Opinion Letter No. 08-01
March 14, 2008
Council Member Participation at Committee Meetings
When Not Assigned to Committee
The Maui County Council requested an opinion from
OIP regarding whether council members may attend and participate
in a meeting of a committee of the council when they are not assigned
as committee members (“Non-members”).
OIP opined that the Sunshine Law does not permit Non-members
to attend a committee meeting because the resulting discussion of
Council business among the various council members, consisting of
both committee members and Non-members, constitutes a meeting of
the Council that does not conform to the requirements of the Sunshine
The Sunshine Law requires board members to discuss
matters involving board business in a properly noticed meeting of
their board absent an applicable exception.
When a board forms a committee, the committee and
its members must independently comply with the Sunshine Law’s
open meeting requirements apart from the parent board.
Where Non-members attend and participate in a committee
meeting, the combined attendance of committee members and Non-members
must be viewed as a discussion by them as members of the parent
board—i.e. the Council—of parent board business, which
may not occur outside of a properly noticed Council meeting.