Resource Library

Minnesota Open Meeting Law: Who Can Attend a Closed Meeting?

Close up of elected official speaking into microphone during a meetingDate: December 2019

There is nothing in the Minnesota Open Meeting Law (Minnesota Statutes Chapter 13D) that specifically addresses who may remain in the board room for a closed meeting.

MCIT recommends that once the vote to close the meeting has been taken and the meeting is officially closed, the public and any employees whose job duties do not reasonably require their presence at the closed meeting should leave the meeting room. This is consistent with the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, which provides that private data is only accessible to those public officials and employees whose work assignments reasonably require access to the data. (Minn. R. 1205.400, subp. 2)

For example, when closing the meeting for a performance evaluation or for preliminary consideration of allegations or charges of misconduct against an individual subject to the board’s authority, staff whose job duties otherwise do not give them access to the personnel data being discussed arguably should not be present for the closed meeting. (More information about closing meetings under these exceptions can be found in the resource Minnesota Open Meeting Law.)

The decision of whether an employee’s job duties reasonably require him or her to access private data is made by the county’s responsible authority, frequently in consultation with legal counsel. These decisions are often made on a case-by-case basis.

As always, MCIT recommends that members contact their legal counsel for advice regarding specific situations.

The information contained in this document is intended for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or coverage advice on any specific matter.