S Memo 12-11

Posted on Apr 2, 2012 in Informal Opinions - Sunshine Law

S Memo 12-11
April 2, 2012
Adequacy of Agenda

Requester asked for an investigation into whether the Department of Land and Natural Resources Commission on Water Resource Management (CWRM) violated the Sunshine Law by discussing items that were alleged to be insufficiently described on the agenda for the CWRM meeting of November 16, 2011.

OIP found that Item F. on the agenda for the CWRM’s meeting, which stated “ADMINISTRATIVE OTHER BUSINESS,” a “catch-all” agenda item, did not meet the notice and agenda requirements in the Sunshine Law because it did not indicate that there would be a discussion on hiring staff; however, any public harm resulting from this deficiency was minimal.

OIP recommended that, in order to avoid future Sunshine Law complaints, the CWRM (1) not use “catch-alls” in agendas without providing more detailed descriptions in subheadings, and (2) instruct its commissioners to identify, in advance of filing an agenda, matters of “official business” that they wish to inquire about and possibly discuss at the meeting. OIP also noted that boards may amend filed agendas in accordance with section 92-7(b), HRS.