Eureka discloses ‘closed meeting’ minutes

By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 11:28 am on Tuesday, June 18, 2013

EUREKA TOWNSHIP — After holding a “closed meeting” for a “personal situation” — a reason not allowed under the Open Meetings Act — the Eureka Township Board has disclosed what was discussed after The Daily News requested the information via the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA).

On June 10, the Eureka Township Board entered into “closed session” after Trustee Jeremy Austin asked to do so.

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

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.

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

Because of this, The Daily News sent Eureka Township Clerk Linda Ruwersma a FOIA request to obtain the information discussed. Ruwersma responded on Monday, stating the minutes from the “closed session” are now included in the minutes from the regular meeting.

The “closed session” began at 8:39 p.m. and ended at 8:53 p.m. and consisted of the following discussion: “Trustee Austin expressed a concern about the resolution requested by the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) and the board discussed whether the resolution would violate Michigan law.”

Earlier at the June 10 meeting, Justin Barr and Christian Sowers had presented a LGBT anti-discrimination draft ordinance to the township board for their consideration. A similar draft ordinance was previously presented to the city of Greenville last month.

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