Q: Can a governmental body go back into open session after convening in closed session?
A: Yes, as long as the notice requirements are still met. A governmental body is prohibited from reconvening in open session in the twelve hours following a closed session, unless specific public notice is given. This public notice must be given “at the same time and in the same manner” as the notice of the initial open session. Sec. 19.85(2), Stats. The practical implications of this are, in short, that a governmental body cannot at the beginning of the open session immediately vote to go into closed session only to later reconvene in open session and conduct business after all members of the public have left the meeting. The notice does not necessarily have to specify a time to reconvene in open session, but if it does, then the governmental body must wait until such time. A notice stating that the governmental body plans to reconvene in open session immediately following the closed session is acceptable notice under the open meetings law. Wisconsin Department of Justice, Wisconsin Open Meetings Law: A Compliance Guide 16 (2005).
Disclaimer: The Frequently Asked Questions and Answers on the Wisconsin FOIC website are provided by Godfrey & Kahn, S.C. (LaFollette Godfrey & Kahn is the Madison office of Godfrey & Kahn, S.C.).
The information provided on this website is a service to the general public. The information provided is not legal advice. Do not act on this information without the advice of professional legal counsel, who must evaluate the facts of your situation in light of current laws before giving you legal advice.
Your use of this web site does not create an attorney-client relationship with our firm, Godfrey & Kahn, S.C., or with any of our attorneys. Please contact us directly if you would like to retain our firm as your legal counsel, www.gklaw.com. But do not send us confidential information until you have spoken with one of our attorneys. Before we can represent you, we must determine that no conflict of interest or other situation would prevent us from representing you. Our representation begins only after we complete our evaluation and agree in writing to represent you.