A&A: Circumstances for closed meetings

Circumstances for closed meetings

Q: For what reasons can a legislative body have a closed meeting?

A: Meetings of any “legislative body” of a “local agency” as those terms are defined in California Government Code sections 54592 and 549451, respectively, may hold closed sessions for the following reasons:

—To discuss and decide whether an applicant for a license or license renewal who has a criminal record is sufficiently rehabilitated to obtain the license (Gov’t Code § 54956.7)—To meet with its own representative prior to the purchase, sale, exchange, or lease of real property to grant authority to the negotiator regarding price and terms of payment (Gov’t Code § 54956.8

)—If it is contracted with the state to provide services to MediCal beneficiaries, then to hear a charge or complaint from a member enrolled in its health plan, if the member does not wish to have his or her name or other information that is protected by federal law publicly disclosed (Gov’t Code § 54956.86)

—To confer with legal counsel regarding pending litigation, when discussion in open session would prejudice the local agency in the litigation

—see the Brown Act for a detailed definition of what constitutes “pending litigation”  (Gov’t Code § 54956.9)

—To meet with law enforcement on “matters posing a threat to the security of public buildings or a threat to the public’s right of access to public services or public facilities” (Gov’t Code § 54957)

—To consider the appointment, employment, evaluation or performance, discipline, or dismissal of a public employee, or to hear complaints or charges brought against the employee by another person or employee, unless the employee requests a public session, but note that the term “employee”  does not include an elected official or a member of a legislative body (Gov’t Code § 54957)

—To discuss salaries, salary schedules, fringe benefits, and other issues within the scope of negotiations between a local agency and its employees with the local agency’s representative in those negotiations.There are a few other reasons that a closed session may be held.  (See Gov’t Code section 54954.5), but the do not seem likely to be applicable to your situation.