[HISTORY: Adopted by the Suffolk County Legislature as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable. Uncodified sections of local laws amending these provisions are included at the end of this chapter.]
[Adopted 4-27-2010 by L.L. No. 21-2010 (Ch. 127, Art. I, of the 1985 Code)]
This Legislature hereby finds and determines that the County of Suffolk periodically establishes commissions, committees, task forces and panels to study issues that are important to County residents.
This Legislature finds that these commissions, committees, task forces and panels are typically charged with the responsibility of gathering and analyzing information, seeking and obtaining public input and offering recommendations for further action by the County Executive and/or the County Legislature.
This Legislature determines that, while most of these entities are advisory in nature, the recommendations they make often guide the eventual development and implementation of policies that impact the public.
This Legislature further finds that New York State's Open Meetings Law requires public bodies to conduct meetings that are adequately noticed and open to members of the public. However, the state law has been interpreted by the courts to exclude advisory bodies from open meeting requirements.
Editor's Note: See Art. 7 of the Public Officers Law.
This Legislature finds and determines that some County advisory bodies are, as a matter of general practice, conducting meetings that are not advertised and not open to the public. For example, Resolution No. 1260-2009 created a task force to review the operations of the County's health center network and determine if Suffolk County would benefit from federally qualified health center (FQHC) status. This task force is not posting notices of its meetings, and the meetings are closed to the public.
This Legislature finds that the County's advisory bodies should adhere to open meeting principles because they often play an important role in making public policy.
This Legislature also determines that open meetings encourage citizen participation and foster transparency, important considerations at a time when trust in public institutions is at an all-time low.
Therefore, the purpose of this article is to require that all advisory bodies established by the County of Suffolk comply with open meeting requirements.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ADVISORY BODY
- Any commission, committee, task force, panel or other entity created by the County of Suffolk through enactment of a resolution or by executive order which is authorized and empowered to act in an advisory capacity and/or to make advisory recommendations to the County Executive, the Suffolk County Legislature or any other department, agency or officer of Suffolk County government.
This article shall apply to the meetings of advisory bodies occurring on or after the effective date of this article.