Can a member of a governmental body, as a member of the public,
bring up items not specifically designated on the agenda under the
period of noticed public comment allowed by the Open Meetings law?
No. Wisconsin Statute sec. 19.84(2) provides a limited exception to
the general notice requirements of the Open Meetings law which allows
members of the public to bring up items not specifically on the agenda
during a period of noticed public comment. It is intended to allow local
governments to be responsive to their constituents and to allow the
governing body to receive information from members of the public.
However, it was not intended to allow members of governmental bodies to
bring up items for discussion without placing the items on the agenda
and giving notice to the public. Given that members of governmental
bodies have ready access to agendas of the body, use by members of the
19.82(4) exception to discuss unnoticed matters will likely be seen as
an impermissible attempt to circumvent the notice requirements of the
Open Meetings law.