Any meeting of the Morgantown Town Council is subject to the Indiana Open Door Law. A “meeting” is a gathering of a majority of the members of the governing body of a public agency for the purpose of taking official action upon public business. “Official action” means to:
- Receive information
- Make recommendations
- Establish policy
- Make decision or
- Take final action by voting (IC 5-14-1.5-2(d)).
The only exceptions to the definition of meeting are:
- Any on-site inspection of any project or program, or facilities of applicants for incentives or assistance from the governing body.
- Any social or chance gathering not intended to avoid the law.
- Traveling to and attending meetings related to better government (attendance at IACT seminars, workshops, and conferences is believed to qualify as an exception).
- A caucus, which is a gathering of members of a political party or coalition that is held for purposes of planning political strategy and holding discussions designed to prepare members for taking official action.
- A gathering to discuss an industrial or a commercial prospect that does not include a conclusion as to recommendations policy, decisions, or final action on the terms of a request or an offer of public financial resources.
- An orientation of members of the governing body on their role and responsibilities as public officials, but not for any other official action.
- A gathering for the sole purpose of administering an oath of office to an individual.
The intent of the Open Door Law is that, with few exceptions, all meetings of governing bodies are open to the public and may be observed and recorded (IC 5-14-1.5-1). The Open Door Law does not give the public a right to speak. The Open Door Law also specifically prohibits any secret ballot votes.