Cleveland Heights councilman introduces legislation to ban secret meetings

From The Plain Dealer

Councilman Kahlil Seren introduced legislation Monday that would do away with executive sessions called for reasons that fall outside Ohio's Open Meetings laws.

The City Charter has already withstood legal challengesto the longstanding policy of not taking minutes for "Committee of the Whole" meetings, when courts determined that "home rule" takes precedence over the "Sunshine Law."

But even after winning in court, council and the administration recently decided to start recording those meetings, as well as to take "summary minutes" in an effort to provide more civic transparency.

Seren believes that another simple step toward that goal would be repealing the 1986 ordinance that allows council and other boards and commissions to hold executive sessions "in retreat" to discuss "general plans for the future, or general issues before the city."

That differs from the Open Meetings law, which prescribes that only certain issues can to be discussed in closed session, such as litigation, personnel and property acquisition.

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