Acting Appointments, effect and validity See Pimental vs.
It is essential to the maintenance of a democratic society that the public business be performed in an open and public manner and that the citizens of this state be fully aware of and able to observe the performance of public officials and attend and listen to the deliberations and decisions that go into the making of public policy.
The people must be able to remain informed if they are to retain control over those who are their public servants. It is the only climate under which the commonweal will prosper and enable the governmental process to operate for the benefit of those who created it. This article shall be known and may be cited as "Open Meetings Law".
As used in this article: Open meetings and executive sessions. A public body may adopt rules, consistent with recommendations from the committee on open government, reasonably governing the location of equipment and personnel used to photograph, broadcast, webcast, or otherwise record a meeting so as to conduct its proceedings in an orderly manner.
Such rules shall be conspicuously posted during meetings and written copies shall be provided upon request to those in attendance. Copies of such records may be made available for a reasonable fee, determined in the same manner as provided therefor in article six of this chapter.
If the agency in which a public body functions maintains a regularly and routinely updated website and utilizes a high speed internet connection, such records shall be posted on the website to the extent practicable as determined by the agency or the department, prior to the meeting.
An agency may, but shall not be required to, expend additional moneys to implement the provisions of this subdivision. If the agency or authority maintains a website and utilizes a high speed internet connection, such open meeting shall be, to the extent practicable and within available funds, streamed on such website in real-time, and posted on such website within and for a reasonable time after the meeting.
Public notice of the time and place of a meeting scheduled at least one week prior thereto shall be given or electronically transmitted to the news media and shall be conspicuously posted in one or more designated public locations at least seventy-two hours before such meeting.
Public notice of the time and place of every other meeting shall be given or electronically transmitted, to the extent practicable, to the news media and shall be conspicuously posted in one or more designated public locations at a reasonable time prior thereto.
The public notice provided for by this section shall not be construed to require publication as a legal notice. If videoconferencing is used to conduct a meeting, the public notice for the meeting shall inform the public that videoconferencing will be used, identify the locations for the meeting, and state that the public has the right to attend the meeting at any of the locations.
If a meeting will be streamed live over the internet, the public notice for the meeting shall inform the public of the internet address of the website streaming such meeting.
When a public body has the ability to do so, notice of the time and place of a meeting given in accordance with subdivision one or two of this section, shall also be conspicuously posted on the public body's internet website. Conduct of executive sessions.
Upon a majority vote of its total membership, taken in an open meeting pursuant to a motion identifying the general area or areas of the subject or subjects to be considered, a public body may conduct an executive session for the below enumerated purposes only, provided, however, that no action by formal vote shall be taken to appropriate public moneys: Attendance at an executive session shall be permitted to any member of the public body and any other persons authorized by the public body.
Minutes shall be taken at all open meetings of a public body which shall consist of a record or summary of all motions, proposals, resolutions and any other matter formally voted upon and the vote thereon. Minutes shall be taken at executive sessions of any action that is taken by formal vote which shall consist of a record or summary of the final determination of such action, and the date and vote thereon; provided, however, that such summary need not include any matter which is not required to be made public by the freedom of information law as added by article six of this chapter.
Minutes of meetings of all public bodies shall be available to the public in accordance with the provisions of the freedom of information law within two weeks from the date of such meeting except that minutes taken pursuant to subdivision two hereof shall be available to the public within one week from the date of the executive session.
Any aggrieved person shall have standing to enforce the provisions of this article against a public body by the commencement of a proceeding pursuant to article seventy-eight of the civil practice law and rules, or an action for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief.
If the court determines that a public body has violated this article, the court may require the members of the public body to participate in a training session concerning the obligations imposed by this article conducted by the staff of the committee on open government.
An unintentional failure to fully comply with the notice provisions required by this article shall not alone be grounds for invalidating any action taken at a meeting of a public body. The provisions of this article shall not affect the validity of the authorization, acquisition, execution or disposition of a bond issue or notes.
In any proceeding brought pursuant to this section, costs and reasonable attorney fees may be awarded by the court, in its discretion, to the successful party. Nothing contained in this article shall be construed as extending the provisions hereof to: Committee on open government.
The committee on open government, created by paragraph a of subdivision one of section eighty-nine of this chapter, shall issue advisory opinions from time to time as, in its discretion, may be required to inform public bodies and persons of the interpretations of the provisions of the open meetings law.
Construction with other laws. Any provision of a charter, administrative code, local law, ordinance, or rule or regulation affecting a public body which is more restrictive with respect to public access than this article shall be deemed superseded hereby to the extent that such provision is more restrictive than this article.
Any provision of general, special or local law or charter, administrative code, ordinance, or rule or regulation less restrictive with respect to public access than this article shall not be deemed superseded hereby.
If any provision of this article or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is adjudged invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction such judgment shall not affect or impair the validity of the other provisions of the article or the application thereof to other persons and circumstances.
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