall be limited to the logistics thereof, and not the substance of the topic of the proposed meeting.

2011-06  Hardy County Rural Development Authority
Quorum of county commissioners may serve on County Development Authority board only if both bodies notice the meeting.

2012-02  Bridgemont Community & Technical College
Transportation Engineering Certification Board, comprised of public employees and private sector representatives, is subject to the Open Meetings Act.
The Open Meetings Act does not require the Transportation Engineering Certification Board to make its rules available for public comment, but any deliberations, discussions or votes regarding its rules or policies must be made during a properly noticed public meeting.
Transportation Engineering Certification Board may informally discuss certification applications and/or make certification decisions outside of public meetings since this action is quasi-judicial in nature. In these quasi-judicial meetings Board Members may not discuss or decide policy matters which are required to be deliberated and acted upon during the course of a properly noticed public meeting. Transportation Engineering Certification Board is not required to make certification decisions during regular scheduled public meetings, but may do so in a quasi-judicial meeting. 

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MEETING PROCEDURES 

99-08 Monongalia County Board of Education
Meeting may be held by telephone or other electronic means ;
Public must be given notice of telephone conference, public place must be provided for those who wish to attend, persons participating by telephone must be audible to all personally present, and minutes must be kept.
SEE ALSO 2001-36
Member cannot vote by fax (§ 6-9A-8 prohibits voting by written ballot)

2000-08 Rainelle Town Council
Nothing in the Act prohibits a governing body from listening to a citizen complaint or other citizen feedback solely because the citizen wishes to speak to an issue not on the agenda.

2000-09 Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority
Members who appear for a public meeting lacking a quorum may nonetheless publicly discuss any issue on the meeting agenda, so long as no official action is taken.

2000-12 Preston County Board of Education
W. Va. Code § 6-9A-8(a) requires school board to include names of affected employees in published personnel agenda provided to public, or announce names to supplement published agenda, prior to voting on agenda matters.

2001-06 Marlinton Town Council
Town Council may not vote to fill vacant seat on Council by secret written ballot notwithstanding Town ordinance that calls for secret ballot.
SEE ALSO 2002-18; 2004-04

2001-07 Burnsville Town Council
No provision in Open Meetings Act prohibits Town Recorder or any citizen attending public meeting of Town Council from tape recording meeting, so long as the equipment does not unduly interfere with the meeting.
SEE ALSO 2005-08; 2008-09*

2001-30 Lewisburg City Council
No provision in Act requires governing body to provide public comment period;
comments may be limited to those who sign up in advance to speak and who wish to address items on agenda.
SEE ALSO 2003-11; 2006-04

2002-08 Clarksburg Water Board
Board may eject employee whose misconduct at meeting compromises the orderly conduct of the meeting.

2006-05
  Berkeley County Planning Commission   
Public comment periods are not mandatory under the Act.  A Governing body may set a reasonable time limit for public comments. 
A time limit of three minutes per speaker during public comment period is not unreasonable.

2007-12  Kanawha County Board of Education  
Board Members may question Superintendent and staff regarding matters not on agenda;
Board members may question speakers appearing during public comment period regarding matters not on agenda;
If a matter raised by speakers or Board Members is not on agenda, the members must not transition into a dialogue or deliberation toward a decision;
Members may discuss logistical matters such as whether to place an issue on a future agenda or when to hold a special meeting.

2008-11  Mingo County Board of Education   
Governing bodies have inherent discretion to change order of business during meeting;
Governing body determines what point in meeting to accept public comment.

2009-08  Lewis County  Commission
Quorum of County Commission members may not text, instant message or email each other during a meeting.
May text or email a member of the public for more information during a meeting.

2012-02  Bridgemont Community & Technical College
Transportation Engineering Certification Board, comprised of public employees and private sector representatives, is subject to the Open Meetings Act.
The Open Meetings Act does not require the Transportation Engineering Certification Board to make its rules available for public comment, but any deliberations, discussions or votes regarding its rules or policies must be made during a properly noticed public meeting.
Transportation Engineering Certification Board may informally discuss certification applications and/or make certification decisions outside of public meetings since this action is quasi-judicial in nature. In these quasi-judicial meetings Board Members may not discuss or decide policy matters which are required to be deliberated and acted upon during the course of a properly noticed public meeting.
Transportation Engineering Certification Board is not required to make certification decisions during regular scheduled public meetings, but may do so in a quasi-judicial meeting. 

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MINUTES
2006-04 Charles Town City Council
Governing body has discretion to determine how much detail regarding debate and public comment is contained in the meeting minutes

2008-09  Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Board  
Minutes must be maintained for all work sessions;
Work sessions minutes may be combined into single document with minutes of subsequent meeting;   
Board has discretion whether to record its work sessions.
(NOTE: OMAO 2010-04 overruled the requirement to provide draft minutes.)

2008-12  WV Board of Accountancy 
Governing body has discretion whether to record its meetings to aid in preparation of meeting minutes.  
No requirement to maintain recording after minutes are approved.

2009-01  Mercer County Board of Education 
Must include in the meeting minutes the name of an employee the Board has disciplined.

2010-04 Town of Cowen
Minutes become the official record of a proceeding once they are approved.
A reasonable period of time to make minutes available is immediately following the next regular meeting, but no later than close of business on the next business day following that meeting, absent compelling circumstances.
If material changes are to be made, then, in the absence of compelling circumstances, the minutes should be available for inspection no later than three business days following the meeting.
Draft minutes not required, but encouraged, to be made available for public inspection.

2011-01 Wood County Commission
 For a governing body that meets two times a week, a reasonable period of time to make minutes from both meetings held the previous week available is immediately following the governing body’s second regular meeting, but no later than the close of business on the next business day following that meeting.
If material changes are required to be made to the draft minutes reviewed by the body, then, in the absence of compelling circumstances, the minutes should be available for inspection no later than three business days following the second regular meeting.
See also O.M.A.O. 2010-04


2012-04 Conservation District
• Must either identify on agenda each invoice and amount to be approved for payment, OR state on agenda that a list of invoices, or the invoices themselves, are available for public review.
• Must have a list of invoices, which includes the name of each vendor and the amount owed to each, available for public review at least two business days before the meeting, not counting the day of the meeting. OR Must have all invoices being considered available for review at the agency’s office during its public office hours.
• May not add invoices after deadline to amend agenda has passed, e.g. governing body may not add to the stack right before the meeting.
• Must either record in minutes name and amount of every invoice approved OR attach to minutes a list of the invoices approved, and amount of each.
• When considering award of grant or request for money, agenda must identify potential recipient by name, but may omit amount
• Minutes must include both the name of the recipient and the amount awarded 


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MISCELLANEOUS

99-14 Grant County Commission
Committee on Open Governmental Meetings has no authority to rule upon questions arising under Open Hospital Proceedings Act.

2000-11 Educational Broadcasting Authority
Open Governmental Proceedings Act does not authorize Committee to render opinion on ability of ex officio member to designate an alternate.

2002-13 New Martinsville City Council
Open Meetings Act does not control who may participate in a committee meeting in the absence of a designated member.

2005-02 Fairview Town Council
The Open Meetings Act does not control which town official has authority to cancel or postpone a scheduled meeting.

2005-10
Huntington City Council
In order to cure an Open Meetings Act violation that was not knowing and intentional, governing body must give three days’ notice of meeting where matter will be reconsidered, allow free and full discussion, including public comment, and record the open portion of that meeting, retaining the recording for 6 months.

2006-03 Resident of Berkeley County
A person does not have standing to request an advisory opinion on policies and practices of the Berkeley County Planning Commission since he is not a member of that body.

2006-05  Berkeley County Planning Commission   
The Act does not authorize the Committee to rule on time limits or procedures for conducting a statutorily mandated public hearing.

2012-04 Conservation District
• Must either identify on agenda each invoice and amount to be approved for payment, OR state on agenda that a list of invoices, or the invoices themselves, are available for public review.
• Must have a list of invoices, which includes the name of each vendor and the amount owed to each, available for public review at least two business days before the meeting, not counting the day of the meeting. OR Must have all invoices being considered available for review at the agency’s office during its public office hours.
• May not add invoices after deadline to amend agenda has passed, e.g. governing body may not add to the stack right before the meeting.
• Must either record in minutes name and amount of every invoice approved OR attach to minutes a list of the invoices approved, and amount of each.
• When considering award of grant or request for money, agenda must identify potential recipient by name, but may omit amount
• Minutes must include both the name of the recipient and the amount awarded 

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QUORUM

2000-05 Region VI Planning and Development Council
Enabling legislation gives Council authority to establish less than majority quorum requirement.

2000-09 Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority
Ordinarily, a five-member board must have three members present to have a quorum sufficient to conduct official business.

2006-08  Marshall County E 911 Board  
Absent explicit authority in the law creating an E-911 Board, a simple majority is required for a quorum; board is not authorized to adopt a lower requirement

2006-12  West Virginia Health Information Network  
W.VA. Code  §16-29G-2(d) provides explicit authority for a quorum of less than 50 percent of the members.

2006-14  Hardy County Rural Development Authority 
No authority in Act for action taken by less than a quorum.

2007-11  West Virginia Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy Technology Board of Examiners 
Ordinarily, vacant positions are not counted in determining a quorum.  

2011-04  West Virginia Industrial Council
Procedural rule authorizing governing body to call a meeting upon the request of a quorum thereof does not violate Act's prohibition against discussions of quorum outside a publicly noticed meeting.
Discussion by a quorum concerning calling a meeting shall be limited to the logistics thereof, and not the substance of the topic of the proposed meeting.

2011-07   Webster Springs Town Council
Mayor and recorder are members of the governing body of a municipality.
Unless Town charter provides that recorder and mayor are not permitted to vote, they are to be counted in determining a quorum.



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RULES

2001-32 Berkeley County Development Authority Committee
Proposed procedural rules should be revised to include a specific provision that the date, time, place and purpose of any special meetings will be included in the posted notice advising the public of such meeting; if more than one matter will be addressed at a special meeting, the agenda must be prepared and made available to the public and media at the same time the meeting notice is issued.  Once these revisions have been made, proposed rules satisfy the minimal requirements of W. Va. Code § 6-9A-3.
Other provisions may be included that are not inconsistent with the Act.
SEE ALSO 2001-33, 35, 38, 39; 2002-01, 03, 04, 12, 14, 19, 20; 2003-03, 04, 06, 10, 15; 2004-01, 02; 04; 14; 2006-04

2006-07  WV Board of Respiratory Care
Governing bodies of State agencies must publish notice of regular and special meetings in the State Register  five (5) calendar days in advance.  

 2006-11     Fountain Public Service District  
Not required to publish meeting notice in State Register but must give "reasonable" notice of meetings.
Must post notice of special meeting two business days in advance.  
SEE ALSO  2006-15, 2007-06
 
2006-12  West Virginia Health Information Network  
W.VA. Code  §16-29G-2(d) provides explicit authority for a quorum of less than 50 percent of the members.

 2008-15  City of Oak Hill   
Act permits governing body to limit speakers making public comments to three (3) minutes;
Speakers may be required to provide name, address and subject of comments;
Approved rule for changing meeting venue to accommodate large crowd;
Clerk may erase meeting recordings after minutes approved.

2010-02  Mineral County Commission
Proposed procedural rules should be revised to include a specific provision that, when counting days, the day of the meeting, Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays are excluded; to comply with the posting deadline, the agenda must be posted by close of the business day.
Proposed rule limiting attendance at meetings "upon such basis as the Commission may from time to time select" is too broad.  Rule should be revised to ensure that no one is excluded from attending a crowded meeting for an arbitrary reason.
Proposed rule adopting Roberts Rules of Order should be revised to clarify that the State Constitution and State laws supersede Roberts Rules of Order in the event of any conflict.
Other provisions in proposed rules are not inconsistent with the Act.


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