PUBLIC MEETINGS (1 V.S.A. §§ 310-312)
"REGULAR" PUBLIC MEETINGS (1 V.S.A. § 312(c)(1)(5))
The time and place must be clearly designated by resolution, statute, charter, bylaw or regulation and must be made available to any person upon request.
"SPECIAL" MEETINGS (1 V.S.A. § 312(c)(2)(5))
The time, place and purpose of a special meeting shall be publicly announced at least 24 hours before the meeting by posting notices in or near the municipal clerk’s office and in at least two other public places in the municipality at least 24 hours before the meeting. Unless waived, each member of the public body must also receive 24-hour notice either orally or in writing.
"Publicly announced" (1 V.S.A. § 310 (4)) means that notice is given to an editor, publisher, or news director of a newspaper, radio or television station serving the area of the state in which the public body has jurisdiction or who requests in writing notification of special meetings. (1 V.S.A. § 312 (c) (5)).The request only applies to the calendar year in which it was made, unless made in December, in which case it also applies to the following year.
AGENDAS (1 V.S.A. § 312(d)) for regular and special meetings are to be made available to news media and concerned persons prior to the meeting upon specific request.
"EMERGENCY" MEETINGS (1 V.S.A. § 312(c)(3))
Emergency meetings may be held without public announcement, without posting of notices and without 24-hour notice to members, provided some public notice is given as soon as possible before any such meeting. Emergency meetings may be held only when necessary to respond to an unforeseen occurrence or condition requiring immediate attention by the public body.
ADJOURNED MEETINGS (1 V.S.A § 312 (c) (4))
Adjourned meetings shall be considered NEW MEETINGS (for which all notice requirements must be met), unless the time and place for the adjourned meeting are announced prior to adjournment.
MINUTES (1 V.S.A. § 312(b))
Minutes of all meetings of public bodies shall be taken. They shall cover all topics and motions that arise and give a true indication of the business of the meeting. Minutes must include at least: all public body members present and other active participants; all motions, proposals and resolutions made, offered and considered, and their disposition; and the results of all votes, with a record of each member’s vote if a roll call is taken.
Minutes of all public meeting are matters of PUBLIC RECORD, shall be kept by the public body’s secretary or clerk, and must be available for inspection and purchase of copies, at cost, by any person upon request FIVE days after the date of the meeting.
Minutes of an EXECUTIVE SESSION need not be taken, but if they are, shall not be made public subject to this section. (1V.S.A. § 313(a)).
EXECUTIVE SESSIONS (1 V.S.A. § 313)
• Contracts, labor relations agreements with employees, arbitration, mediation, grievances, civil actions or prosecutions by the state, where pre-mature general public knowledge would clearly place the state, municipality, other public body, or person involved at a substantial disadvantage;
• The negotiating or securing of real estate purchase options;
• The appointment or employment or evaluation of a public officer or employee;
• A disciplinary or dismissal action against a public officer or employee; but nothing in this subsection shall be construed to impair the right of such officer or employee to a public hearing if formal charges are brought;
• A clear and imminent peril to the public safety;
• Discussion or consideration of records or documents excepted from the access to public records provisions of section 317(b) of this title. Discussion or consideration of the excepted record or document shall not itself permit an extension of the executive session to the general subject to which the record or document pertains;
• The academic records or suspension or discipline of students.
PENALTY (1 V.S.A. § 314)/p>
A person who is a member of a public body and who knowingly and intentionally violates the provisions of this subchapter or who knowingly and intentionally participates in the wrongful exclusion of any person or persons from any meeting for which provision is herein made, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not more than $500.00.
The attorney general or any person aggrieved by a violation of the provisions of this subchapter may apply to the superior court in the county in which the violation has taken place for injunctive relief or a declaratory judgement. Except as to cases the court considers of greater importance, proceedings before superior court shall take precedence on the docket over all cases and shall be assigned for hearing and trial or argument at the earliest date and expedited in every way.
Local officials can contact VLCT at 802-229-9111 or email@example.com