Question: We have a school board who (at every regular meeting) meets at 6 p.m. in a called executive session. They come out of executive session at 7 p.m. and enter open session of their regular monthly meeting. This is unlike any body I’ve ever covered. Generally, executive sessions come at the end of the regular meeting and are only entered if needed. Many times they are deemed not needed. This board, on the other hand, religiously has executive session before the called meeting. Is this kosher?
Answer: The Open Meetings Act requires meetings to start in open session. The law could not be more clear about this. See below.
Sec. 551.101. REQUIREMENT TO FIRST CONVENE IN OPEN MEETING.
If a closed meeting is allowed under this chapter, a governmental body may not conduct the closed meeting unless a quorum of the governmental body first convenes in an open meeting for which notice has been given as provided by this chapter and during which the presiding officer publicly:
(1) announces that a closed meeting will be held; and
(2) identifies the section or sections of this chapter under which the closed meeting is held.