66 Op. Att'y Gen. 106 (1977)
 
66 OAG 106  107  108  END

Wisconsin Attorney General Opinions

Opinion # OAG 29-77

4 April 1977.

Anti-Secrecy;
Open Meeting;
Newspapers;

Where a governmental body has convened
in open session on proper notice, it
can convene in closed session for proper
purposes to discuss an element of subject
matter for which the meeting was called,
and which is proper to discuss in closed
session, upon motion made and adopted with
vote of each member recorded, if proper
public announcement is made to those
present at the meeting and if such closed
session was not contemplated at the time
notice for the open session was given.

LLOYD J. PAUST, City Attorney, Columbus

Pursuant to Section 19.98, Stats., you
request my advice on the following question:

Can a governmental body go into closed
session at a properly convened open
session, for a proper purpose, where
advance 24 or 2 hour notice of the
closed session was not given at the time
notice of the open session was given
pursuant to Section 19.84, Stats.?

The answer is yes, provided that at the time
of giving notice of the subject matter or
agenda of the session, the chief presiding
officer or his or her designee did not
contemplate, nor have knowledge that
any member of the governmental body
contemplated, a closed session.

66 OAG 106  107  108   END

Section 19.83, Stats., provides:

   Every meeting of a governmental body
   shall be preceded by public notice as
   provided in Section 19.84, and shall be
   held in open session. At any meeting of
   a governmental body, all discussion
   shall be held and all action of any
   kind, formal or informal, shall be
   initiated, deliberated upon and acted
   upon only in open session except as
   provided in Section 19.85.

Sections 19.84(1) and (2), Stats., provide:

19.84(1)

   Public notice of all meetings of a
   governmental body shall be given
   in the following manner:

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.

19.84(2)

   Every public notice of a meeting of a
   governmental body shall set forth the
   time, date, place and subject matter of
   the meeting, including that intended for
   consideration at any contemplated closed
   session in such form as is reasonably
   likely to apprise members of the public
   and the news media thereof.

The obligation to give the required
notice is on the chief presiding officer
or his designee.

Such notice must include information
as to subject matter

   "intended for consideration at any
   contemplated closed session."

If the chief presiding officer or his
designee knows that a closed session is
contemplated, such person is obligated to
give the required notice.

He may actually contemplate a closed session
or know that some member will move to go into
closed session for some specific purpose.

In such case he should give the required
notice even though the body may not be
able to muster the vote necessary to
actually go into closed session.

A governmental body may have voted at a
properly called open session to go into
closed session at a subsequent session.

In such case the chief presiding officer
should give notice of the subsequent
session with contemplated closed session
subject matter noticed.

On the given date the body should be convened
in open session for again taking a vote of
the members then present to determine whether
the body should go into closed session.
 

66 OAG 106  107  108  END

In other cases the chief presiding officer or
his designee would not have knowledge that a
member wishes to move for a closed session
and no closed session may in fact have been
contemplated on the date the open session
notice was given.

This would not foreclose a governmental body
from going into closed session, for proper
purpose, to discuss one or more of the
items, or elements thereof, which had
been noticed for the open session.

Section 19.85(1), Stats., makes specific
provision for the procedure to be followed
in such case and for public announcement of
the business to be considered and requires
reference to the statutory exemption or
exemption by which such closed session is
claimed to be authorized.

Section 19.85(1), Stats., provides in
material part:

19.85(1)

   Any meeting of a governmental body, upon
   motion duly made and carried, may he
   convened in closed session under one or
   more of the exceptions provided in this
   section.

   The motion shall be carried by a
   majority vote in such manner that the
   vote of each member is ascertained and
   recorded in the minutes.

   No motion to convene in closed session
   may he adopted unless the chief
   presiding officer announces to those
   present at the meeting at which such
   motion is made, the nature of the
   business to be considered at such closed
   session, and the specific exemption or
   exemptions under this subsection by
   which such closed session is claimed to
   be authorized.

   Such announcement shall become part of
   the record of the meeting. No business
   may be taken up at any closed session
   except that which relates to matters
   contained in the chief presiding
   officer's announcement of the closed
   session. . . .

BCL:RJV

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