CFOIC: What is the public entitled to know when a government board closes a meeting?

Concerned that some government boards were barring the public from meetings that should have been open, state lawmakers in 2001 enacted major changes to Colorado’s Sunshine Law.

They added, among other new requirements, two prerequisites before officials could shut the door: 1) Cite the statutory subsection authorizing the executive session; and 2) Reveal the particular matter to be discussed “in as much detail as possible without compromising the purpose for which the executive session is authorized.”

The public, the General Assembly decided, is entitled to know something about what their city councils, county commissions and school boards talk about in private meetings.

But how much specificity is required under the law when a government body votes to go into executive session? In two recent court decisions, judges in Jefferson and Eagle counties offered starkly different viewpoints.