Failure to Comply with Sunshine Act Will Lead to Plymouth Council Having to Postpone Monthly Meeting
PLYMOUTH MEETING, PA - Pennsylvania law requires all public agencies to post the agenda for any meeting which will allow a governing body to take "official action" at least 24 hours in advance of said meeting. Unfortunately, Plymouth Township was unable to post the agenda for Monday's meeting for some unknown reason in time to comply with this mandate so they will have to postpone tonight's meeting scheduled for 7pm.
According to the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records, "Senate Bill 554 amended the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act to include the requirement that agencies post the agenda for all public meetings at least 24 hours in advance. This change took effect August 29, 2021 and applies to all agencies covered by the Act.
The agenda requirement applies to all regular and Special public meetings, but does not include work sessions, conferences and Executive sessions where official action is not permitted.
The agenda should include all issues to be deliberated on and any planned official action, such as votes.
If the agency has a website or other social media platform that is publicly accessible, the agenda must be posted there. Postings are also required at the agency’s offices, at the meeting site; and copies of the agenda must be available for the public at the meeting itself.
An agency can change the agenda within the 24-hour threshold provided the changes are de minimus, involve no expenditure of funds, and don’t entail entering into a contract.
The agency can also add to the agenda at the meeting itself by majority vote. The reason for the change must be announced prior to any official action, including a vote, the amended agenda must be posted within 24 hours after the meeting, and the meeting minutes must reflect that the change was made."
I reached out to Chris Manero and Karen Bramblett about the lack of the agenda being posted and received the following responses.
Karen Bramblett, Council at-large stated, "Because of the inadvertent failure to post the agenda 24 hours in advance, we will meet as scheduled, and recess until a date certain, in order to comply with the statute. That date certain will be determined today, after availability of all participants is ascertained."
Council President Chris Manero added, "I am looking into this and it will be addressed."
The good news is that the meeting could take place as early as Tuesday if all participants are available now that public access has been granted to the agenda.
To learn more about the Sunshine Act visit the OOR website here.
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