HAMILTON-WENHAM REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
All meetings of the School Committee are open to attendance by the public and media representatives. However, the Committee has the right to convene in a closed executive session when it meets the following procedural conditions imposed by state law:
- The Committee will first convene in an open session for which due notice has been given.
- The Chairperson (or, in his/her absence, the presiding member) will state the purpose for the executive session, the section of the law dealing with the exemption and all subjects that may be revealed without compromising the purpose for which the executive session was called.
- A majority of the members must vote to enter the executive session, with the vote taken by roll call and recorded in the official minutes.
The Chairperson or presiding member will state before entering the executive session whether the Committee will reconvene in open session after the executive session.
The law states ten specific purposes for which an executive session may be held, and emphasizes that these are the only reasons for which a public body may enter executive session.
The ten purposes for which a public body may vote to hold an executive session are:
- To discuss the reputation, character, physical condition or mental health, rather than the professional competence, of an individual, or to discuss the discipline or dismissal or complaints or charges brought against, a member of the committee, a school department employee or student, or other individual. The individual to be discussed in such executive session shall be notified in writing by the public body at least 48 hours prior to the proposed executive session; provided, however, that notification may be waived upon written agreement of the parties;
- To conduct strategy with respect to conduct collective bargaining or litigation, if an open meeting may have a detrimental effect on the bargaining or litigating position of the public body and the chair so declares;
- Strategy with respect to collective bargaining or litigation, if an open meeting might have a detrimental effect. Collective bargaining may also be conducted.
- To discuss the deployment of security personnel or devices, or strategies with respect thereto;
- To investigate charges of criminal misconduct or to consider the filing of criminal complaints;
- To consider the purchase, exchange, lease or value of real property if the chair declares that an open meeting may have a detrimental effect on the negotiating position of the public body;
- To comply with or act under the authority of, any general or specific law of federal grant-in-aid requirements;
- To consider and interview applicants for employment by a preliminary screening committee if the chair declares that an open meeting will have a detrimental effect in obtaining qualified applicants; provided, however, that this clause shall not apply to any meeting, including meetings of a preliminary screening committee, to consider and interview applicants who have passed a prior preliminary screening. (The only position that the school committee would be involved in that might qualify would be for the position of Superintendent.);
- To meet or confer with a mediator with respect to any litigation or decision on any public business within its jurisdiction involving another party, group or entity, provided that:
- any decision to participate in mediation shall be made in an open session and the parties, issues involved and purpose of the mediation shall be disclosed; and
- no action shall be taken by any public body with respect to those issues which are the subject of the mediation without deliberation and approval for such action at an open session.
- To discuss trade secrets or confidential competitively-sensitive or other proprietary information conducted by the governmental body as an energy supplier.
The School Committee is not required to disclose the minutes, notes or other materials used in an executive sessions where the disclosure of these records may defeat the lawful purposes of the executive session. Once disclosure would no longer defeat the purposes of the executive session, however, minutes and other records from that executive session must be disclosed unless they are within an exemption to the Public Records law, or the attorney-client privilege applies. The School Committee will review its executive session minutes at least once each year to determine whether continued non-disclosure is warranted, and such determination will be included in the minutes of the next meeting. The School Committee has not performed a review to determine whether the records are subject to disclosure, it must do so prior to its next meeting or within 30 days, whichever is sooner.
LEGAL REF: M.G.L. 30A:21;30A:22
Adopted: October 17, 2013
Reviewed: April 27, 2017