When can a municipal governmental body vote in closed session?
For the most part, voting by a
municipal governmental body should be done in open session whenever
possible. However, governmental bodies can take final action and vote in
closed session as long as the voting is an integral part of the
deliberation process. 67 Op. Att'y Gen. 117 (1978); Governing Bodies
Wis. Stat. sec. 19.83 provides: "At
any meeting of a governmental body, all discussion shall be held and all
action of any kind, formal or informal, shall be initiated, deliberated
upon and acted upon only in open session, except as provided in s.
19.85." Although only Wis. Stat. sec. 19.85(1)(b) specifically refers to
"the taking of formal action" on a matter, there are other instances
where voting in closed session is clearly appropriate. For example, a
governmental body meeting under the exemption authorizing a closed
session to deliberate the purchase of public properties whenever
competitive or bargaining reasons require would require a vote in closed
session if making a decision regarding the initial offering price and
what the body is ultimately willing to pay to purchase a particular
Municipal officials should note that
Wis. Stat. sec 70.47(2m), precludes the board of review from
introducing, deliberating upon or adopting any formal action of any kind
at a closed session.