Democratic government encourages public participation in the administrative processes. Administrative actions are open to the public in that the public is often allowed to participate in administrative meetings and to inspect administrative agency records and reports.
Administrative agencies are supposed to officially record proceedings of a meeting. These official records of meetings are called minutes of the meetings. Administrative agencies actions are officially brought before the public through minutes and records which are duly prepared in organized meetings. Agreements, contracts, meetings, and legal actions documents are also to be complied as administrative records. Administrative agencies create reports of projects and research related to public programs. These documents are to be open to public access.
Statutes provide rules and requirements of keeping minutes of meetings held in administrative agencies[i]. In case of a closed meeting, an administrative agency is to maintain a complete transcript or electronic recording of the meeting which adequately and fully records the proceedings. The agency is supposed to accurately summarize actions taken and reasons for taking them. Minutes of the meetings are to be made available to the public in a reasonable place at a reasonable time[ii]. Every matter which is exempt from disclosure is to be discussed in the minutes.
In a public proceeding, formal recording of the proceeding is conducted by keeping minutes of a hearing, formal findings from the hearing, and order of the administrative agency. In some states a written record of proceedings is not required. However, when an administrative agency makes a decision based on the findings after a hearing, a written record of the proceedings is necessary. This is to assure that administrative agency’s decision is just and reasonable.
[i] In re Assessment of Real Estate v. State Bd. of Equalization & Assessment, 158 Neb. 325 (Neb. 1954)
[ii] Pressman v. Elgin, 187 Md. 446 (Md. 1947)