Water in Waukesha

I’m not as knowledgeable about Open Meetings law as I am about Open Records, but this post at Water Blogged in Waukesha caught my eye. (HT: The Political Environment)

Author Jim Bouman is dedicated to environmental issues, and (based on his knowledge of their scheduling vagaries) is a regular attendee of the meetings held by the Waukesha Water Utility Commission. As a concerned member of the community, he has every right to be a party to the decision making processes surrounding issues that he cares about, right? Wrong. Despite his request that the meeting be held fully in the open, the Commission voted 4/0 (with one member absent) to enter closed session.

I was hoping to pick apart the statute that the Commission cited for going into closed session (Sec 19.85 (1) (e) & (g)), which is tough to do without knowing what was discussed therein… But, since entering closed session was delayed while the Commission waited for an attorney, and the legal advice exemption was the one cited, I suppose that it was valid. The sticker in the statute’s language, though, is this (emphasis mine):

Any meeting of a governmental body, upon motion duly made and carried, may be convened in closed session

Nothing requires that discussion be held in private (not even discussion with an attorney), and considering that a member of the public requested full access to all conversation, what is the motivation of the commission to go into closed session? What is it they don’t want the community to hear?

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