73 Ohio St. L.J. Furthermore 1 (2012)

handle is hein.journals/furth73 and id is 1 raw text is: Blueprint for a Loophole: Cincinnati Enquirer v.
Cincinnati Board of Education
JOHN C. GREINER*
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I.    IN TR OD U CTION   .................................................................................. 1
II.   THE OPEN MEETINGS ACT AND THE EXECUTIVE SESSIONS
E X C EPTIO N   ........................................................................................ 1
III.  CINCINNATI ENQUIRER v. CINCINNATI BOARD OF EDUCATION ............. 3
A .  The  Illegal M eeting  ................................................................  3
B .  The  Trial Court Action ............................................................  3
C .  The  App eal ..............................................................................  5
IV .  DEFECTS IN  THE  HOLDING  ............................................................. 6
A. Procedural Defects of the Decision ....................................... 6
B. Substantive Defects of the Decision ....................................... 8
V.    THIS RULING CREATES A MAJOR LOOPHOLE FOR PUBLIC BODIES,
ALLOWING THEM TO SKIRT THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE OPEN
M EETIN G S  A CT  ............................................................................... 8
VI. THE ULTIMATE FAILING OF THE CINCINNAT ENQUIRER V.
CINCINNA TI BOARD OF EDUcATOa DECISION ................................ 10
I. INTRODUCTION
On June 22, 2011, the Ohio Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal in
the case of Cincinnati Enquirer v. Cincinnati Board of Education.1 The
litigation resulted from a dispute between the Cincinnati Enquirer (Enquirer)
and the Cincinnati Board of Education (Board) over a violation of the Ohio
Open Meetings Act (Act).2 By denying the Enquirer's appeal, the Ohio
Supreme Court let stand the court of appeals decision that created a major
loophole for public bodies to avoid the provisions of the Act and expanded an
already questionable decision far beyond its proper scope.
II. THE OPEN MEETINGS ACT AND THE EXECUTIVE SESSIONS EXCEPTION
The Act serves as a critical check on Ohio's public bodies by requiring the
vast majority of all official business to occur in plain sight. As the preamble to
the Act states, the law shall be liberally construed to require public officials to
* Partner, Graydon Head & Ritchey LLP, Cincinnati, OH; served as counsel for the
Cincinnati Enquirer in the litigation discussed in this Article.
1949 N.E.2d 1032 (Ohio Ct. App. 2011), appeal denied, 949 N.E.2d 44 (Ohio 2011)
(table decision).
2 OHIO REV. CODE ANN.  121.22 (LexisNexis 2007).

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