If a board member is talking one-on-one with an individual after a public listening session or board meeting and the individual audio tapes the conversation without the board member being aware of it, can the district or board member take action against the person doing the taping?

ORS 165.540(1)(c) states conversations may not be tape recorded unless all the participants are informed the conversation is being recorded BUT there is an exception in subsection 6(1) of the same statue which states the prohibition does not apply to public or semipublic meetings. If a board member is speaking to a member of the public about district business at the end of a public session it can reasonably be considered to be a semipublic meeting. This is a reasonable assumption because a member of the public would probably not be talking to the Board member unless he/she was a member of the Board or wishing to discuss something relevant to business of the school district. Board members should remember whenever they are speaking in public about district business they should consider what they say as if it was already being printed on the front page of the newspaper.

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