Executive Session – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Meeting Types Glossary

What is an Executive Session?

An Executive Session is a private meeting held by a governing body, such as a board of directors, city council, or committee, where only members of the body are allowed to attend. These sessions are closed to the public and are typically used to discuss sensitive or confidential matters.

When is an Executive Session called?

Executive Sessions are called when there is a need to discuss certain matters that require privacy and confidentiality. These matters may include legal issues, personnel matters, negotiations, or other sensitive topics that cannot be discussed in a public setting. The decision to hold an Executive Session is usually made by a majority vote of the governing body.

Who participates in an Executive Session?

Only members of the governing body are allowed to participate in an Executive Session. This typically includes elected officials, board members, or committee members. In some cases, certain staff members or legal counsel may also be invited to attend to provide information or advice on the matters being discussed.

What is the purpose of an Executive Session?

The purpose of an Executive Session is to allow the governing body to have a candid and confidential discussion on sensitive matters without the presence of the public or media. This allows for more open and honest communication among members and ensures that sensitive information is not disclosed prematurely.

How is confidentiality maintained in an Executive Session?

Confidentiality is a key aspect of an Executive Session, and strict measures are taken to ensure that discussions remain private. Participants are usually required to sign confidentiality agreements, and any documents or materials related to the session are kept secure and not disclosed to the public. Violating confidentiality rules can result in serious consequences, including legal action or removal from the governing body.

What are the outcomes of an Executive Session?

The outcomes of an Executive Session can vary depending on the matters discussed. In some cases, decisions or resolutions may be made during the session, which are then presented to the public in a later meeting. Other times, the session may be used for brainstorming, strategizing, or receiving updates on ongoing projects. Regardless of the outcome, the discussions and decisions made in an Executive Session are typically considered confidential and not disclosed to the public unless authorized by the governing body.