S Memo 11-11

Posted on Feb 3, 2011 in Informal Opinions - Sunshine Law

S Memo 11-11
February 3, 2011
Permitted Interaction Group Procedures

A Neighborhood Board sought an advisory opinion regarding the proper procedures to be followed with respect to permitted interaction groups under HRS § 92-2.5(b)(1).

OIP provided general guidance and also discussed a specific example raised.

Among other things, OIP advised that the investigative task force permitted interaction does not allow regular, unlimited substantive reports by the investigative task force, and does not allow any discussion to occur at the same board meeting at which the task force makes its single report to the board. Instead, any discussion and decision-making on the subject of the investigation must occur at a subsequent meeting of the board.

More specifically, OIP advised that the board’s permitted interaction group in this case functioned as a standing committee. It was not formed to investigate a matter of defined and limited scope with a single report to be made to the Board. Rather, it was a long standing committee, initially formed on and apparently existing since April 7, 2005; it was tasked with and did work on various issues; and it was required to and usually did regularly report to the Board. Accordingly, it did not meet the requirements under HRS §92-2.5(b)(1), and instead should have operated as a standing committee of the board and independently followed the Sunshine Law’s open meeting requirements.

OIP also generally advised that the Sunshine Law does not require that members of an investigative task force be formally “appointed” or assigned at a meeting, and that OIP has opined that it is improper to add new members to an investigative task force after its initial formation.