Recent Amendment to the Open Meetings Act Allows for Closed Session Discussion Regarding Independent Contractors and Volunteers

Published October 15, 2019

Effective August 26, 2019, Public Act 101-459 narrowly expanded the topics that can be discussed in closed session under Section 2(c)(1) of the Open Meetings Act.  Under this new act, a public body may now discuss in closed session the appointment, employment, compensation, discipline, performance and/or dismissal of “specific individuals who serve as independent contractors in a park, recreational, or educational setting” or “specific volunteers” of the public body.  

Consistent with the prior version of Section 2(c)(1), a public body’s closed session discussion of its independent contractors and/or volunteers should focus primarily on a specific person or persons that serve the public body, and generally should not be expanded to include a broader discussion regarding the company that employs them, or regarding that company’s contract with the public body.

Considering the increasing use of independent contractors to fulfill important roles within our school districts, park districts, and special recreation associations throughout the state, Public Act 101-459 fills a narrow but important gap in the Open Meetings Act.