Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 202.48 Issued on July 6, 2020, Extends the Suspension of Certain Open Meetings Law Requirements
Yesterday, Governor Cuomo signed Executive Order 202.48 in response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. This order, amongst other things, extended through August 5, 2020, Executive Order 202.1 and its subsequent orders pertaining to Article 7 of the Public Officers Law- the Open Meetings Law (“OML”) which govern the meetings of the boards of certain public bodies, including charter schools.
The original order (Executive Order 202.1) issued on March 12, 2020, temporarily suspended the requirement that the board meetings of certain public bodies take place at a publicly accessible location with board members attending in person or via video conference where members of the public can see and hear such board members attending remotely.
The Order, as renewed, permits members of the Board to attend by remote means including video conference, but does require that the public must have the ability to view or listen to such proceedings as they take place and that such meetings are recorded and later transcribed. Despite this change to what is ordinarily required, under Executive Order 202.1 (as extended), all other requirements including without limitation publishing in advance of a meeting notice of the meeting.
With respect to the usual Open Meetings Law requirements that the address of board members attending by video conference is provided in advance of the meeting by public notice, the New York State Committee on Open Government issued an advisory opinion on March 25, 2020, that interprets Executive Order 202.1 as temporarily suspending this Open Meetings Law requirements (and noting that it the requirement is not applicable to board members appearing by phone or audio means either).