Parrott, Jeff. 2020. State says south bend housing authority board illegally met behind closed doors. TCA Regional News, Nov 10, 2020. (accessed November 27, 2020).
The Housing Authority of South Bend’s board of commissioners might have violated Indiana’s Open Door Law when they met behind closed doors Tuesday under the guise of discussing the purchase, sale or lease of real property.
The law allows public bodies to meet in “executive session,” meaning without the public or news media present, to talk about specific real property transactions. Other acceptable reasons contained in the statute are to discuss strategy for collective bargaining, initiating or responding to litigation, implementing security systems, and school consolidation.
“There was a lot of things discussed in the meeting,” Cauley said. “It was an executive session. We don’t know if we’re going to sell the property. We don’t know what we’re going to do with the property. It’s not just a sale. We’re in the process of trying to see if we can go ahead and do other things with that property so that the housing authority does not lose the property.”
But Luke Britt, Indiana’s public access counselor, said “That’s not good,” when told that Cauley said there were “a lot of things discussed in the meeting.”
“The intent and the purpose (of the executive session) has to be for sale or acquisition,” Britt said. “It can’t just be kind of an ancillary idea and then everything else is pulled in under that auspice. It has to be about some kind of transfer of ownership of real estate, either as an owner or a tenant. It can’t just talk about the state of the building. It has to be about an actual transaction.”
You can read the full article here: https://www.southbendtribune.com/news/local/state-says-south-bend-housing-authority-board-illegally-met-behind-closed-doors/article_edd44ebc-237c-11eb-8ec9-63d315a82c19.html
It appears Luke Britt’s opinion wasn’t in writing or the opinion has not been posted on the PAC web site.