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Nonpublic, Nonexempt Executive Sessions Violate the Ohio Open Meetings Act

In the case Ames v. Rootstown Twp. Bd. of Trs., 11th Dist. Portage No. 2019-P-0019, 2019-Ohio-5412, an Ohio appellate court held that nonpublic, nonexempt executive sessions held during public meetings violate the Ohio Open Meetings Act.

In this case, a plaintiff sued a township board of trustees for violating the Ohio Open Meetings Act (R.C. 121.22) for moving into private executive sessions for purposes not approved under R.C. 121.22(G). The township board of trustees argued that R.C. 121.22 did not apply because the township board of trustees used the executive sessions for informational purposes and did not deliberate public business.

The Ohio appellate court held that all executive sessions within a public meeting must be kept open to the public unless the public body can show that the public body was moving into an executive session for a purpose under R.C. 121.22(G). Thus, the Ohio appellate court rejected the board of trustees’ argument that executive sessions could be exempt if the executive sessions were only used for informational purposes and not to deliberate public business.

To read this case, click here.

Authors: Matthew John Markling and the McGown & Markling Team.

Note: This blog entry does not constitute – nor does it contain – legal advice. Legal jurisprudence is like the always changing like the Midwestern weather. As a result, this single blog entry cannot substitute for consultation with a McGown & Markling attorney. If legal advice is needed with respect to a specific factual situation, please feel free to contact a McGown & Markling attorney.

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