Science Advisory Board OMA Advisory Opinion

The Director of the Office of Open Government (OOG) received a request to provide guidance on certain D.C. Open Meetings Act issues to the Science Advisory Board (SAB). The request for an advisory opinion, dated October 27, 2023, asked the Director to address questions concerning the meeting agenda, record provision from the agency to SAB, the requirement for an agency to post documents on its website, and what communication is required between SAB and the agency. The resultant advisory opinion concluded: (1) SAB may modify the planned agenda if an unanticipated item of new business arises; (2) D.C. FOIA may preclude the agency from releasing certain non-public information to public body members; (3) the laws under OOG’s scope do not constrain the public body’s use of its own website, but D.C. FOIA and government policies may provide legitimate justification for declining to publish information on its website; and (4) the OMA does not prohibit any particular District entity from meeting with any other District entity.