Can I tape record a closed session? Is the recording a public record?
Q: As an elected Trustee for a local school district, may I record closed session for my personal use (note taking)? These would not be permanent records as I would reuse the tape for the next recording.
A: If you are going to seek to record the proceedings, you should disclose to everyone present (who is being recorded) that you are doing so. You should be aware that if you make such a recording, a member of the public may argue that it is a “public record” under the Public Records Act. Thus it may be subject to a request that it be disclosed and/or copied under the Public Records Act. You and/or the School District may be able to prevent disclosure of the tape under various exemptions under the Public Record Act, but if such a request were made you might not be able to destroy the record. As a “public record,” other regulations and/or bylaws of the school district may prevent you from destroying the record (even if there is an applicable exemption that would prevent you from having to disclose it).