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OML-AO-5276

From: Freeman, Robert (DOS)
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2012 1:06 PM
To:
Subject: RE: Board of Trustees minutes

Dear:

I have received your request for guidance concerning the content of minutes relating to events that
occurred during a meeting of the Village of Freeport Board of Trustees on April 16. You wrote that a
Trustee introduced a motion to amend the agenda, but that the Mayor "objected to the motion and
would not recognize the motion and continued to state that while the Trustee was speaking." The
motion was seconded, and four Trustees voted to place the item on the agenda; the Mayor did not
cast a vote. The Trustee then "read a resolution pertaining to the added agenda item, another Trustee
seconded the motion, a Trustee polled the board and four members of the board voted in favor." You
added that "During the motion and throughout the polling and reading of the resolution the Mayor
objected and said it would not be recognized." You also indicated that there are no "written rules of
procedure for placing items on an agenda."

In this regard, first, section 4-412(2) of the Village Law entitled "Procedure for meetings", states in
relevant part that:

"The mayor of the village shall preside at the meetings of the board of trustees as
provided in section 4-400 of this article. A majority of the board shall constitute a
quorum for the transaction business….Whenever required by a member of the board,
the vote upon any question shall be taken by ayes and noes, and the names of the
members present and their votes shall be entered in the minutes. The board may
determine the rules of its procedure…"

Second, section 4-400(1)(a) of the Village Law states that:

"It shall be the responsibility of the mayor:
a. To preside at the meetings of the board of trustees, and may have a vote upon
all matters and questions coming before the board and shall vote in case of a
tie, however on all matters and questions, he shall vote only in his capacity as
mayor of the village and his vote shall be considered as one vote…"

Third, section 106(1) of the Open Meetings Law provides that:

"Minutes shall be taken at all open meetings of a public body which shall
consist of a record or summary of all motions, proposal, resolutions and any
other matter formally voted upon and the vote thereon."

In consideration of the statutes cited above, I believe that minutes must be prepared indicating the
motion made by the trustee and the vote of the members, as well as the resolution and the vote of
the members. Although the Mayor "presides", he has but one vote, and four votes by the Trustees
would be valid, particularly, in my view, in the absence of procedural rules.

I hope that I have been of assistance.

 

Robert J. Freeman
Executive Director
Committee on Open Government
Department of State
One Commerce Plaza
Suite 650
99 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12231
Phone: (518)474-2518
Fax: (518)474-1927
Website: http://www.dos.state.ny.us/coog/