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John E

GR DDA Secret Meeting

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While I am not an expert on the open meetings laws, I have fulfilled a FOIA request or two.

It's probably beyond Jay Fowler's job description to provide the Press with meeting schedules and agendas. It might be possible for more than a couple of DDA members to have a meeting without violating any laws.

Sometimes a committee is just a committee.

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I don't think the Open Meetings Act would apply to something like a DDA b/c it is merely a committee and usually nothing official is ever decided. Any major project would still be subject to the PC and city council. Closed sessions can also be held often in the case when the party involved is consulting a lawyer.

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I don't think the Open Meetings Act would apply to something like a DDA b/c it is merely a committee and usually nothing official is ever decided. Any major project would still be subject to the PC and city council. Closed sessions can also be held often in the case when the party involved is consulting a lawyer.

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A DDA is a taxing authority and major expenditures do not require approval by the Planning Commission or City Commission.

Page 4 of this PDF about DDAs in Michigan makes it clear they are covered by OMA:

http://www.mml.org/pdf/dda/4-ddaact_synopsis.pdf

OMA requires public notice of meetings.

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I guess I'm confused by the whole thing. Does every DDA meeting have to be public? If I met with the DDA, would it have to be public? If a company is looking at relocating to downtown, and meets with the DDA, does it have to be public?

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I guess I'm confused by the whole thing. Does every DDA meeting have to be public? If I met with the DDA, would it have to be public? If a company is looking at relocating to downtown, and meets with the DDA, does it have to be public?

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If you (or some company) wanted to meet with the entire board, at once, then yes. The OMA applies when there is a quorum present. If they just wanted to meet one-on-one with Jay Fowler (or some other member of the DDA Board), then it would not have to be a public meeting.

(1) All meetings of a public body shall be open to the public and shall be held in a place available to the general public."

(2) All decisions of a public body shall be made at a meeting open to the public.

(3) All deliberations of a public body constituting a quorum of its members shall take place at a meeting

open to the public (except closed sessions of course).

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So do you have to meet all three, or is each one applicable? It seems like "all meetings of a public body" is pretty vague. If Mayor Heartwell has lunch with Rosalyn Bliss and discusses city issues, is that a meeting? Does the public need to be notified? Or is the "quorum" the trigger?

Good to hear from you Andy, BTW!

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Today I had a public meeting with the head of the DDA. (Dining al fresco out front of Parsley's.) In the interest of elucidation, I mentioned this topic.

Paraphrasing: A subcommittee of the DDA can meet any time it wants, without notice or inviting the Press. The whole board can meet to discuss things, under the same circumstances, so long as nothing is decided or voted on.

This would provide for situations such as social gatherings (parties, let's all go to the game) because it's a discussion, not a decision-making meeting.

Seems like there are smaller jurisdictions that have needed clarification on this due to having only a few members.

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Regardless of the letter of the law, the Press is treating this as though the DDA meeting was in bad faith... and I feel like Mr. Fowler has been in this business long enough to know better.

However, I think it's funny to see some people reacting to this as though the DDA is some secret cabal meeting in some dark castle with thunder booming in the background. :ph34r: It's just the DDA.

I'm wondering, though, why they would want to keep a meeting secret from the public. Did they really have anything to gain?

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Today I had a public meeting with the head of the DDA. (Dining al fresco out front of Parsley's.) In the interest of elucidation, I mentioned this topic.

Paraphrasing: A subcommittee of the DDA can meet any time it wants, without notice or inviting the Press. The whole board can meet to discuss things, under the same circumstances, so long as nothing is decided or voted on.

This would provide for situations such as social gatherings (parties, let's all go to the game) because it's a discussion, not a decision-making meeting.

Seems like there are smaller jurisdictions that have needed clarification on this due to having only a few members.

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