Our board wants to hold a summer retreat at a meeting facility outside the boundaries of our district. Is this ok?
Meetings of the board must generally be held within the district boundaries. See ORS 192.630. One exception is when the board is going to meet with another board. Then, the joint meeting must be held within the boundaries of one of the boards involved in the meeting. Meetings may also be held in alternative locations in the event of an actual emergency necessitating immediate action.
If the meeting is for training only, it is not a board meeting and can be held outside of the district boundaries. Be very careful, however: There cannot be any discussion of district business at the training. If there is discussion of or deliberation on district business, the training meeting is no longer a training meeting; it has become a board meeting-one that you are holding illegally.
OSBA is often asked to facilitate board retreats in the summer outside of the district boundaries solely for training sessions. We have seen that it is too easy for board members who convene for training to stray into discussions of district business. Even if your members limit their involvement to the training agenda, your constituents may question your motives and the “true” purpose(s) of your meeting. The court of public opinion will be highly suspicious and district trust levels will decrease as a result.
You will have a more successful session and maintain credibility in your community if your training is during a meeting that conforms to all public meeting laws every time.