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December 11, 2018

Request: Did the City of Belfield violate the law by failing to properly notice a special meeting and holding an improper executive session?

Conclusion: The City of Belfield held a special meeting before its regular meeting. The city posted the meeting notice but did not send a copy to the official newspaper, as required for special meetings. A governing body may hold an executive session to discussed or consider closed or confidential records or as otherwise authorized by law.  The agenda was insufficient because the topic was listed as “discussion on pending law enforcement investigation” and the notice did not contain the legal authority for holding a closed executive session, in violation of the law. During the special meeting’s executive session, the city received a status report relating to a pending internal and criminal investigation of the city auditor and gave instruction to the city attorney to reinstate the auditor, but throughout the closed executive session the commission also discussed other, unrelated, public business which should have been discussed during an open meeting. Those discussions violated the law.

Opinion: 2018-O-28

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