66 Op. Att'y Gen. 237 (1977)
66 OAG 237  238

Wisconsin Attorney General Opinions


15 July 1977

Open Meeting;

A town board is a "governmental body" within
the meaning of the open meetings law and is
subject to its provisions, including the
notice requirements of secs. 19.83 and 19.84,

An annual town meeting is a meeting
of the electorate.

It is not a "governmental body" within the
meaning of the open meetings law, and
therefore, notice under Subchapter IV.
Chapter 19. Stats., is not required.

If an annual town meeting is held at a time
other than on the first Tuesday in April,
notice must be given as required by
Sections 60.07(2) and 60.13, Stats.

Other open meetings law notice
requirements discussed.

State Representative Burlington

You ask three questions about the application
of Subchapter IV of chapter 19, Stats.,
entitled "Open Meetings of Governmental
Bodies," to town meetings.

1.   As I understand the law (and in this
     case using a township as the example) a
     township scheduling a meeting does not
     have to have an ad or a press release.
     Is this correct?

The town board is the "governmental body" as
defined by section 19.82(1), Stats.

Regular town board meetings require public
notice under sections 19.83 and 19.84, Stats.

However. as pointed out in
65 Op. Att'y Gen. 250 (1976),
such notice can be, but is not required
to be, by publication in a newspaper.

An annual town meeting of the electorate does
not fall within the definition of
"governmental body" and requires no notice if
held on the first Tuesday in April.

Section 60.07(1). Stats.

However, if another date is selected for the
annual town meeting of the electorate,
compliance with the provisions of section
60.07(2). Stats., including the notice
provisions therein. is required.

66 OAG 237  238

2.   If the township has to make public a
     notice, how is it decided where the
     notice of the meeting should be placed?

Sections 19.84(1)(a) and (b), Stats.,
provides that public notice of meetings be
given as is required by other statutes and
further requires notice to the public, to the
news media who have filed a written request
for notice and to the official newspaper
designated under sections 985.04, 985.05
and 985.06, Stats.

Notice to the public can be
accomplished by posting.

The chairperson of the board should determine
where and how many posted notices will most
likely give adequate notice. If section
60.07(2), Stats., is involved, notice must be
given as provided by section 60.13, Stats.

3.   For a public notice to be within the law
     does it require any other information
     besides the time, date, place and
     subject matter of the meeting?

Section 19.84(2), Stats., requires notice
to include the time, date, place and
subject matter of the meeting

     in such form as is reasonably
     likely to apprise members of the
     public and the news media thereof.

The quoted language modifies the
term "subject matter," requiring
more specific statements as to
the business to be conducted.

Publishing a properly prepared agenda
of items to come before a meeting
would satisfy this requirement.

66 OAG 237  238