Mason council meeting legal?

From The Cincinnati Enquirer The city (of Mason) may have violated its own charter and state law when it met in a special meeting Tuesday to vote on a 15-year, $34 million tax incentive package for consumer product giant Procter & Gamble.

Legal experts say the city's special, mid-afternoon meeting held on a day's notice violated Ohio's Open Meetings Act because officials failed to provide the required notice indicating the purpose of the meeting, as well as the matters to be considered.

Mason's charter and state law require notices of special meetings to state the purpose of the meeting, and limits discussion to only those issues specified. Mason's charter further allows for discussion of an unlisted topic if five members of council agree to consider it.

On Monday, an administrative assistant with the city sent out a notice that Mason City Council would meet for a special meeting at 3 p.m. Tuesday. The notice did not specify why officials called the meeting or what they planned to discuss.

When an Enquirer reporter inquired about the meeting's purpose, the city staff member advised only that council anticipated going immediately into executive session. Under Ohio law, executive sessions are secret and not required to be recorded or minutes taken.

When council met Tuesday, it immediately adjourned into executive session, then came out and held the vote on the ordinance approving the financial package offered to P&G for its $300 million investment to expand its Mason Business Center.

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