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The Call of an Executive Session


Tomm
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Is the business stated in the call for a Special Session that's to be held in Executive Session required to be kept a secret, especially if it's for disciplinary actions, or since the Special Session has not yet been held, the reason can be known by everybody?

But of course, only those who are expected to attend the meeting would be receiving the call!?!?

Could an attendee after the meeting tell the rest of the members, "We were called into executive session to discipline a member" but not revealing their name? 

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On 9/22/2021 at 9:25 AM, Tomm said:

Is the business stated in the call for a Special Session that's to be held in Executive Session required to be kept a secret, especially if it's for disciplinary actions, or since the Special Session has not yet been held, the reason can be known by everybody?

Yes, I think that the business stated in the call for a meeting to be held in executive session is required to be kept a secret, especially if it's for disciplinary actions. I think this requirement would be lifted in the event that 1) the meeting is not held in executive session (unlikely to be an option in this case), or 2) the board lifts secrecy in regard to that aspect (the board's options in this regard are limited with respect to disciplinary actions).

On 9/22/2021 at 9:25 AM, Tomm said:

But of course, only those who are expected to attend the meeting would be receiving the call!?!?

The only persons who are required to receive the call of a special meeting are members of the assembly that is meeting. This is the case whether or not the meeting is expected to be held in executive session. (In the event that the accused is not a member of the assembly, the accused also has a separate right to receive a notice of the trial and the charges and specifications against them, which is actually more detailed than the call.)

On 9/22/2021 at 9:25 AM, Tomm said:

Could an attendee after the meeting tell the rest of the members, "We were called into executive session to discipline a member" but not revealing their name? 

No, unless the board chooses to lift secrecy regarding that aspect of the meeting. Since the proposed information is being disclosed only to the membership, the board may do so if it wishes.

Edited by Josh Martin
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My sense is that the content of the call should be so written as to omit anything that might be sensitive.  So, for example, the board might call a meeting for the purpose of conducting a disciplinary procedure without mentioning the name of the defendant or the charges/specifications against him.

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On 9/22/2021 at 10:48 AM, Rob Elsman said:

So, for example, the board might call a meeting for the purpose of conducting a disciplinary procedure without mentioning the name of the defendant or the charges/specifications against him.

Wouldn't that kinda defeat the purpose? What if the member being disciplined has no idea they did anything wrong and simply assumes, "Well, it can't be me" and doesn't bother attending the meeting?

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To have a special session, notice to the members of the "subject matter" must be given (9:13).  You cannot have a special meeting without stating its purpose.

Stating that there will be "A special meeting for disciplinary action at ...." would not not violate executive session.  At least, that is required when calling special meeting, and by calling it, the assembly has authorized the secretary to disseminate the members this information.

My question would be if the subject of the action should be named in the notice.  If I'm a member, I may really have strong feelings about removing Josh, but not have strong feelings about removing Rob.   Depending on who it is, I might not choose to attend. 

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On 9/22/2021 at 6:59 PM, Tomm said:

Wouldn't that kinda defeat the purpose? What if the member being disciplined has no idea they did anything wrong and simply assumes, "Well, it can't be me" and doesn't bother attending the meeting?

As has been previously noted, the accused is entitled to a much more detailed notice. See RONR (12th ed.) 63:13-29.

On 9/23/2021 at 8:08 AM, J. J. said:

To have a special session, notice to the members of the "subject matter" must be given (9:13).  You cannot have a special meeting without stating its purpose.

Stating that there will be "A special meeting for disciplinary action at ...." would not not violate executive session.  At least, that is required when calling special meeting, and by calling it, the assembly has authorized the secretary to disseminate the members this information.

My question would be if the subject of the action should be named in the notice.  If I'm a member, I may really have strong feelings about removing Josh, but not have strong feelings about removing Rob.   Depending on who it is, I might not choose to attend. 

Yes, I quite agree that the information is to be disclosed to the persons entitled to receive the notice. It seems to me that (especially in the case of disciplinary procedures) the information is not to be disclosed to others, unless the assembly chooses to do so.

I am inclined to think it is preferable (at least) to include the name of the accused, and quite possibly required.

On 9/22/2021 at 11:26 AM, George Mervosh said:

I'm not clear why the business stated in the call itself is considered secret.  Any further clarification is welcome.

I think this may be a more difficult question if this was about any other subject, but I think RONR is quite clear that (with very limited exceptions) all aspects of the disciplinary process are to be conducted in secret, to the greatest extent possible.

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On 9/23/2021 at 11:02 AM, Josh Martin said:

I think this may be a more difficult question if this was about any other subject, but I think RONR is quite clear that (with very limited exceptions) all aspects of the disciplinary process are to be conducted in secret, to the greatest extent possible.

It might be well to note that the rules provide for this meeting to be in executive session.  When the chair calls it to order, he should also note that.

I will point out that it may be possible (though certainly not advisable) to suspend the rules and conduct the meeting in open session, at least with the consent of the accused and a 2/3 vote.   I have seen situations where those accused wish to waive their rights to secrecy. 

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