21.5  Closed session.

1.  A governmental body may hold a closed session only by affirmative public vote of either two-thirds of the members of the body or all of the members present at the meeting. A governmental body may hold a closed session only to the extent a closed session is necessary for any of the following reasons:

a.  To review or discuss records which are required or authorized by state or federal law to be kept confidential or to be kept confidential as a condition for that governmental body's possession or continued receipt of federal funds.

b.  To discuss application for letters patent.

c.  To discuss strategy with counsel in matters that are presently in litigation or where litigation is imminent where its disclosure would be likely to prejudice or disadvantage the position of the governmental body in that litigation.

d.  To discuss the contents of a licensing examination or whether to initiate licensee disciplinary investigations or proceedings if the governmental body is a licensing or examining board.

e.  To discuss whether to conduct a hearing or to conduct hearings to suspend or expel a student, unless an open session is requested by the student or a parent or guardian of the student if the student is a minor.

f.  To discuss the decision to be rendered in a contested case conducted according to the provisions of chapter 17A.

g.  To avoid disclosure of specific law enforcement matters, such as current or proposed investigations, inspection or auditing techniques or schedules, which if disclosed would enable law violators to avoid detection.

h.  To avoid disclosure of specific law enforcement matters, such as allowable tolerances or criteria for the selection, prosecution or settlement of cases, which if disclosed would facilitate disregard of requirements imposed by law.

i.  To evaluate the professional competency of an individual whose appointment, hiring, performance or discharge is being considered when necessary to prevent needless and irreparable injury to that individual's reputation and that individual requests a closed session.

j.  To discuss the purchase of particular real estate only where premature disclosure could be reasonably expected to increase the price the governmental body would have to pay for that property. The minutes and the tape recording of a session closed under this paragraph shall be available for public examination when the transaction discussed is completed.

2.  The vote of each member on the question of holding the closed session and the reason for holding the closed session by reference to a specific exemption under this section shall be announced publicly at the open session and entered in the minutes. A governmental body shall not discuss any business during a closed session which does not directly relate to the specific reason announced as justification for the closed session.

3.  Final action by any governmental body on any matter shall be taken in an open session unless some other provision of the Code expressly permits such actions to be taken in closed session.

4.  A governmental body shall keep detailed minutes of all discussion, persons present, and action occurring at a closed session, and shall also tape record all of the closed session. The detailed minutes and tape recording of a closed session shall be sealed and shall not be public records open to public inspection. However, upon order of the court in an action to enforce this chapter, the detailed minutes and tape recording shall be unsealed and examined by the court in camera. The court shall then determine what part, if any, of the minutes should be disclosed to the party seeking enforcement of this chapter for use in that enforcement proceeding. In determining whether any portion of the minutes or recording shall be disclosed to such a party for this purpose, the court shall weigh the prejudicial effects to the public interest of the disclosure of any portion of the minutes or recording in question, against its probative value as evidence in an enforcement proceeding. After such a determination, the court may permit inspection and use of all or portions of the detailed minutes and tape recording by the party seeking enforcement of this chapter. A governmental body shall keep the detailed minutes and tape recording of any closed session for a period of at least one year from the date of that meeting.

5.  Nothing in this section requires a governmental body to hold a closed session to discuss or act upon any matter.

Section History: Early form

  [C71, 73, 75, 77, § 28A.3; C79, 81, § 28A.5]

Section History: Recent form

  C85, § 21.5

Internal References

  Referred to in § 21.3, 21.8, 97B.8, 203.11B, 203D.4, 279.24, 388.9

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