Video: Ypsilanti DDA Emergency meeting violates Open Meetings Act

October 9, 2008 by  
Filed under Breaking News

(October 9, 2008) Watch the meeting where the Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority violated not one, but two sections of the Open Meetings Act. The DDA called an emergency meeting with 24 hours notice to meet with the DDA Attorney Tammie Tischler.

The DDA can receive a written opinion from the DDA Attorney in closed session and the written opinion is exempt from the Freedom of Information ACT (FOIA).

During the open portion of the meeting, Mayor Schreiber says the purpose of this closed session is to discuss the legal opinion from Attorney Tischler. DDA Attorney Tischler responds, “Correct.”

The Michigan Attorney General has ruled that the discussion of a written brief as well the presentation of any oral opinion from the board attorney may not be held in closed session. According to the Attorney General, discussing the written legal opinion in closed session is a violation of the Open Meetings Act.

The Michigan Court of Appeals wrote in 1998, “It would be illogical to construe the attorney-client privilege exemption as authorizing a public body to evade the open meeting requirements of the OMA merely by involving a written opinion from an attorney in the substantive discussion of a matter of public policy for which no other exemption in the OMA would allow a closed meeting.”

The DDA committed a second violation the Open Meetings Act by not allowing the public to address the board.

At the end of the recording Mayor Schreiber, who was acting as interim chair for the meeting said, “After returning for closed session the meeting will be adjourned.”

The Open Meetings Act requires all boards and commissions to permit the public to address the board.

The DDA did not permit the public to address the board before going into closed session. Scheirber said the meeting would be adjourned after the board returned from closed session, so there was no opportunity for the public to address the board after the closed session.


Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

You must be logged in to post a comment.