Operation

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A. Meetings - Public notice of all meetings - open and closed - must be published in the Federal Register (FR) at least 15 days prior to the meeting date (except in emergency situations, but reasons for emergency must be included in notice, and an administrative oversight does not qualify as emergency; a sample FR notice is included here

B. Closed meetings - If meeting must be partially or completely closed to the public, a Notice of Determination (NOD) must be submitted to Asst. Secretary for Admin. at least 45 days prior to the meeting, with concurrent delivery to Department’s Office of Public Affairs.  The NOD must include reasons for closure, and identify relevant exemptions from Government In the Sunshine Act (link).  Asst. Secretary’s office must then forward NOD to Asst. General Counsel for Admin. for concurrence, after which NOD must be published. (NOD Example)

C. Minutes - Detailed minutes of each meeting must be prepared no later than 30 days from meeting date, and must include: (1) time, date and place of meeting, (2) list of committee members and staff, Department employees, and members of the public who presented oral or written statements, (3) estimated number of other members of public present, (4) description of each subject discussed and the resolution, if any, reached by committee on the matter, (5) copies of each report or other documents received or issued by the committee, and (6) a certification by chairperson of the accuracy of the minutes.

Minutes, and other committee records, must be made available to the public upon request for inspection and copying (except that records pertaining to closed portion of meeting may be exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA). (FOIA exemptions

D. Vacancies on Committees - If vacancy in a committee occurs, the DFO should promptly inform the Office of the Secretary.

E. Questions - Questions about administering committees may often be answered by consulting the committee charter.  Further questions may be directed to Department’s Committee Management Officer, Linda Anadale (482-7873).  Legal questions should be directed to Office of Asst. General Counsel for Administration (call 482-5391 to find out attorney responsible for the committee).  Also, General Services Administration is responsible for overseeing Federal Advisory Act committees, and has published general guidance on committees on its website here.