Nebraska Open Meetings Act Violation
On November 15, 2011 Nebraska’s Office of the Attorney General issued a finding that on May 26, 2011, the Ogallala Public Schools Board of Education committed a violation of the Nebraska Open Meetings Act. The Board met and adjourned. Following the meeting, the majority of the Board members were still present and participated in a discussion of items which were not on the Board meeting agenda. The violation came from the “meeting after meeting”, of which no advanced notice was given and no agenda or minutes prepared. The violation was technical in nature; there was a quorum of members present and discussion of public business occurred. The violation was de minimis and the Attorney General’s Office gave a strict warning to the Board to “proceed with greater caution in the future.”
A public body, as defined in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 84-1409, includes governing bodies of all political subdivisions of the State of Nebraska. The Open Meetings Act requires that all public bodies give reasonable advance publicized notice of all public meetings and the preparation of an agenda that is sufficiently descriptive to give the public reasonable notice of the matters to be considered at the meeting. The Act also requires reasonable arrangements be made to accommodate the public’s right to attend, hear, and speak at the meeting.