Open Meetings Act
The City Council of the City of Gainesville is committed to its meetings being open to the public. The Texas Open Meetings Act (Texas Government Codes Annotated Chapter 551) provides that meetings of governmental bodies must be open to the public, except for authorized executive sessions, and that notice of the time, place, and subject matter of meetings must be posted at least 72 hours in advance, except in authorized cases of emergency. Notice of meetings of the Gainesville City Council and all City Boards and Commissions are posted on the official City of Gainesville bulletin board outside the entrance to the City Hall building at 200 South Rusk Street, Gainesville, Texas, which is accessible to the public 24 hours each day.
Executive sessions of the City Council may be held for the purpose of consulting with the City Attorney; deliberations regarding real property, deliberations regarding gifts or donations; personnel matters; deliberations about security devices; and deliberations regarding economic development. All final actions about a matter discussed in an executive session must be made in an open meeting. The law requires minutes of all open meetings be taken and made available to the public upon request in accordance with the Texas Public Information Act (Tex. Govt. Code Ann. Ch. 552). A certified agenda must be kept of all executive sessions, but is not available to the public except by a court order.
The Open Meetings Act provides access to governmental meetings in order to provide a means for the public to keep informed, but it does not entitle the public to choose items to be on the agenda or to discuss any items on the agenda. The Gainesville City Council permits public discussion and retains the right to limit or terminate any discussion and limit the number, frequency, and length of presentations before it as it may deem necessary. Deliberation of non-agenda items may not take place except to calendar them for future discussion.