March 6, 2007
FROM: Robert J. Freeman, Executive Director
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 asked whether a village board may conduct a meeting on a “federally recognized holiday.”
With regard to the legality of a meeting held on a legal holiday, the Open Meetings Law is silent on the matter. Although §24 of the General Construction Law enumerates certain days as "public holidays", I an unaware of any statute or judicial decisions that deal specifically with the issue of a public body's authority to conduct a meeting on a holiday or a weekend day. I have found a summary of an opinion rendered by the State Comptroller in which it was advised that a town is not legally obligated to close its offices on the holidays designated in §24 of the General Construction Law, and that a town board has discretionary authority to close town offices in observation of those holidays (see 1985 Opinion of the State Comptroller, 85-33). In my view, due to the absence of specific statutory guidance, it appears that a public body may in its discretion conduct meetings on public holidays or weekends, so long as it complies with the applicable provisions of law, such as the Open Meetings Law. I point out, too, that many public bodies conduct organizational meetings on January 1, which is a public holiday.
I hope that I have been of assistance.