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Notice of Meetings

Administrative agencies meet regularly to discuss public business with public participation.  Administrative agencies are required to hold open meetings to allow the public to have access to and participate in the making of government policies.

The public’s right to attend an administrative agency’s meeting is violated if the public is  not informed about place, time, and date of the meeting.  Hence the issue of meeting notice is at the heart of several open meeting statutes.

Administrative agencies are to give public notice of its regular meetings before the meetings are held.  An agency should also provide public notices of each special meeting, and also of rescheduled meetings.  Public notice is not required for emergency meetings.  Administrative agencies are supposed to publish copies of these notices in local newspapers to invite public participation.

Generally, a notice must provide accurate information regarding the time, place, and subject matter of discussion.  The notice should be circulated among people who are entitled to attend the public meeting so that they can express their views.  Notice should be also served in the manner prescribed by the relevant statute[1].  Even if the notice is not effectively served, literal compliance with provisions of the applicable statute is what is required[2].  Certain open meeting statutes do not require notice of meetings to the public.

Agendas of meetings need not be mentioned in each notice.  If provided, it should in good faith be accurate, as an agenda suggests discussion of the listed matter in exclusion of other matters.  According to some state law, an agenda of a meeting is required in the public notice[3].

When executive sessions are held adequate notice of the same is required.  Generally notice regarding executive sessions is supposed to show details of the matter to be discussed in closed session.

[1] Smith County v. Thornton, 726 S.W.2d 2 (Tex. 1986).

[2] San Antonio v. Fourth Court of Appeals, 820 S.W.2d 762 (Tex. 1991).

[3] STATE v. PATTON, 1992 OK CR 57 (Okla. Crim. App. 1992).

Inside Notice of Meetings