Open Meetings Act and Website Policy
This policy sets forth the requirements for the Regional Transit Authority (the “Authority”) to comply with the Open Meetings Act, Act 267, Public Acts of Michigan, 1976, as the same may be amended from time to time (the “Open Meetings Act”), and to comply with website posting requirements under the Regional Transit Authority Act, Act 387, Public Acts of Michigan, 2012 (the “RTA Act”).
Unless a distinction is expressly made, references herein to the Board shall apply to any committees established by the Board and requirements applicable to Board meetings shall apply to any sub-quorum committee meetings.
a) All meetings shall be open to the public and shall be held in a place available to the general public.
b) All decisions of the Board shall be made at a meeting open to the public.
c) All deliberations of the Board constituting a quorum of its members shall take place at a meeting open to the public, except as provided in paragraph 6 of this policy.
d) All persons shall be permitted to attend any meeting of the Board. The right of a person to attend a meeting of the Board includes the right to tape-record, to videotape, to broadcast live on radio, and to telecast live on television the proceedings of the Board.
a) Comments shall be limited to the “public comment” portion of the agenda at any Authority meeting.
b) All comments shall be directed to the chairperson of the Authority
c) A person shall be permitted to address a meeting of the Board so long as such person registers and expresses his or her desire in writing to address the meeting by filling out a “comment” card prior to the “public comment” portion of the meeting, so that the person may be recognized by the Authority chairperson.
d) Any person wishing to address the meeting pursuant to these requirements shall limit his or her comments to the time determined by the chairperson of the Authority prior to the “public comment” portion of the meeting, but in any event no more than three (3) minutes at any meeting.
e) In the interest of time, and in order to permit the expression of the broadest range of viewpoints, the chairperson may ask if one speaker may be designated to speak for any group that is present. If one speaker is designated to speak for a group, the chairperson may allow for extensions to the time limit determined pursuant to subsection (d) above.
f) Written remarks may be submitted to the chairperson at any time and will be received in the record of the meeting as if read.
g) The chairperson may request that all speakers shall observe appropriate civility and decorum.
a) Public notices of the Authority shall include the name of the Authority, a contact person and telephone number for the Authority, and the address of the authority.
b) Within ten (10) days of the first meeting of the Authority in each fiscal year, a public notice stating the dates, times and places of the Authority’s regular meetings shall be posted at the Authority’s principal office and other locations considered appropriate for the public body throughout the area of the participating counties. Cable television may be used for purposes of posting this public notice.
3. If there is a change in the schedule of regular meetings of the Authority, a public notice stating the new dates, times and places shall be posted within three (3) days after the meeting at which the change is made as provided in (b) of this Section 3.
a) For a rescheduled regular or special meeting, a public notice stating the date, time and place of the meeting shall be posted at least eighteen (18) hours before the meeting in a prominent and conspicuous place at both the Authority’s principal office and on a portion of the Authority’s website that is fully accessible to the public. To meet the 18-hour posting requirement, the notice must be accessible to the public for the entire 18 hours.
b) In addition, in accordance with the Authority’s Bylaws, the secretary, or his or her designee, shall give or cause to be given notice either personally, by first class mail, facsimile communication or electronic communication to each member of the Board, not later than the time the public notice is given, but the failure to do so shall not invalidate any proceedings of the Authority.
c) All public notices of the Authority shall include the following statement, with an accessible contact person for each meeting, who shall be the secretary or the secretary’s designee: “If you require accommodation due to a disability, please contact _____________ at (___) ___-____ not less than 48 hours prior to the date of the meeting.”
4. Emergency Meetings. In accordance with the Open Meetings Act, emergency meetings of the Board may be held in the event of a severe and imminent threat to the health, safety, or welfare of the public when a majority of the members of the Board decides that delay would be detrimental to efforts to lessen or respond to the threat. If the Authority holds an emergency meeting that does not comply with the 18-hour posted notice requirement, the Authority shall make paper copies of the notice available to the public at that meeting. The notice shall include an explanation of the reasons that the Authority cannot comply with the 18-hour posted notice requirement.
5. Meeting Minutes. The Board shall keep written or printed minutes of each meeting, which shall be made available to the public.
a) The minutes shall include the date, time, place, members present, members absent, any decisions made at the meeting, all roll call votes taken at the meeting, and the purpose or purposes for which any closed session is held.
b) The Authority shall make any corrections to the minutes at the next meeting after correction, and the corrected minutes shall show both the original entry and the correction.
c) The Authority shall make proposed minutes available for public inspection within eight (8) business days after the meeting to which the minutes refer, and shall make approved minutes available for public inspection within five (5) business days after the meeting at which the minutes are approved by the Board.
d) The Authority shall not include in or with its minutes any personally identifiable information.
6. Closed Sessions. The Board may meet in closed session only for the following purposes, as provided in the Open Meetings Act:
a) To consider the dismissal, suspension, or disciplining of, or to hear complaints or charges brought against, or to consider a periodic personnel evaluation of, an officer, employee, staff member, or individual agent of the Authority, if the named person requests a closed hearing.
b) If applicable, for strategy and negotiation sessions connected with the negotiation of a collective bargaining agreement if either negotiating party requests a closed hearing.
c) To consider the purchase or lease of real property up to the time an option to purchase or lease that real property is obtained.
d) To consult with legal counsel to the Authority regarding trial or settlement strategy in connection with specific pending litigation, but only if an open meeting would have a detrimental financial effect on the litigating or settlement position of the Authority.
e) To review and consider the contents of an application for employment or appointment if the candidate requests that the application remain confidential. However, all interviews by the Authority for employment or appointment to office shall be held in an open meeting.
f) To consider material exempt from discussion or disclosure by state or federal statute.
g) Any other exemptions that may be provided by the Open Meetings Act.
Required Website Postings. The Authority shall establish a website as provided in the RTA Act, and the Authority shall post on the website the following: