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Rumor: The City of Roswell is not using Closure meetings appropriately.

Fact: By law, these closed door sessions are intended for Mayor and City Council, along with the City Attorney and City Administrator, to discuss matters related to real estate, personnel, and litigation issues only. Closure may only be called at a public meeting of the body.

Because of the sensitivities around some of these discussions, all attendees are bound to keep the deliberations and discussions confidential unless required by law to disclose usually at an open meeting of City Council. Topics that may be discussed in Closure include appointments to boards and commissions (when the qualifications of private citizens are discussed), personnel, litigation matters, or matters relating to the purchasing, selling, or leasing of real estate (which may involve contracts or negotiations when the release of sensitive information could impact terms negatively).

Agenda items considered in Closure may be moved out of Closure by a majority vote to a Regular City Council meeting. As in a Regular City Council meeting, the mayor votes only in a tie. Most business discussed in Closure is not finalized without a public City Council vote.

When a real-estate item has been resolved—whether that means it was approved or denied during a public meeting or no longer is being considered—the minutes from Closure become public record.

Reference: Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) § 50-14-3b, "Excluded Proceedings."
Excerpt: § 50-14-3. Excluded proceedings
  1. Subject to compliance with the other provisions of this chapter, executive sessions shall be permitted for:
    1. Meetings when any agency is discussing or voting to:
      1. Authorize the settlement of any matter which may be properly discussed in executive session in accordance with paragraph (1) of Code Section 50-14-2;
      2. Authorize negotiations to purchase, dispose of, or lease property;
      3. Authorize the ordering of an appraisal related to the acquisition or disposal of real estate;
      4. Enter into a contract to purchase, dispose of, or lease property subject to approval in a subsequent public vote; or
      5. Enter into an option to purchase, dispose of, or lease real estate subject to approval in subsequent public vote.
      No vote in executive session to acquire, dispose of, or lease real estate, or to settle litigation, claims, or administrative proceedings, shall be binding on an agency until a subsequent vote is taken in an open meeting where the identity of the property and the terms of the acquisition, disposal, or lease are disclosed before the vote or where the parties and principal settlement terms are disclosed before the vote;
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