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Under the city council form of government, the council may prescribe by ordinance the manner in which special meetings may be called (NDCC 40-08-10) A typical ordinance would provide that a special meeting may be called by the mayor or any two council members. Under the city commission form of government, special meetings may be called at any time by the president or any two members of the board to consider matters mentioned in the call of such meeting. (NDCC 40-09-11)
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If a city is making a hiring decision from three or more applicants who meet the minimum qualifications for a vacant position, the city shall designate three or more applicants as finalists for future consideration before making an offer of employment to fill the position.
If the city does not wish to consider any applications and descides not to make an offer of employment, the public entity does not need to designate any finalists. (NDCC 44-04-18.27)
The applications and any records related to the applications that contain information that could reasonably be used to identify an application who either:
does not meet the minimum qualifications for the vacancy; or
was not designed as a finalist
is confidential and cannot be released to the public. The city shall comply with all requirements for an executive session to discuss confidential applications. (NDCC 44-04-18.27 and 44-04-17.1(3))
If, by the close of the application period for a vacant position, a city receives applications from fewer than three applicatnts who meet the minimum qualifications, the appplications and records related to the applicatiosn are open to the public. (NDCC 44-04-18.27)
We only have one meeting a month, and then we get together once a week to have coffee and discuss upcoming agenda items. These aren't meetings, are they?
Yes, they are. "Meeting" includes informal gatherings or work sessions, and discussions where some or all of the members of the governing body are participating in the meeting by telephone. The only time a gathering of a “quorum” is not a meeting is if it is a purely social gathering – no public business can be considered, or else it becomes a meeting
But I can talk to one other member of a governing body without it being a meeting, can't I?
Yes, as long as the two of you are not a quorum of a three-member governing body (including committees) and the discussion is not part of a sequence of individual conversations, which collectively involve a quorum of a governing body. But be aware that if members of a governing body participate in a series of individual conversations that collectively constitute a quorum of the governing body, those conversations are a meeting.
If we hold an open meeting, do we have to allow the public to address the governing body?
No. The right to attend an open meeting does not include the right to participate in that meeting. However, other statutes may require a public hearing at which the public is allowed to comment on specific subjects.
Remember - a recorded roll call vote is required on all votes that pertain to the merits of a matter before the governing body.
The time in which you are required to respond to a request is generally measured in hours or a few days, rather than several days or weeks.
State law does not have a minimum notice period required for special meetings; however, public notice needs to be provided at the same time that members of the governing body receive notice. (NDCC 44-04-20) Please note that some cities have city ordinances that set minimum notice requirements for special meetings.