[T]he fact that a public body is authorized to conduct an executive session to consider a particular matter does not mean that the public body is required to hold an executive session.
[I]n any given instance in which an executive session may be held, a public body must determine whether an executive session is warranted. In making the determination, a public body should consider all the facts and circumstances surrounding the proposed executive session and the general policy of openness that underlies the Open Meeting Act should be afforded great weight. (1992 OK AG 23, ¶ 7) (emphasis added) (See also 1997 OK AG 61, ¶ 4)
Rather, such issues may be discussed in executive session only if the public body and its attorney determine that disclosure will ‘seriously impair’ the body’s ability to deal with the issues in the public interest. This limitation on the basis for an executive session . . . means a public body may not close a meeting merely to get general legal advice from its attorney that does not meet the standard of serious impairment and injury to the public interest. (2005 OK AG 29, ¶ 11) (emphasis included)
Executive sessions are not permitted under the law because the matters to be taken up are in the private domain of public officials. Such matters are the business of the public. (1982 OK AG 114, ¶ 12)
Joey Senat, Ph.D.