Can we convene executive session to discuss renewal of staff and administrators?

If the board is negotiating individual contracts with the administrative staff then those negotiations must be held in public session. Labor negotiations with the classified and certified staff are held in public unless both sides decide to hold them in executive session (see ORS 192.660(3)) under ORS 192.660(2)(d).

If board members want to discuss an administrator or staff member with the superintendent and that discussion may involve non-renewal then it may be held in executive session under 192.660(2)(b) discipline/dismissal AND the board MUST notify that administrator or staff member of the discussion and the administrator or staff member has the right to require the discussion be held in public.

For almost all situations where the board is discussing an employee in executive session the only way to do so is under 192.660(2)(b), discipline/dismissal/complaints, and the employee must be notified of the discussion, and may require the meeting be held in public if they wish.

If there is no issue of discipline/dismissal or complaints against the employee then the board has no reason to be discussing the employee at all. The superintendent recommends the renewal or non-renewal of staff members and that recommendation is voted on by the board in public. Oregon does not allow executive session for general 'personnel' discussions.

This is a question many boards raise at this time of year just before the statutory March 15th deadline for notification of non-renewal. The boards would like to discuss individual members of the staff 'in general' in executive session without the person there and without notifying the employee. For most situations this cannot be done legally. Some boards claim the 'exempt public records' exemption 192.660(2)(f) and others will claim 192.660(2)(h) if they have their attorney present. There may be some very narrow special situations where one of these two may apply, check with your attorney if you think your situation might be one of those.

For more information, see: Renewal of Contracts

*This Ask Betsy was originally posted 3/11/08*

For more information on this question, Ask OSBA.