05-11Posted on Apr 27, 2005 in Formal Opinions
Opinion Letter No. 05-11
April 27, 2005
Closed Public Building; Unreasonable Delay to Start of Public Meeting
OIP addressed two issues raised by a member of the public regarding whether certain actions of the Kauai County Council (the “Council”) were proper under the Sunshine Law, specifically: (1) whether the building in which certain public meetings (the “Meetings”) could properly be closed to the public after the Council voted to convene in executive sessions; and (2) whether the Council could properly commence the Meetings more than seven hours after the times stated on the notices and agendas for the Meetings.
OIP concluded that that the practice of closing the building during an executive meeting does not violate the Sunshine Law. OIP strongly recommends, however, that boards hold executive meetings within the context of an open meeting and in a place where the public may remain so that the board may reconvene in the open meeting where necessary or desired.
OIP further concluded that the more than seven hour delay in commencing the Meetings substantially deprived the public of its rights to access granted by the Sunshine Law and thus rendered the filed notices insufficient under the Sunshine Law. Any deviation from the time stated in a notice for a public meeting must be reasonable or the notice given for the meeting will be rendered insufficient under the Sunshine Law.