In today's Legal Ledger, OSBA's division of legal services is introducing its new vlog, Sidebars, which will feature short conversations about legal issues frequently raised on the hotline and other topics. Today's Sidebar is a discussion between Sara and Jennie on executive sessions, which is a perennial hot topic. We'll cover the basics, delve into new case law, and provide practical guidance on how to manage executive sessions.
Ohio law requires boards of education to record the proceedings of their meetings. This document, which is more commonly known as the “minutes” of a meeting, constitutes the official record of all board actions and serves an important role in providing key information to members of the public.
Many school districts use their annual organizational meeting as a time to make board committee appointments. As school boards create new committees or invite new members to serve on these committees, it’s a good time to review the applicability of the Open Meetings Act to committees.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court of Ohio issued an opinion in Hicks v. Clermont County Board of Commissioners, in which a public body was sued for violations of the Open Meetings Act (OMA). The Supreme Court determined that, when alleging a violation of the OMA, the plaintiff bears the burden of proving the violation.
In February, the Ohio General Assembly passed House Bill (HB) 51, which allowed public bodies, including boards of education, to meet remotely, but only until June 30, 2022.
On April 1, 2022, the Ohio Court of Appeals for the First District, which covers Hamilton County, issued a ruling in the case of State ex rel. Mohr v. Colerain Twp., invalidating a land use plan created by a township subcommittee that operated in violation of the Open Meetings Act (OMA).
Across the country, individuals have been required or encouraged to limit face-to-face meetings and practice “social distancing” to slow the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). In light of these guidelines, OSBA has received numerous questions regarding the applicability of Ohio’s Open Meetings Act (OMA) during the pandemic. Because these state directives are changing on a day-to-day basis, boards should consult with legal counsel before making decisions about their meetings.