Open Meeting Law FAQ 12

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.