SALEM - The Committee of the Whole of Salem City Council met in executive session Tuesday night, inviting Utilities Commission member and former chairman Geoff Goll to join them, but saying no action would be taken.
When asked the reason for the executive session, Committee Chairman Councilman Dave Nestic said "personnel," and when asked for a more specific reason, which is required according to the Ohio Open Meetings Act, he again said "personnel" and indicated he didn't think it was required to say more than that. The Committee of the Whole includes all seven members of City Council, although Councilman Clyde Brown was not there when they entered into executive session, which is held behind closed doors. Council President Mickey Cope Weaver was also there, along with Goll.
The meeting notice didn't go into detail about the reason for the meeting, except to say it was for personnel. Discussion can take place in an executive session, but no action can be taken. The indication was that no action was to be taken after the executive session, when the committee members returned to open session to adjourn the meeting.
The online version of The Ohio Sunshine Laws 2013: An Open Government Resource Manual, located on Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's website, explains when a public body may enter executive session for personnel, such as "to consider the appointment, employment, dismissal, discipline, promotion, demotion, or compensation of a public employee or official."
"A motion to adjourn into executive session must specify which of the particular personnel matters listed in the statute the movant proposes to discuss. A motion 'to discuss personnel matters' is not sufficiently specific and does not comply with the statute," a section on the Ohio Open Meetings Act said.
Prior to the Committee of the Whole meeting, council members attended an informational session with First Energy at their headquarters outside Salem on Depot Road concerning storm response.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org