Eureka Township holds closed session for ‘personal’ reasons

By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 10:57 am on Wednesday, June 12, 2013

EUREKA TOWNSHIP — The Eureka Township Board entered into a closed session Monday night for “personal” reasons.

Trustee Jeremy Austin asked the board to enter into closed session at the end of Monday’s meeting.

“I would like to make a motion to go into a closed session if the board so chooses to do so,” Austin said.

Clerk Linda Ruwersma asked why Austin wanted to enter into closed session.

“It would be a personal scenario situation,” Austin said.

Austin was asked if the closed session was about him or another person, as that person would need to be notified.

“It’s for me personally,” Austin said.

The board entered into closed session. Upon ending the closed session, a Daily News reporter was not invited back into the meeting for the meeting to be adjourned. According to Ruwersma, the board did not have to open the meeting back up if nothing was being voted on. However, there was not an official meeting adjournment voted on by the board before entering into the closed session.

According to Michigan Press Association attorney Robin Luce-Herrmann, the grounds the township used for the closed session should have not been accepted. MCLA 15.268 lists the acceptable reasons for closed session meetings and “personal situation” is not listed, according to Luce-Herrmann.

“There is no such exemption,” Luce-Herrmann said.

Closed Meetings

Permissible purposes for closed-session meetings, according to MCLA 15.268:

1. To consider dismissal, suspension or disciplining, or hear complaints or charges, or consider personnel evaluation if the named person requests a closed session.

2. To consider dismissal, suspension or disciplining of a student if the public body is a school district, intermediate school district or institution of high education and if the student or student’s guardian requests a closed session.

3.  For strategy and negotiation sessions connected with the negotiation of the collective bargaining agreement if either negotiation party requests a closed hearing.

4. To consider the purchase or lease of real property up to the time time an option to purchase or lease that real property is obtained.

5. To consult with an attorney regarding a trial or settlement strategy, only if an open meeting would have a detrimental financial effect on the litigating or settlement position of the public body.

6. To review and consider contents of an application for employment or appointment to a public office if the candidate requests the application be confidential. However, all interviews by a public body for employment or appointment shall be held in an open meeting.

7. Partisan caucuses of members of the state legislature.

8. To consider material exempt from discussion or disclosure by state or federal statue.

9. For a compliance conference conducted by the department of commerce under section 16231 of the public health code before a complaint is issued.

10. In the process of searching for and selecting a president of an institution of higher education established under section, to review the specific contents of an application, to conduct an interview with a candidate, or to discuss the specific qualifications of a candidate if the particular process of searching for and selecting a president of an institution of higher education meets certain requirements.

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