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OML-AO-5331

BY EMAIL

From:   Freeman, Robert (DOS)
Sent:    Tuesday, December 11, 2012 10:27 AM
To:      
Cc:      
Subject:           Executive Committee
Attachments:   o3989.wpd; o3926.wpd

Dear :

            This to confirm the advice offered during our conversations that the Executive Committee to which you referred constitutes a “public body” required to comply with the Open Meetings Law. 

            As indicated in the attached opinions previously rendered, the legislative history of that statute clearly indicates that a committee or subcommittee consisting solely of members of a governing body is itself a public body.  Further, even though there may be no specific reference to a quorum, §41 of the General Construction Law has for more than a century imposed quorum requirements on any entity that carries out a governmental duty that consists of three or more members.  In brief, based on §41, a quorum is a majority of the total membership of a public body, notwithstanding absences or vacancies.  If, for example, a community board consists of 51 members, its quorum would be 26.  If a committee of a community board consists of 7, its quorum would be 4, and a gathering of 4 or more members of the committee in their capacities as committee members would constitute a meeting of the committee.

            In the event that the attached opinions cannot be opened, they will be sent to you separately as well.

            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.ny.gov/coog/