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Recording Closed Session


Guest Barb Knox
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After a recent closed session of a House Committee to determine if a complaint against an organization member was sufficient to warrant the suspension of that member from the organization's restaurant and bar, the person who was complained against and ultimately suspended recorded the portion of the meeting where the verdict was rendered.  This was done without the knowledge and consent of the Committee and was only discovered when the person was unable to shut the recording off on her phone without it being visible to the Committee membership.  This is a California organization, and the Committee has taken the stance that the Committee had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the meeting.  It should also be mentioned that the person then allowed others who were not in the meeting to listen to the recording.  What are your opinions?

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I would say initiate further disciplinary proceedings against this member for sharing the proceedings of a closed session with nonmembers.  You could also go after her for recording the meeting without permission but you might be on more shaky ground unless there was a rule in place prohibiting it.

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I agree with Mr. Harrison. If the meeting was clearly in executive session , as disciplinary procedures should be, you are probably on firm ground as far as her breaching the confidentiality of an executive session by letting someone else hear the recording.

As Mr Harrison said,  disciplining her for recording the meeting is more problematic unless there is a clear rule against it. 

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21 hours ago, Guest Barb Knox said:

After a recent closed session of a House Committee to determine if a complaint against an organization member was sufficient to warrant the suspension of that member from the organization's restaurant and bar, the person who was complained against and ultimately suspended recorded the portion of the meeting where the verdict was rendered.  This was done without the knowledge and consent of the Committee and was only discovered when the person was unable to shut the recording off on her phone without it being visible to the Committee membership.  This is a California organization, and the Committee has taken the stance that the Committee had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the meeting.  It should also be mentioned that the person then allowed others who were not in the meeting to listen to the recording.  What are your opinions?

So far as RONR is concerned, the meeting could only be recorded with the House Committee's permission, and even if this was granted, the recording could not be shared with anyone who was not a member of the House Committee. The member in question may, in my view, be subject to further discipline for either or both of these actions.

The fact that this is a California organization or that the committee had a "reasonable expectation of privacy" doesn't mean anything from a parliamentary perspective. If you're asking about legal issues, you should consult a lawyer.

21 hours ago, Chris Harrison said:

You could also go after her for recording the meeting without permission but you might be on more shaky ground unless there was a rule in place prohibiting it.

I disagree that there is any "shaky ground." Members may be disciplined for conduct "tending to injure the good name of the organization, disturb its well-being, or hamper it in its work." I do not think it is unreasonable to say that recording a closed meeting of a committee (especially one held in executive session), without the committee's knowledge or consent, qualifies as this type of behavior.

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