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Searching 2017-2018 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 24 Appendix : Municipal Charters



(Cite as: 24 App. V.S.A. ch. 149, § 6)
  • § 149-6. Open meetings; freedom of information

    (a) Meetings, workshops, minutes, and records:

    (1) A meeting as defined by this charter shall mean any occasion when a public body, created pursuant to this charter, convenes a quorum for the purpose of voting and doing business, either in person or by telecommunication or video communication. If a meeting is by telecommunication or video communication, all provisions of 1 V.S.A. § 12 shall be met.

    (2) A workshop shall be defined as the convening of any number of the voting members of a public body for free discussion of predetermined subjects, upon which no action shall be taken, but upon which a nonbinding consensus may be reached.

    (3) Only actions taken at meetings shall be official and binding.

    (4) Minutes shall be kept of all meetings, recording results of all votes and major subjects discussed, with a special effort to record comments by voting members.

    (5) No minutes shall be required at a workshop, but a public record of the workshop must be kept for two years.

    (b) Executive sessions:

    (1) Any public body, as herein constituted, may only convene an executive session at a meeting publicly warned, by a vote of two-thirds of the members.

    (2) A motion taken to go into executive session shall state the reason, in accordance with this section, but need not state the specific subject matter.

    (3) A body constituted under this charter may hold an executive session for one of the following reasons:

    (A) For the discussion or consideration of contracts, labor relations agreements with employees, arbitration, grievances, civil actions at law, or prosecutions by the State, where premature general public knowledge would clearly place the State, municipality, other public body, or person involved at a substantial disadvantage;

    (B) The negotiating or securing of real estate purchase options;

    (C) The appointment or employment or evaluation of a public officer or employee;

    (D) A disciplinary or dismissal action against a public officer or employee; but nothing in this act shall be construed to impair the right of such officer or employee to a public hearing if formal charges are brought;

    (E) A clear and imminent peril to the public safety;

    (F) Discussion or consideration of records or documents excepted from the access to public records provisions of 1 V.S.A. § 317(b). Discussion or consideration of the excepted record or document shall not itself permit an extension of the executive session to the general subject to which the record or document pertains;

    (G) Deliberations of a public body of the State or of any State agency or authority, or of political subdivisions thereof when considering a case which it is required by law, after hearing and evidence, to decide with finding of fact and conclusions of law.

    (4) The only binding action which may be taken in executive session shall be the securing of real estate or property purchase options.

    (5) The public body may admit persons to executive sessions whose presence it judges to be critical to deliberations.

    (c) Meetings; warning; agenda:

    (1) The regular meeting schedule of a public body shall be posted in the Town Clerk's office.

    (2) Workshops must be publicly announced.

    (3) Special meetings may be called upon 24 hour prior notice to the media.

    (4) Emergency meetings may be called without special notice, provided efforts to notify the media and all members, verbally or in writing, is documented.

    (5) All regular meetings, special meetings, and workshops shall have a printed agenda specifying subjects to be covered, subject to amendment in accordance with the bylaws or rules of the body.

    (d) Access to public records:

    (1) All public records, as defined by statute, shall be made available for public inspection during working hours, within a reasonable period. Efforts to produce records which require research or special efforts to pull from dead files, shall be required on a timetable with due consideration to the work load of the department, with the person making the request so notified.

    (2) The Board of Selectmen shall fix a fee for costs of recovering and reproduction of public records in consideration of their availability and effort involved in production and reproduction.