Draft Council Meeting Minutes

There have been many questions about draft meeting minutes. Draft meeting minutes are not a public record according to the Pennsylvania Right to Know Law Section 708(A) (see below). Once meeting minutes are approved by majority vote the minutes become public record. Unless meeting minutes fall under Governor Wolf’s Act 15 (see below), please note the Bold type. That is the only time draft minutes will be posted before a vote is taken to approve meeting minutes.

Approved previous month’s meeting minutes will be posted the day after approval on this website. Approved meeting minutes can be discussed at the next month’s Council Meeting and corrections if needed can be approved by Council then.

ACT 15 – signed by Governor Wolf

Local Government Meetings.

 

Section 5741 allows a borough council, authority, planning commission, zoning hearing board or other entity of the municipality to meet remotely by telecommunications device. A physical quorum is not necessary, however, a quorum must be established on the telecommunications device to conduct business. Telecommunication device is defined as any device which permits, at a minimum, audio communications between individuals.

Notice must be given of public meetings held under this section. Public notice includes either on the borough’s website or in the newspaper of general circulation or both. If you have a website you should post the meeting notice on your website and a newspaper of general circulation. If you do not have a website, notice must be placed in a newspaper of general circulation. The notice must include the meeting date, time, technology to be used, and how the public may participate. To the extent possible, the borough council, planning commission or zoning hearing board must allow for public participation through the telecommunications device or written comments.

Written comments may be submitted to the physical address of the local government or a designated e-mail address. Draft minutes from any meeting held under this section without advanced notice to the public to address issues related to the COVID-19 emergency must be posted within 20 days of the meeting or before the next regularly scheduled meeting, whichever is earlier. Posted seems to imply on a local government website. If you do not have a website, we suggest posting them in the borough hall or office to comply with this section.

 

 

Pennsylvania’s New Right to Know Law

Section 708. Exceptions for public records

(10) (i) A record that reflects:

(A) The internal, predecisional deliberations of an agency, its members, employees or officials or predecisional deliberations between agency members, employees or officials and members, employees or officials of another agency, including predecisional deliberations relating to a budget recommendation, legislative proposal, legislative amendment, contemplated or proposed policy or course of action or any research, memos or other documents used in the predecisional deliberations.

(B) The strategy to be used to develop or achieve the successful adoption of a budget, legislative proposal or regulation.

(ii) Subparagraph (i)(A) shall apply to agencies subject to 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7 (relating to open meetings) in a manner consistent with 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7. A record which is not otherwise exempt from access under this act and which is presented to a quorum for deliberation in accordance with 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7 shall be a public record.

(iii) This paragraph shall not apply to a written or Internet application or other document that has been submitted to request Commonwealth funds.

(iv) This paragraph shall not apply to the results of public opinion surveys, polls, focus groups, marketing research or similar effort designed to measure public opinion.

(21) (i) Draft minutes of any meeting of an agency until the next regularly scheduled meeting of the agency.
(ii) Minutes of an executive session and any record of discussions held in executive session.

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