The purpose of this policy is to set forth certain procedures that supplement the provisions found in the Council’s By-Laws for conduct of official Council business in accordance with the provisions of 5 U.S.C. § 552b. The Council may waive the provisions set forth in this subpart to the extent authorized by law.
- Definitions: For purposes of these procedures:
- “Portion of a meeting” means the consideration during a meeting of a particular topic or item separately identified in the notice of Council meeting described in Section 200.104.
- “Open” when used in the context of a Council meeting or a portion thereof, means the public may attend and observe the deliberations of the Council during such meeting or portion of a meeting consistent with the provisions of Section 200.103.
- “Closed” when used in context of a Council meeting or a portion thereof, means that the public may not attend or observe the deliberations of the Council during such meeting or portion of such meeting.
PARTICIPATION IN OPEN MEETINGS
- Public participation in open meetings
- Members of the public are invited to listen and observe at open meetings.
- Recording open meetings
- Subject to provisions (ii) and (iii) below, members of the public may record discussions at Council meetings. Photographing Council meetings is permitted so long as such activity does not interfere with Council proceedings.
- Due to the limited space of some of the Council’s meeting rooms and the necessity of maintaining order, use of recording or photographic equipment that would require the user to move about the room during the meeting may be limited. Recording and photographic equipment may be set up and used only in the public area of a Council meeting room as designated by the Council’s Executive Director or his or her designee.
- No microphones may be placed on the tables used by the Council Members and staff.
- Physical arrangements. The Executive Director or his or her designee shall be responsible for seeing that adequate space, sufficient visibility, and satisfactory acoustics are provided for public observation of open meetings.
NOTICE OF MEETINGS
- Public Announcements of Meetings.
- General Rule. Except to the extent that information involving closed meetings is exempt from disclosure, the Executive Director or his or her designee shall announce at least one week before the beginning of each Council Meeting, the time, place, and subject of the meeting, whether it is an open meeting or a closed meeting, and the name and telephone number of the official designated to respond to requests for information about the meeting.
- Abbreviated notice. If the Council determines by a majority of its members by a recorded vote that Council business requires that a Council meeting be called with less than one week’s notice as prescribed in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, the Executive Director or his or her designee shall make public announcement of the time, place and subject matter of such meeting and whether open or closed to the public, at the earliest practicable time.
- Change in the time or place. If there is a change in time or place of a meeting following the public announcement prescribed in paragraph (a)(1) or (2) of this section, the Executive Director or his or her designee shall publicly announce such change at the earliest practicable time.
- Change in the subject matter or the determination to open or close a meeting. The subject matter of a meeting, or the determination of the Council to open or close a meeting or portion of a meeting, may be changed following the public announcement prescribed in paragraph (a)(1) or (2) of this section only if:
- The Council determines by a recorded vote by a majority of the membership that Council business so requires and that no earlier announcement of the change is possible; and
- The Executive Director or his or her designee publicly announces such change and the vote of each member upon such change at the earliest practicable time.
- Deleted Items. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (a) of this section, individual items that have been announced for consideration at Council meetings may be deleted without vote or notice.
- Definition. For the purpose of this section, “earliest practicable time,” means as soon as practicable, which should in few, if any, instances be later than the commencement of the meeting or portion of the meeting in question.
- Meeting announcements. Meeting announcements shall be posted on the Council’s web page, sent to persons on a postal mail list and an e-mail list maintained for those who want to receive such notice and published in Council publications when such publication will provide meaningful notice.
PROCEDURES TO CLOSE MEETINGS
- General rule. A meeting or a portion of a meeting may be closed only when the Council votes by a majority of the membership by roll-call vote to close the meeting. A separate vote shall be taken with respect to each Council meeting or portion of a meeting that is proposed to be closed to the public or with respect to any information that is proposed to be withheld. A single vote may be taken with respect to a series of meetings, a portion or portions of which are proposed to be closed to the public, or with respect to any information concerning such series of meetings, so long as each meeting in such series involves the same particular matter and is scheduled to be held no more than thirty days after the initial meeting in such series. The vote of each council member participating in such vote shall be recorded.
- Request for closed meeting. Whenever any person whose interests may be directly affected by a meeting or a portion of a meeting requests that the Council close such meeting or portion to the public for any of the reasons referred to in the Council’s By-Laws, the Council, upon request of any one of its members, shall vote by recorded vote whether to close such meeting or portion of such meeting.
- Release of vote. Within one day of any vote taken pursuant to Paragraph (a) or (b) of this section, the Executive Director or his or her designee shall make publicly available a written copy of such vote reflecting the vote of each member. If a meeting or portion of a meeting is to be closed to the public, the Executive Director or his or her designee shall, within one day of the vote taken pursuant to paragraph (a) or (b) of this section, make publicly available a full written explanation of the Council’s action closing the meeting or portion together with a list of all persons expected to attend the meeting or portion and their affiliations. The information required by this paragraph shall be disclosed except to the extent that it is exempt from disclosure under the provisions of the Council’s By-Laws.
- Certification. Prior to a determination that a meeting or portion of a meeting should be closed pursuant to paragraph (a) or (b) of this section, the General Counsel shall publicly certify that, in his opinion, the meeting or portion of a meeting may be closed to the public and shall state each relevant exemption. A copy of such certification, together with a statement from the Chair setting forth the time and place of the meeting or portion of a meeting, and the persons present, shall be retained by the Executive Director or his or her designee as part of the transcript, recording, or minutes required by paragraph (e).
- Transcripts, Recordings, Minutes.
- The General Counsel shall maintain a complete verbatim transcript or electronic recording adequate to record fully the proceedings of each meeting or portion of a meeting closed to the public.
- The General Counsel shall maintain a complete verbatim copy of the transcript, or a complete electronic recording of each meeting or portion of a meeting closed to the public, for a period of at least two years after such meeting or portion, or until one year after the conclusion of any Council proceedings with respect to which the meeting or portion was held, whichever occurs later.
- Public availability of transcripts, or records.
- Within a reasonable time after the adjournment of a meeting or portion of a meeting closed to the public, the Council shall make available to the public the transcript, or electric recording, of the discussion of any item on the agenda, except for such item or items of such discussion as the General Counsel determines may be withheld. Copies of the recording or transcript shall be furnished to the public in accordance with the Council’s policies for the disclosure of information.
- The determination of the General Counsel to withhold information pursuant to paragraph (f)(1) of this section may be appealed to the Executive Director of the Council. If the decision of the Executive Director is not satisfactory, an appeal may be taken to the appropriate court.
- If for any reason it is inappropriate or impractical for the General Counsel or the Executive Director to make a determination regarding disclosure of information under this subsection (f), the determination shall be made by the Council Chair.
REPORT TO CONGRESS
The Council shall include in its annual report to Congress under section (4)(h)(12)(A) of the Northwest Power Act the report to Congress required under the Government in the Sunshine Act, 5 § U.S.C. 552b(j), regarding compliance with the requirements of that section.
Latest revision approved by Executive Committee: August 21, 1984