From:  Freeman, Robert (DOS)

Sent:  Thursday, August 23, 2012 9:05 AM

Subject: New Provision of the Open Meetings Law Goes Into Effect February 2, 2012

It’s an interesting question.  If you’re referring to the committee that we discussed, the Open Meetings Law simply doesn’t apply.  If, however, you’re referring to the System’s Board, which is subject to the Open Meetings Law due to the direction given in §260-a of the Education Law, you may recall that we’ve advised that not-for-profit library entities are not subject to the Freedom of Information Law.

Based on a close reading of the new provision, §103(e) of the Open Meetings Law, it generally requires the disclosure of two categories of records scheduled to be discussed during open meetings.  One involves records that are accessible under the Freedom of Information Law, and the other pertains to “any proposed resolution, law, rule regulation, policy or any amendment thereto.”  Therefore, I believe that the latter group of records, i.e., proposed resolutions, policies and the like, should be made available in advance of meetings to comply with §103(e) when those records are scheduled to be discussed in public by a non-governmental library board of trustees.  The former, concerning records that are accessible under the Freedom of Information Law would not apply, for a non-governmental entity falls outside the scope of that law.

This is not intended to suggest that records cannot be disclosed by a non-governmental entity when the Freedom of Information Law does not apply, but rather that there is no obligation to do so.

I hope that I have been of assistance.  If you would like to discuss the matter, please feel free to contact me.

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