S Memo 11-10Posted on Jan 18, 2011 in Informal Opinions - Sunshine Law
S Memo 11-10
January 18, 2011
Discussion Outside of a Meeting
The Neighborhood Commission Office sought an advisory opinion, pursuant to a complaint received from a neighborhood board chair, on whether a board member violated the Sunshine Law by sending an e-mail to his fellow neighborhood board members discussing his position on the Ho‘opili project.
The Sunshine Law requires board members to discuss “board business” as part of a properly noticed board meeting unless a permitted interaction or other exception applies. OIP has opined that a member’s expression to other members of his or her views on board business is a prohibited discussion outside of a meeting whether the other members are physically present to hear an oral communication of those views or receive those views through other means, including through receipt of written correspondence by e-mail.
It was undisputed that at the time the email was sent, the Ho`opili project was a specific matter pending before the Board. Because the board member sent the email to all board members concerning his views on the project, OIP found that it constituted a discussion of board business outside of a properly noticed open meeting in violation of the Sunshine Law.