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Questions & Answers

Can An In-person Board Meeting Be Moved To Zoom?

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A handful of residents showed up for the scheduled work session (5.30pm) and subsequent board meeting (7pm) of our town board.

Shortly after the work session started the Supervisor announced that the board was going into executive session and told the resident attendees that they would not return to the meeting room and that for safety reasons the meeting would move to a Zoom meeting . At that point the board members left the meeting room to hook up on zoom and no accommodations were made for the in-person attendees to attend the zoom.

The public noticed clearly stated the work session and the regular board meeting would be in the meeting room in the basement of town hall.

My question is was this procedure in violation of the opening meetings law? The public notice did not mention a zoom meeting.


What was the reason given for the executive session?

A specific reason has to be provided for an executive session motion to be proper. A proper motion could be to meet in executive session to discuss  “matters which will imperil the public safety if disclosed”. There must be a quorum of members present in person to vote on the executive session motion. As the public does not have the right to attend an executive session, the executive session itself could be done by Zoom.

If an executive session was held, the board always has to return to continue or end the meeting in public.

The executive session occurred during the 5:30 pm work session, did the 7pm board meeting occur?

In order for a meeting to occur with some board members present in person and some appearing by Zoom, the town is supposed to have adopted a local law which puts forth what constitutes “extraordinary circumstances” for a board member to appear virtually instead of in person. If a board member is going to appear by Zoom then the public is supposed to be given the opportunity to observe the meeting by Zoom as well.