Legal Hotline: Organizational Meetings

Legal Hotline: Organizational Meetings

PNA Legal Hotline

Q:  A local borough council member told me they won’t be holding an organizational meeting in January, and they are the only borough in my area not holding one.  Aren’t boroughs required to hold an organizational meeting every year, and are these organizational meetings public?

A:  Boroughs are required to hold an organizational meeting in even numbered years, but many hold them annually, and organizational meetings are public.

Section 1001 of the Borough Code states:

“The council shall organize on the first Monday of January of each even-numbered year by electing one member as president and one member as vice president, who shall hold the offices at the pleasure of the council. If the first Monday is a legal holiday, the meeting and organization shall take place the following day…”

Although the Borough Code does not require an annual organizational meeting, borough councils have the discretion to hold organizational meetings more frequently if they choose. At a minimum, borough councils must hold an organizational meeting on the first Monday of January in even-numbered years.

Further, it is worth noting that other local agencies have organizational requirements similar to, but not the same as, boroughs.  For example, section 602 of the Second Class Township Code requires township supervisors to hold an annual organizational meeting on the first Monday in January, while section 502 of the County Code requires county commissioners to hold organizational meetings on the first Monday in January every four years.

Finally, the general rule of the Sunshine Act requires that anytime a quorum or more of an agency deliberates agency business or takes official action, they must do so at a properly advertised public meeting.  An organizational meeting where official positions of board members are discussed by a quorum and voted on must occur at a public meeting in accordance with the Sunshine Act.

As always, this is not intended to be, nor should it be construed as, legal advice.  Please contact your newspaper’s private attorney or the PNA Legal Hotline at (717) 703-3080 with questions.