South Dakota Office of the Attorney General Bethanna Feist Assistant Attorney General Consumer Protection Division
Employer: "In this job we need someone who is responsible." Applicant: "I'm the one you want. On my last job, every time anything went wrong, they said I was responsible."
All official meetings of public bodies SHALL be open to the public.
…to prohibit actions being taken at secret meetings where it is impossible for the interested public to become fully informed and to detect improper influences. Olson v. Cass, 349 N.W.2d 435 (S.D. 1984)
When a majority or quorum of the body is present and official business…of the board…is discussed. Attorney General Opinion 89-09 Not defined by statute or case law
Lunches? Smoking breaks? Sporting events? Social events? Others?
Post: Proposed agenda Including date, time and location of meeting Notice of meeting In visible, readable, and accessible location 24 hours before meeting At the principal office of the public body Posted on website upon dissemination of the notice (if have website) SDCL 1-25-1.1
Must be made public when provided to the members prior to meeting Posted on website OR Available at PPOB at least 24 hours prior to meeting OR When provided to the members Whichever is later If not posted on website: At least ONE copy in the meeting room Not required for material exempt under SDCL 1-25 Attorney-client confidential material Executive/closed meeting
Must keep detailed minutes of regular or special meetings Must be available for inspection of public at all times at principal place of business Made available within 10 business days after meeting Does not apply if audio/video recording is available on website within 5 business days after meeting
Posting and Agenda Requirements are SAME Notice SHALL be delivered: In person-by mail, email or telephone Must make honest effort To local news media Those who have requested notice SDCL 1-25-1.1
Teleconference: information exchanged by audio or video medium May be used to conduct a hearing or take final disposition on an administrative rule Member is present if answers present during roll call Every vote SHALL be taken by roll call
Posting and Agenda Requirements are SAME Allow AT LEAST ONE place for the public to listen and participate If less than quorum of members present, must provide public the opportunity to listen via telephone or internet Doesnt apply to executive or closed meetings
If appointed by governing body: Final recommendation, finding, or report SHALL be reported in open meeting Governing body MUST DELAY final action until next meeting If not created by statute, ordinance or proclamation, or are advisory: May not be subject to open meetings rules Ask legal advice if unsure
May only be held for the sole purpose of: Employee/Personnel Matters Student Issues Communications with attorney regarding proposed or pending litigation, or contracts Labor Negotiations Marketing Strategies Economic Development (SDCL 9-34-19)
NO official action Official action must be taken at open meeting Majority of the members of body must be present and voting NO discussions of any other matters
Charge Class 2 Misdemeanor Dismiss (no merits letter) Send copy of complaint and investigation to AG Refer to Open Meeting Commission Refer to another SA or AG for prosecution ONLY if complaint against Board of County Commissioners
Comprised of: 5 States Attorneys appointed by Attorney General Chair chosen annually from commission by majority vote Issues written determination of whether conduct violates SDCL 1-25 Includes: Statement of reasons Findings of fact on each issue Conclusions of Law Used to make final decision
Final Decision: Made by majority of commission members Each vote set forth in written decision Filed with Attorney General Provided to public entity involved, States Attorney, and anyone requesting the final decision If find violation: Issue public reprimand Cannot send back to States Attorney or to Attorney General for criminal prosecution All findings/public censures shall be public record
Began in 2004 No jurisdiction over complaints prior to 2004 37 decisions Various open meeting issues Found on Attorney Generals website: http://atg.sd.gov/OpenGovernment.asp x http://atg.sd.gov/OpenGovernment.asp x
Failed Expand teleconference definition to include email, text messages, chat services or other similar media if official business is discussed Expand open meeting provisions to apply to any committee or subcommittee of a public body Require minutes to be kept of executive or closed sessions and define how they will be viewed
Signed by Governor If a quorum of township supervisors, road district trustees, or trustees for a municipality of the third class meet solely for purposes of implementing previously publicly-adopted policy, carrying out ministerial functions of that township, district, or municipality, or undertaking a factual investigation of conditions related to public safety, the meeting is not subject to the provisions of this chapter. Amended SDCL 1-25-1
Signed by Governor Proposed agenda shall include date, time and location of the meeting Amended SDCL 1-25-1.1
Smith goes to see his supervisor in the front office. "Boss," he says, "we're doing some heavy house- cleaning at home tomorrow, and my wife needs me to help with the attic and the garage, moving and hauling stuff." "We're short-handed, Smith," the boss replies. "I can't give you the day off." "Thanks, boss," says Smith, "I knew I could count on you!"