The Tennessee Open Meetings Law allows provisions for executive sessions: "If experience should prove that the public interest is adversely affected by open meetings involving pending or prospective litigation, disciplinary hearings, promotion and demotion decisions, prospective land purchases, labor negotiations, etc, it is the Legislature, not the Judiciary, that must balance the benefits and detriments and make such changes as will serve the people and express their will." (Lakeway Publishers, Inc v. The Civil Service Board for the City of Morristown, 1994 WL 315919 at *3)
Minutes of all such meetings must still be taken and must be made fully available to the public. Some conditions will require certain information to remain private until business, and in some cases court hearings, are resolved. At that time, the full and complete information must not be withheld from the public.
According to Berry, one of the residents has already filed a formal complaint with the State of Tennessee.
After contacting the parties who were alledgedly denied entrance, Barbara Gilbert said that she had contacted Elisha Hodge, Open Records Counsel for the State of Tennessee, and made an inquiry, not a complaint. Gilbert asked Hodge, through e-mail, if closing the meeting for an executive session and requesting the public to leave was in violation of the open meetings law and then requested action to be taken if there was such a violation.
Gilbert said Hodge's response was that there was no violation. Apparently Hodge did research and responded to Gilbert saying there was no violation of Sunshine Law and that certain provisions allow for closed meetings in this type of governing body.
The third attendee who was alledgedly denied entrance was unavailable for comment.