Thursday, February 19, 2015

Research Q of the Week: A Closed Record Collection (2/19/15)

Question: How long should a city hold on to recordings of closed meetings?

Answer: Cities must close some meetings. Other times it’s a choice to close that door. But a closed meeting—except one closed under the attorney-client privilege—must be electronically recorded by the city. Three years is the time to keep that record collection, as a general rule.

Seems simple right? But look here. The amount of time you must keep an electronic recording sometimes changes depending on why a meeting is closed.

Why was the meeting closed?

How long must you keep the tape recording?
Law
General rule
Unless otherwise provided by law, the recordings must be preserved for at least three years after the date of the meeting.
Labor negotiations

The recording must be kept for two years after the contract is signed
Security information or reports
The recording must be preserved for at least four years.
Purchase or sale of real property


The recording must be preserved for eight years after the date of the meeting. (It becomes public after all real or personal property discussed at the meeting has been purchased or sold or the governing body has abandoned the purchase or sale.)
Performance evaluations


The recordings must be preserved for at least three years after the date of the meeting.
Allegations of misconduct of someone subject to council authority
The recordings must be preserved for at least three years after the date of the meeting.

Remember, it’s best to consult the city attorney before a city council closes a meeting. Close those doors with care.

Written by Jeanette Behr, research manager with the League of Minnesota Cities. Jeanette's favorite vinyl is "Dock of the Bay" by Otis Redding. Contact: jbehr@lmc.org or (651) 281-1228.

This blog post conveys general information. It’s not legal advice. Please check with your city attorney before acting on this information. 

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