October 30, 2001
The staff of the Committee on Open Government is authorized to issue advisory opinions. The ensuing
staff advisory opinion is based solely upon the information presented in your correspondence.
I have received your letter in which you referred to the requirements concerning notice found
in §104 of the Open Meetings Law and questioned whether notices of public hearings must be posted.
In this regard, I note that there is a distinction between a "meeting" and a "hearing". The
former involves a gathering of a majority of a public body for the purpose of conducting public
business collectively, as a body. As such, meetings are ordinarily held for the purpose of discussion,
deliberation, taking action and the like. A "hearing" typically is held to enable members of the public
express their views on a particular subject, i.e., a budget, a change in zoning, etc. The notice
requirements relating to meetings are prescribed in §104 of the Open Meetings Law, and as you know,
that statute requires that every meeting be preceded by the posting of notice of the time and place of
a meeting. I am unaware, however, of any general requirement that notices of hearings be posted.
Similarly, there are no general provisions of which I am aware that deal with hearings, and different
statutes impose different requirements. For example, while boards of education, town boards and
village boards of trustees must hold hearings prior to the adoption of their budgets, those requirements
are separately imposed, respectively in the Education Law, the Town Law, and the Village Law; each
of those statutes is unique.
I hope that the foregoing serves to clarify your understanding of the matter and that I have been
Robert J. Freeman
cc: Town Board