The Gardner City Council has spent about 5 hours behind closed doors in executive session year to date, excluding the Aug. 20 meeting.
About 20 executive sessions have been held during 2018 council meetings; the majority first called by either Lee Moore or Rich Melton, council president, and vice president, respectively.
Generally speaking, meetings may be closed to the public under limited circumstances; however, no binding action can be taken during the closed session. Executive session are allowed to discuss topics permitted by law, while protecting privacy interests.
The city’s attorney, Ryan Denk, will routinely be present at closed sessions. According to Governing Body Rules of Procedure Chapter 4(D): “No executive session will be held without the presence of the City Attorney.”
The council may choose to allow the city administrator and/or the human resources manager to attend at their (council’s) discretion. It is not noted on the meeting minutes that either attended the sessions.
There are 14 exemptions which allow the council to close meetings including the discussion of personnel matters of nonelected personnel; Gardner’s closed sessions involved about 12 under this exemption.
According to meeting minutes, no statement was made after returning from closed session except to make a motion to adjourn.
Four closed session were called due to pending litigation and one for the acquisition of real property.