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1. Interviews for public employment

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  • Alabama

    Interviews for public employment are not specifically discussed in the Alabama Open Meetings Act. Such a meeting would be presumptively open unless it fell within one of the exceptions to the Act. Ala. Code § 36-25A-1 et seq.

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  • Alaska

    There is no special provision in the Open Meetings Act requiring public access to interviews for public employment, and such interviews would rarely come within the coverage of the act. If a public body were conducting a meeting, and at this gathering that would otherwise constitute a meeting under the Open Meetings Act, decided to interview a prospective hiree, that meeting would presumably be open like any other meeting. So, for example, if a city council or assembly held a series of work sessions to individually interview applicants for a city manager's position, these meetings would presumably be public. This general rule would be subject to the apparent exceptions that would allow the discussion of comparative qualifications and attributes of job applicants in executive session without allowing any one or more of the applicants the opportunity to require that the discussion be open, and any other discussion conducted in a duly convened executive session to discuss "subjects that tend to prejudice the reputation and character of any person," to the extent that the person has been given the requisite notice and opportunity to require that the prejudicial discussion be conducted publicly. It should be noted that in the ordinary case interviews for public employment are conducted by management employees, or by representatives of a public body, rather than by the public body itself or even a sufficient number to trigger the notice requirements associated with a "meeting" of the body.

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  • Arizona

    (This section is blank. See the point above.)

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  • Arkansas

    The FOIA exempts meetings at which the “employment [or] appointment . . . of any public officer or employee” is considered. Ark. Code Ann. § 25-19-106(c)(1). Thus, a body may meet in executive session to screen and review applications for a position, Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. Nos. 94-339, 93-403. However, a candidate may be interviewed in a closed meeting only if he or she is being considered for “the top administrative position in the public agency, department, or office involved.” Ark. Code Ann. § 25-19-106(c)(2)(B). Persons applying for lesser jobs apparently cannot be interviewed by the governing body in a closed session.

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  • California

    Closed under both Acts. A body may hold a closed session to consider the appointment or employment of a public employee, including interviews. Cal. Gov't Code §§ 11126(a) (Bagley-Keene Act); 54957(b)(1) (Brown Act). This includes a closed session to discuss an employee’s employment upon return from a leave of absence.  Travis v. Board of Trustees of the California State Univ., 161 Cal. App. 4th 335, 347, 73 Cal. Rptr. 3d 854 (2008). Furthermore, under the Brown Act, a legislative body may hold a closed session to select nominees for an appointed position. Gillespie v. San Francisco Public Library Comm'n, 67 Cal. App. 4th 1165, 1169, 79 Cal. Rptr. 2d 649 (1998).

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  • Colorado

    Meetings of a state public body to consider appointment or employment of public officials or employees or the dismissal, discipline, promotion, demotion, compensation of, or charges or complaints against public officials or employees are open unless the public applicant, official, or employee requests an executive session. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-6-402(3)(b). However, meetings of local public bodies to consider similar matters with respect to public employees (not public officials) are closed unless the subject of the executive session requests that it be conducted as an open meeting. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-6-402(4)(f).

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  • Connecticut

    A "meeting" does not include any meeting of a personnel search committee for executive level employment candidates; therefore, these meetings are excluded from FOIA. Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-200(2).

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  • Delaware

    Meetings regarding interviews for public employment are closed. 29 Del. C. § 10004(b)(1), (9).

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  • District of Columbia

    Not specifically addressed.

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  • Georgia

    The Act only exempts interviews of applicants for the position of the executive head of an agency. O.C.G.A. § 50-14-3(b)(2).

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  • Hawaii

    Employment interviews by government entities may be closed "where consideration of matters affecting privacy will be involved, provided that if the individual concerned requests an open meeting, an open meeting shall be held . . . ." Haw. Rev. Stat. § 92-5(a)(2).

    At its meeting of October 16, 1981, the University of Hawaii Board of Regents created a new position of University of Hawaii Vice-President and appointed a person to fill the position. The Sunshine Law Coalition complained that this was done without providing the notice required under the Sunshine Law. The attorney general held that this appointment would not “affect a significant number of persons” and was primarily a matter of "internal management." Further, the attorney general held that since personnel matters can be discussed in closed executive sessions, the placement of this matter on the agenda only for a final vote did not violate the Sunshine Law. Att'y Gen. Letter (Mar. 16, 1982).

    The Police Commission may close its meetings to interview applicants for the position of Chief of Police and to deliberate towards a decision. However, the actual official selection of the new police chief must be made at a public, open meeting. Honolulu Corp. Counsel Memo. Of Law No. M83-29 (Aug. 6, 1983).

    The Kauai County Council may not meet in executive session to interview individuals who are appointed by the Mayor to county boards and commissions. The interviews did not qualify for the exemption to the Sunshine Law allowing a board to meet in executive session in order to “deliberate or make a decision upon a matter that requires the consideration of information that must be kept confidential pursuant to a state or federal law” because neither UIPA and Kauai County Charter provisions that exempt applications and nominations for a governmental position from disclosure are “state laws” for purposes of the exemption. Moreover, because an individual nominated to a board or commission will not serve for pay or compensation, a nominee cannot be considered a “hire” for purposes of invoking the exemption in Haw. Rev. Stat. § 92-5(a)(2). OIP Op. Ltr. 05-04 (Jan. 21, 2005).

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  • Idaho

    Executive sessions may be held to consider hiring a public officer, employee, staff member or individual agent, wherein the respective qualities of individuals are to be evaluated in order to fill a particular vacancy or need. Idaho Code § 74-206(1)(a). However, this paragraph does not apply to filling a vacancy in an elective office or deliberations about staffing needs in general.  Id.

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  • Indiana

    Interviews of public employees may be conducted in executive session. Ind. Code § 5-14-1.5-6.1(b)(5). However, interviews of prospective appointees for positions as public officials must be conducted in public, though preliminary considerations can be closed. Ind. Code § 5-14-1.5-6.1(b)(10). See Common Council of City of Peru v. Peru Daily Tribune, 440 N.E.2d 726, 733 (Ind. Ct. App. 1982) (holding that proposed executive sessions threatened violation of the Open Door Law and distinguishing between public employees and public officials).

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  • Iowa

    Dependent upon whether closed session necessary to prevent needless and irreparable injury to reputation and individual request for closed session. Iowa Code § 21.5(1)(i). See Tel. Herald, Inc. v. City of Dubuque, 297 N.W.2d 529, 533–34 (Iowa 1980) (holding interviews with applicants for position of city manager, conducted by one or two city council members on one-to-one basis, did not constitute meetings subject to open meetings law, especially as council members were, at all times, acting reasonably on their corporation counsel's advice that such actions were not subject to open meetings law).

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  • Kansas

    These may be closed to the public. K.S.A. 75-4319(b)(1).

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  • Kentucky

    May be closed. See Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.810(1)(f).

    A public agency must meet in an open session to discuss the qualifications of and/or negotiation strategy related to the agency's hiring of contractors. 05-OMD-148.

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  • Louisiana

    Generally not exempt. May be closed only if discussing the character, professional competence or physical or mental health of the person. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 42:17(A)(1). It is not proper to close a meeting to make a selection or recommendation concerning hiring. Op. Att'y Gen. 94-14.

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  • Maine

    To the extent that an interview discussion “could reasonably be expected to cause damage to the individual’s reputation” or violate a right to privacy it may be held in executive session.  Otherwise, interviews with public bodies must be public. 1 M.R.S.A. § 405(6)(A).

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  • Maryland

    Meetings that concern the appointment, employment, assignment, promotion, discipline, demotion, compensation, removal, resignation, or performance evaluation of appointees, employees or officials over whom the entity has jurisdiction or any other personnel matter affecting one or more specific individuals may be closed. § 3-305(b)(1).

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  • Massachusetts

    Screening of applicants by a screening committee or a subcommittee of the appointing body may be and normally is closed. G.L. c. 39, § 23 B(8). Gerstein v. Superintendent Search Screening Committee, 405 Mass. 465, 471-2, 541 N.E.2d 984, 987-8 (1989). Present position of most municipalities is that only "finalists" need be identified or interviewed publicly.

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  • Michigan

    Interviews for public employment are to be open, although meeting to review the specific contents of an application for employment may be closed. See also Booth Newspapers Inc. v. University of Michigan Board of Regents, supra, 481 N.W.2d at 783 (public body may meet to review specific content of applications for employment if candidate requests confidentiality but all interviews must be conducted at open meeting).

    Exception: Searches and interviews for presidents of certain educational institutions, as set forth in Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 15.268(j). But see Federated Publications v. Board of Trustees of Michigan State University, supra.

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  • Montana

    Employment evaluations may be closed.. Missoulian v. Board of Regents, 207 Mont. 513, 675 P.2d 962 (1984), Montana Human Rights Division v. City of Billings, 199 Mont. 434, 649 P.2d 1283 (1982).

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  • Nebraska

    No specific exemption. However, a closed session is allowed generally by a majority vote of members of public body, "if a closed session is clearly necessary for the protection of the public interest or for the prevention of needless injury to the reputation of an individual and if such individual has not requested a public meeting." Neb. Rev. Stat. §84-1410(1). The attorney general has opined that interviews by public bodies of applicants for public employment must take place in open session. Op. Att'y Gen. No. 94035 (5-11-94).

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  • Nevada

    Under NRS 241.030(4)(e), closed sessions may not be held "for the discussion of the appointment of any person to public office or as a member of a public body." Other interviews may be closed.

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  • New Hampshire

    Under RSA 91-A:3,II(b), the “hiring of any person as a public employee” may be done in a nonpublic meeting, which most likely include interviewing the person.

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  • New Jersey

    All discussions regarding the employment or appointment of a public employee, including interviews, and all discussions regarding evaluation, promotion, disciplining or termination of a public employee may be held in closed session unless the employee requests a public meeting in writing. N.J.S.A. 10:4-12b(8). Even where a public employee is guaranteed by state statute a public hearing on termination, the public body may go into closed session to deliberate. See N.J.S.A. 10:4-12b(9) and Della Serra v. Mountainside, 196 N.J. Super. 6, 481 A.2d 547 (App. Div. 1984). But where the public body is appointing a person to fill the unexpired term of an elected official, closure is not permissible. Gannett v. Board of Education of Manville, 201 N.J. Super. 65, 492 A.2d 703 (Law Div. 1984).  However, anytime a public body intends to conduct a closed meeting involving the employment, appointment, termination of employment, terms and conditions of employment, evaluation of the performance of, promotion or disciplining of any specific public officer or employee, it must provide written notice in advance to the affected employee.  Rice, 155 N.J. Super. 64; Kean Fed’n of Teachers, 233 N.J. at 586.

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  • New Mexico

    May be closed pursuant to NMSA 1978 § 10-15-1(H)(2).  See Treloar v. County of Chaves, 2001-NMCA-74, ¶ 8, 32 P.3d 803

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  • North Carolina

    Inasmuch as G.S. § 143-318.11(a)(6) permits a public body to meet in closed session to consider such personal attributes as the qualifications, character, and fitness of a prospective public officer or employee, it seems clear that a face-to-face interview for the purpose of assessing these and similar characteristics may take place in a properly called closed session.

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  • Ohio

    The statute does not explicitly address interviews, but since it does permit executive sessions "to consider" the "appointment" or "employment" of a public employee or official, public bodies can make a strong argument that their interviews of candidates for public employment can be conducted in closed session. Ohio Rev. Code § 121.22(G)(1). Conversely, a purpose of the executive sessions is to discuss the relative merits of candidates candidly without the inhibiting presence of that or other candidates. Closing the interview process does not seem to foster that purpose.

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  • Oklahoma

    Governing bodies may go into executive session to discuss hiring of public officers or employees. 25 O.S. § 307 .B.1. A public body may not go into executive session to discuss awarding a contract for professional services unless the recipient will be an independent contractor, rather than a public officer or employee of the public body. 2005 OK AG 29.

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  • Oregon

    An executive session may be held.

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  • Pennsylvania

    Interviews are subject to being held during an executive session.  See Morn. Call, Inc. v. Bd. of Sch. Dirs. of S. Lehigh Sch. Dist., 642 A.2d 619, 621 (Pa. Cmmw. 1994).

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  • Rhode Island

    Presumably not covered because a quorum is likely not present.  Otherwise closed pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-46-5(a)(1).

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  • South Carolina

    The interview could be held in a session closed to the public. S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-70(a)(1).

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  • South Dakota

    Presumably closed. SDCL §1-25-2(1).

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  • Tennessee

    If conducted by a governing body, it must be open.

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  • Texas

    Not specifically addressed.

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  • Utah

    The interviews themselves appear to be subject to the Open Meetings Act, because it exempts only the “discussion” of an individual’s professional competence. See Utah Code § 52-4-205(1)(a).

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  • Vermont

    Closed, however, “the public body shall make a final decision to hire or appoint a public officer or employee in an open meeting and shall explain the reasons for its final decision during the open meeting.”  1 V.S.A. § 313(a)(3).

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  • Virginia

    Interviews of prospective candidates for employment may be closed.  Va. Code Ann. § 2.2-3711.A.1.  However, special 15-day notice provisions are imposed for a closed meeting to interview candidates for the position of chief administrative officer.  Va. Code Ann. § 2.2-3712.B.

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  • West Virginia

    (This section is blank. See the point above.)

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  • Wyoming

    A governing body of an agency may hold closed executive sessions when considering charges against or the employment of a public officer or employee, or their right to employment or to practice their profession. The public employee or officer may request that the meeting be open to the public. Wyo. Stat. § 16-4-405(a)(ii) (1977, Rev. 1982).

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