Is this Meeting Subject to the Open Meetings Law?
A group is subject to the Open Meetings Law if it is a public body that is holding an official meeting. Many standing committees and some search committees are subject to the Open Meetings Law.
A “public body” is any elected or appointed authority, board, commission, committee, council, or other body of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro that (1) is composed of two or more members and (2) exercises or is authorized to exercise a legislative, policy-making, quasi-judicial, administrative, or advisory function. Consistent with the Board of Governors’ interpretations of open meetings requirements, the following groups at UNC Greensboro are public bodies:
- Groups established by or at the direction of the Chancellor and/or a Vice Chancellor, if all of the following characteristics apply:
- membership does not consist exclusively of administrative officers or employees of the University;
- is composed of two or more members;
- its designated function or subject-matter jurisdiction is University-wide; and
- it is expressly authorized or directed–
- to legislate, make policy, adjudicate, or take administrative action, or
- to make findings concerning or to recommend legislative, policy-making, quasi-judicial, or administrative action.
- The University of North Carolina at Greensboro Board of Trustees and its committees.
What is an official meeting?
“Official meeting” means a meeting, assembly, or gathering at any time or place or the simultaneouscommunication by conference telephone or other electronic means (including video conference) of a majority of the members of a public body for the purpose of conducting hearings, participating in deliberations, or voting upon or otherwise transacting the public business within the jurisdiction, real or apparent, of the public body. However, a social meeting or other informal assembly or gathering of the members of a public body does not constitute an official meeting unless the informal gathering is called or held to evade the spirit and purposes of the act.
What notice do I have to provide to hold an official meeting?
The public body must provide public notice of official meetings. The type and timing of public notice that must be given coincides with the type of official meeting that is held.
Are minutes of meeting required?
Yes. All public bodies shall keep full and accurate minutes of all official meetings. These may be written, by audio, or video recordings. The purpose of the minutes is to provide a record of actions taken by the public body, not to record all discussions that took place.
Every public body shall keep full and accurate minutes of all official meetings, including any closed sessions held pursuant to N. C. Gen. Stat. § 143-318.11. Such minutes may be in written form or, at the option of the public body, may be in the form of sound or video and sound recordings.
When can a Meeting go into Closed Session?
Closed sessions may be held for the following permitted purposes only:
- to discuss information privileged or confidential pursuant to State or Federal law;
- to discuss honorary degrees, scholarships, or prizes;
- to consult with an attorney and to preserve the attorney-client privilege;
- to discuss the location or expansion of industries or businesses;
- to discuss real property acquisition (other than by gift or bequest) and employment contracts;
- to discuss personnel matters; or
- to discuss alleged criminal misconduct.
To go into a closed session, a motion specifically identifying the legal basis for meeting in closed session shall properly be made and adopted at the open meeting.
When a public body meets in closed session, it shall keep a general account of the closed session so that a person not in attendance would have a reasonable understanding of what transpired. Such accounts may be a written narrative, or video or audio recordings. Such minutes and accounts shall be public records within the meaning of the Public Records Law, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 132-1 et seq.; provided, however, that minutes or an account of a closed session conducted in compliance with N.C. Gen. Stat. § 143-318.11 may be withheld from public inspection so long as public inspection would frustrate the purpose of a closed session.
At the conclusion of the closed session, a motion to go back into open session must be made prior to adjourning the meeting. A motion to adjourn is invalid if it is made in closed session.