65 Op. Att'y Gen. 250 (1976)
65 OAG 250  251


Wisconsin Attorney General Opinions

29 October 1976

Open Meeting;

Open Meetings of Governmental Bodies Law,
Subchapter IV of Chapter 19, Stats., does not
require that notice of a meeting be given
by a legal notice or paid publication.

Method of giving notice pursuant to Section
19.84(1), Stats., discussed.

RICHARD F. FOLTZ,  Burlington

Pursuant to Section 19.98, Stats., as created
by Chapter 426, Laws of 1975, you request my
opinion whether the notice required under
Section 19.84(1)(b), Stats., requires
publication as a legal notice in the official
newspaper of the governmental unit.

I am of the opinion that it does not.

I refer you to 63 OAG 509 (1974), which
discusses the meaning of "communication"
under Section 66.77(2) R.S. 1973.

The advice given in 63 OAG 509 is
applicable to the present law.

Section 19.84(1), Stats., requires
the giving of any notice:

19.84(1)(a)  As required by any other
             statutes; and

19.84(1)(b)  By communication from the chief
             presiding officer of a
             governmental body or such
             person's designee to the public,
             to those news media who have
             filed a written request for
             such notice, and to the
             official newspaper designated
             under Sections 985.04, 985.05
             and 985.06 or, if none exists,
             to a news medium likely to
             give notice in the area.

65 OAG 250  251

Notice to the public can be given by
posting in one or more public places
likely to be noticed by the public
or those who might be concerned.

Written or telephonic communication to
members of the news media or official
newspaper is sufficient.

A written communication is desirable as it
reduces the chances for error. While paid
publication is not required under Section
19.84, the governmental body or its chief
presiding officer may decide that, because
of the particular nature of the meeting
to be held, the preferable means of
providing notice is by paid publication.

All notices must meet the content
requirements of Section 19.84(2), Stats.

Notice must be given at least 24 hours prior
to the commencement of the meeting except in
the case of an emergency, and in such case,
at least 2 hours' notice is required.

The shorter notice can only be used where
it is "impossible or impractical" to
give the "at least 24 hours" notice.

Section 19.84(4) requires a separate and
complete notice for each meeting at a time
and date reasonably proximate to the meeting,
and Subsection 19.84(2) requires that the
notice of a meeting include any special
subject matter intended for consideration
at a contemplated closed session.

Bronson La Follette
Attorney General

65 OAG 250  251