PUBLIC OFFICERS LAW
Laws 1909, Chap. 51.
AN ACT in relation to public officers, constituting chapter forty-
seven of the consolidated laws.
Became a law February 17, 1909, with the approval of the
Governor. Passed, three-fifths being present.
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and
Assembly, do enact as follows:
CHAPTER 47 OF THE CONSOLIDATED LAWS
PUBLIC OFFICERS LAW
OPEN MEETINGS LAW
Section 100. Legislative declaration.
101. Short title.
103. Open meetings and executive sessions.
104. Public notice.
105. Conduct of executive sessions.
109. Committee on open government.
110. Construction with other laws.
Sec. 100. Legislative declaration.
It is essential to the maintenance of a democratic society that
the public business be performed in an open and public manner and
that the citizens of this state be fully aware of and able to
observe the performance of public officials and attend and listen
to the deliberations and decisions that go into the making of
public policy. The people must be able to remain informed if they
are to retain control over those who are their public servants.
It is the only climate under which the commonweal will prosper
and enable the governmental process to operate for the benefit of
those who created it.
Sec. 101. Short title.
This article shall be known and may be cited as "Open Meetings
Sec. 102. Definitions.
As used in this article:
1. "Meeting" means the official convening of a public body for
the purpose of conducting public business.
2. "Public body" means any entity, for which a quorum is
required in order to conduct public business and which
consists of two or more members, performing a governmental
function for the state or for an agency or department
thereof, or for a public corporation as defined in section
sixty-six of the general construction law, or committee or
subcommittee or other similar body of such public body.
3. "Executive session" means that portion of a meeting not open
to the general public.
Sec. 103. Open meetings and executive sessions.
(a) Every meeting of a public body shall be open to the general
public, except that an executive session of such body may be
called and business transacted thereat in accordance with
section ninety-five of this article.
(b) Public bodies shall make or cause to be made all reasonable
efforts to ensure that meetings are held in facilities that
permit barrier-free physical access to the physically
handicapped, as defined in subdivision five of section fifty
of the public buildings law.
Sec. 104. Public notice.
1. Public notice of the time and place of a meeting scheduled
at least one week prior thereto shall be given to the news
media and shall be conspicuously posted in one or more
designated public locations at least seventy-two hours
before such meeting.
2. Public notice of the time and place of every other meeting
shall be given, to the extent practicable, to the news media
and shall be conspicuously posted in one or more designated
public locations at a reasonable time prior thereto.
3. The public notice provided for by this section shall not be
construed to require publication as a legal notice.
Sec. 105. Conduct of executive sessions.
1. Upon a majority vote of its total membership, taken in an
open meeting pursuant to a motion identifying the general
area or areas of the subject or subjects to be considered, a
public body may conduct an executive session for the below
enumerated purposes only, provided, however, that no action
by formal vote shall be taken to appropriate public moneys:
a. matters which will imperil the public safety if
b. any matter which may disclose the identity of a law
enforcement agent or informer;
c. information relating to current or future investigation
or prosecution of a criminal offense which would
imperil effective law enforcement if disclosed;
d. discussions regarding proposed, pending or current
e. collective negotiations pursuant to article fourteen of
the civil service law;
f. the medical, financial, credit or employment history of
a particular person or corporation, or matters leading
to the appointment, employment, promotion, demotion,
discipline, suspension, dismissal or removal of a
particular person or corporation;
g. the preparation, grading or administration of
h. the proposed acquisition, sale or lease of real
property or the proposed acquisition of securities, or
sale or exchange of securities held by such public
body, but only when publicity would substantially
affect the value thereof.
2. Attendance at an executive session shall be permitted to any
member of the public body and any other persons authorized
by the public body.
Sec. 106. Minutes.
1. Minutes shall be taken at all open meetings of a public body
which shall consist of a record or summary of all motions,
proposals, resolutions and any other matter formally voted
upon and the vote thereon.
2. Minutes shall be taken at executive sessions of any action
that is taken by formal vote which shall consist of a record
or summary of the final determination of such action, and
the date and vote thereon; provided, however, that such
summary need not include any matter which is not required to
be made public by the freedom of information law as added by
article six of this chapter.
3. Minutes of meetings of all public bodies shall be available
to the public in accordance with the provisions of the
freedom of information law within two weeks from the date of
such meeting except that minutes taken pursuant to
subdivision two hereof shall be available to the public
within one week from the date of the executive session.
Sec. 107. Enforcement.
1. Any aggrieved person shall have standing to enforce the
provisions of this article against a public body by the
commencement of a proceeding pursuant to article seventy-
eight of the civil practice law and rules, and/or an action
for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief. In any such
action or proceeding, the court shall have the power, in its
discretion, upon good cause shown, to declare any action or
part thereof taken in violation of this article void in
whole or in part.
An unintentional failure to fully comply with the notice
provisions required by this article shall not alone be
grounds for invalidating any action taken at a meeting of a
public body. The provisions of this article shall not affect
the validity of the authorization, acquisition, execution or
disposition of a bond issue or notes.
2. In any proceeding brought pursuant to this section, costs
and reasonable attorney fees may be awarded by the court, in
its discretion, to the successful party.
3. The statute of limitations in an article seventy-eight
proceeding with respect to an action taken at executive
session shall commence to run from the date the minutes of
such executive session have been made available to the
Section 108. Exemptions.
Nothing contained in this article shall be construed as extending
the provisions hereof to:
1. judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings, except proceedings
of the public service commission and zoning boards of
2. a. deliberations of political committees, conferences
b. for purposes of this section, the deliberations of
political committees, conferences and caucuses means a
private meeting of members of the senate or assembly of
the state of New York, or of the legislative body of a
county, city, town or village, who are members or
adherents of the same political party, without regard
to (i) the subject matter under discussion, including
discussions of public business, (ii) the majority or
minority status of such political committees,
conferences and caucuses or (iii) whether such
political committees, conferences and caucuses invite
staff or guests to participate in their deliberations;
3. any matter made confidential by federal or state law.
Section 109. Committee on open government.
The committee on open government, created by paragraph (a) of
subdivision one of section eighty-nine of this chapter, shall
issue advisory opinions from time to time as, in its discretion,
may be required to inform public bodies and persons of the
interpretations of the provisions of the open meetings law.
Sec. 110. Construction with other laws.
1. Any provision of a charter, administrative code, local law,
ordinance, or rule or regulation affecting a public body
which is more restrictive with respect to public access than
this article shall be deemed superseded hereby to the extent
that such provision is more restrictive than this article.
2. Any provision of general, special or local law or charter,
administrative code, ordinance, or rule or regulation less
restrictive with respect to public access than this article
shall not be deemed superseded hereby.
3. Notwithstanding any provision of this article to the
contrary, a public body may adopt provisions less
restrictive with respect to public access than this article.
Sec. 111. Severability.
If any provision of this article or the application thereof to
any person or circumstances is adjudged invalid by a court of
competent jurisdiction, such judgment shall not affect or impair
the validity of the other provisions of the article or the
application thereof to other persons and circumstances.