Sudden change: Board to start meeting in private session
Likely to discuss lawsuits for open meetings/public records violations
The OneOhio Recovery Foundation board of directors will go into Executive Session (private session) at the start of its noon meeting today. The board did not say why it was going into private session, but the likely reason is to discuss the two lawsuits filed by Harm Reduction Ohio on Monday claiming the foundation was violating Ohio open meetings and public records requirements.
The board issued a revised agenda at 4:09 p.m. Thursday.
The meeting can be attended in person — if the board permits — at the headquarters of the County Commissioners Association of Ohio at 209 East State Street in Columbus. Harm Reduction Ohio encourages people from the impacted population to attend, if possible.
The meeting also can be watched online at:
OneOhio Recovery Foundation – Monthly Board Meeting
Webinar number: 2318 862 1182
Webinar password: vPgr9iwgU24 (87479494 from phones)
To join by phone:
1-650-479-3208 Call-in toll number (US/Canada)
Access code: 231 886 21182
Harm Reduction Ohio wrote this last night to explain what might happen:
In late breaking irony, the foundation board just released a revised agenda in which the first item to be considered is whether to go into Executive Session (i.e., a private meeting that excludes the public).
This is a fascinating development because the executive session likely is to discuss the Sunshine law lawsuits filed by Harm Reduction Ohio against the board.
The irony committee is much needed for this development. Under the Ohio Open Meetings Act, a public body must state the reason it is going into secret “Executive Session.” For example, a public body would vote to go into Executive Session for discussions “with an attorney for the public body concerning disputes involving the public body that are the subject of pending or imminent court action. (Direct quote: Open Meetings Act, Ohio Revised Code 121(G)(3))
However, to give a legal reason for going into Executive Session implicitly concedes the obvious: the board is covered by the Ohio Open Meetings Act.
The OneOhio foundation’s position is that it can exclude the public from any meeting, at any time, for any reason. So if the foundation declines to give a reason for the Executive Session, the board is essentially doubling down on its extraordinary claim that it can control a half billion dollars in government money without the public having a right to know anything.
What may happen
It’s impossible to say with certainty what will happen at the meeting. The foundation has a 29-member board and previous meetings have sometimes been chaotic because of technical problems and the large number of board members.,
Our guess is the foundation board will go into private session for 20 or 30 minutes, then return to conduct the rest of the meeting. So the meeting video may start normally, then go blank while the board is in Executive Session, then return to normal.
But who knows? The foundation board has been a pretty wacky enterprise, even by government standards.
What happens is important, though, because it foundation will control more than a half billion dollars in opioid settlement money over the next 18 years. Based on the track the foundation is on now, the money will be spent inefficiently and politically. In theory, though, the money is supposed to be controlled by people who know what they’re doing. We’re optimistic that’s how things will turn out: $1 billion is a terrible thing to waste.