“Why are you going into executive session?”
—My question to the Louisiana State Police Commission (LSPC) after it voted to go into closed session.
“We don’t have to give a reason.”
—LSPC legal counsel and former State Sen. Taylor Townsend of Natchitoches, who is under a $75,000 contract to the commission to provide legal advice.
“Yes, you do. It’s the law.”
—My response to attorney Townsend.
“To discuss personnel matters.”
— Townsend (did I mention he’s an attorney?), after a moment’s reflection on my citing law to him. Below is the statute:
- 16. Executive Sessions
A public body may hold executive sessions upon an affirmative vote, taken at an open meeting for which notice has been given pursuant to R.S. 42:19, of two-thirds of its constituent members present. An executive session shall be limited to matters allowed to be exempted from discussion at open meetings by R.S. 42:17; however, no final or binding action shall be taken during an executive session. The vote of each member on the question of holding such an executive session and the reason for holding such an executive session shall be recorded and entered into the minutes of the meeting. Nothing in this Section or R.S. 42:17 shall be construed to require that any meeting be closed to the public, nor shall any executive session be used as a subterfuge to defeat the purposes of this Chapter. (Emphasis added.)