From: Robert Freeman
Date: 11/5/02 12:16PM
Subject: Dear Sir/Madam:
I have received your email in which you asked whether a town board may conduct an executive session "to discuss pay raises for elected officials including themselves."
In this regard, the only provision of significance in my view is section 105(1)(f) of the Open Meetings Law, which authorizes a public body, such as a town board, to enter into executive session to discuss "the medical, financial, credit or employment history of a particular person or corporation, or matters leading to the appointment, employment, promotion, demotion, discipline, suspension, dismissal or removal of a particular person or corporation."
If, for instance, the discussion involves an across the board increase for elected officials, it would not involve or focus upon a "particular person" or individual performance. In that situation, there would be no basis for entry into executive session. On the other hand, if, for example, the discussion focuses on the town clerk and whether he or she merits an increase based on his or her performance, the matter would relate to a particular person, and to that extent, I believe that an executive session could validly be held.
I hope that I have been of assistance.
Robert J. Freeman
NYS Committee on Open Government
41 State Street
Albany, NY 12231
(518) 474-2518 - Phone
(518) 474-1927 - Fax
Website - www.dos.ny.gov/coog/coogwww.html