Featured Question and Answer by Joe Eisner:

Q: Is it required that the public be afforded an opportunity to address a board during a board meeting?

A: No. Education Law s260-a mandates only that board meetings of association, public library and library systems be open to the public as required by Public Officers Law s103(a). Neither public participation, nor the opportunity for the public to debate is required- only that the proceedings be open to observation to the public.

However, by passage of a formal resolution, a majority of a board as a matter of policy may decide to provide an opportunity for the public to address the board at a particular time in the course of its meetings, such as the beginning of a public meeting, and/or at the conclusion of the meeting when the board has concluded deliberations. The policy may place a limit on the amount of time allotted to each person who desires to avail themselves of the opportunity, but it may not limit the content of comments which a person chooses to make. If the policy prescribes a specific time limit for remarks, care must be taken that no person is allowed more time than any other person.

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