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Guest Smitty

Mrs

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Guest Smitty

I am a newly elected councilman and I am just starting to learn the rules re meetings. I recently bought RR book, but it is a bit overwhelming. I have a quick question. We have an executive session re a matter tonight to receive legal opinion form our attorney on a very public matter. In the open forum afterwards, can I make a motion re this matter (if I received the info I needed) or can motions only be made on items placed on the agenda beforehand.... I am sorry I have a hard time understanding when and how a motion can be made.

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It is a popular myth that "motions cannot be made, and votes cannot be conducted, while in executive session."

Under Robert's Rules of Order, executive session is no different in its parliamentary procedure than open session.

Only the secrecy aspect is extra. -- Not the parliamentary tools available.

***

As always, if there is a superior rule which says otherwise, then that rule prevails, as the default parliamentary rule yields.

 

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23 minutes ago, Guest Smitty said:

. . . We have an executive session re a matter tonight to receive legal opinion form our attorney on a very public matter. In the open forum afterwards, can I make a motion re this matter (if I received the info I needed) or can motions only be made on items placed on the agenda beforehand.... I am sorry I have a hard time understanding when and how a motion can be made.

Generally, a member could make a motion in the open forum. However in this case, this may be limited by the secrecy of the executive session and/or your council's rules or applicable law.

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Mr. Huynh

No, it is a very public matter. For some reason the mayor felt to receive our attorney's legal opinion on this matter in executive session.

So to clarify, I am just not sure what the rules are on making a motion. I can make a motion in open forum on ANY matter without it being on the agenda? correct?

Thank you for your input! Will for sure get the brief book:)

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5 minutes ago, Mrs Smitty said:

 I can make a motion in open forum on ANY matter without it being on the agenda? correct?

According to RONR, yes

But your (town?) council may have different requirements, in the law.  Ask your staff lawyer about that.  Any laws would supersede what RONR says.

Also check for what "Open Forum" means.  Commonly it is an opportunity for non-members of the council (i.e., citizens) to voice their opinions but usually no official business is conducted at that time.   So there would be no motions made then.

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I want to emphasize what Dr. Stackpole (jstackpo) said above.  Since this is a public body (a city council), it is almost undoubtedly subject to state open meetings laws (aka sunshine laws) about agendas, bringing up items not on the agenda, what can be done in executive session, etc.   It is quite common to discuss legal matters in executive session, but to have to take all votes in open public session. You need to familiarize yourself with those statutes.   Your own city charter might also have a bearing on these items.

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