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Monica Lindstrom

Updated Jun 16, 2015 - 9:26 am

Legally Speaking: Glendale council’s executive session could be next big move

The Glendale City Council goes into executive session Tuesday afternoon presumably to discuss the situation it finds itself in with your Arizona Coyotes.

What exactly does this mean?

Arizona has a set of laws that require public bodies to have open meetings. There are exceptions however. Arizona Revised Statutes section 38-431.03 explains the Glendale City Council can have an executive session for the following reasons (among others):

3. Discussion or consultation for legal advice with the attorney or attorneys of the public body.

4. Discussion or consultation with the attorneys of the public body in order to consider its position and instruct its attorneys regarding the public body’s position regarding contracts that are the subject of negotiations, in pending or contemplated litigation or in settlement discussions conducted in order to avoid or resolve litigation.

These exceptions allow the City Council to discuss and contemplate its situation and its options without having to deal with the public. Much like as it you had to meet with an attorney to discuss an issue.

The city does have to disclose what it is meeting to discuss. In this situation “The Mayor of the City of Glendale has called for an Executive Session meeting…The executive session is being called to discuss the city’s management agreement with the Arizona Coyotes.” (Press release June 12, 2015)

E. Except as provided in section 38-431.02, subsections I and J, a public body shall not discuss any matter in an executive session which is not described in the notice of the executive session.

Now the question becomes, will we hear what happens during this executive session? The answer is maybe. In this situation it is highly unlikely the public will ever be privy to the minutes or the discussions unless the City Council decides to disclose it which I find highly unlikely.

Although those attending the executive session can discuss, debate, fight and argue, there is one thing they cannot do.

No “legal action involving a final vote or decision shall…be taken at an executive session.” A.R.S. 38-431.03(D) Therefore, should the Glendale City Council decide to back out of their vote instructing the City Attorney to cancel the Agreement with the Arizona Coyotes, they cannot officially vote for it until they have a public meeting.

Bottom line, what will Tuesday’s executive session of the Glendale City Council mean to the Arizona Coyotes? Everything and nothing.

Everything in that if the City Council discusses backing out of the vote then Coyotes win. Nothing because even if the City Council decides to go forward, the Arizona Coyotes will still continue with its court case to make sure the city of Glendale can never use A.R.S. 38-511 to cancel this agreement.


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