OML AO 5578

From:                      Freeman, Robert J (DOS)
Sent:                       Wednesday, March 28, 2018 10:32 AM
Subject:                  RE: Dover Emergency Preparedness planning meeting - Executive session


Good morning ‐‐

I have received your note concerning meetings of the Dover Town Board concerning revisions in its "comprehensive emergency preparedness" plan and its ability to enter into executive session.

In this regard, as you are likely aware, the Open Meetings Law requires that meetings of a public body, such as a town board, must be conducted open to the public, unless there is a basis for entry into an executive session. Section 105(1) contains eight grounds for so doing.

In consideration of the subject at issue, I would conjecture that some aspects of the discussion would, if conducted in public, promote or enhance residents' ability to be prepared and safe. In that context, I believe that the Board must engage in a public discussion. However, others might if publicly discussed enable potential lawbreakers to evade detection or act in a manner that would adversely affect safety and security. In that latter situation, §105(1)(a) may be applicable, for it authorizes a public body to enter into executive session to discuss "matters which will imperil the public safety if disclosed."

In short, insofar as public discussion would imperil public safety, I believe that the Board could conduct an executive session.

I hope that I have been of assistance.