Opinion Letter No. 03-17
September 11, 2003
Attorneys' Presence - Required to Accomplish the
Essential Purposes of an Executive Meeting
In OIP Opinion Letter Number 03-12, the OIP advised
that the Sunshine Law authorizes boards to summon non-board members
to participate in a closed board meeting if necessary to further
the purpose for which the executive meeting is convened.
The Hawaii County Corporation Counsel thereafter sought advice concerning
whether the Sunshine Law only authorizes attorneys to be present
in executive meetings convened to consult concerning a board’s
“powers, duties, privileges, immunities, and liabilities”
(one of the Sunshine Law’s eight authorized purposes set out
at section 92-5(a), HRS).
Two circumstances were articulated: consultation concerning
any purpose listed in section
92-5(a), HRS, and consultation to ensure that a board complies with
92-5(b), which requires that boards deliberate and decide in executive
meetings only on matters directly related to the eight purposes
listed in 92-5(a), HRS.
The OIP advised that consultation in both those circumstances
is appropriate, but only so long as the attorney’s presence
is essential to accomplish the purpose of the executive meeting.