The State ex rel. More Bratenahl; Meade, Appellant,
The Village of Bratenahl et al., Appellees.
Submitted March 26, 2019
from the Court of Appeals for Cuyahoga County, No. 105281,
Law Firm, L.L.C., Brian C. Shrive, Christopher P. Finney, and
Justin C. Walker; and the Law Firm of Curt C. Hartman and
Curt C. Hartman, for appellant.
Henrikson & Greve, L.L.C., David J. Matty, Shana A.
Samson, and Mark B. Marong, for appellees.
Brown Todd, L.L.C., Ryan W. Goellner, and Monica L. Dias,
urging reversal for amici curiae Ohio Coalition for Open
Government, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and
Ohio Association of Broadcasters.
1} Ohio's Open Meetings Act commands, "All
meetings of any public body are declared to be public
meetings open to the public at all times." R.C.
121.22(C). The question before us is whether a village
council complies with this directive when it elects a council
officer by way of a secret ballot. We say no.
A secret ballot to elect a president pro tempore of
2} In January 2015, the Bratenahl Village Council
gathered for its first meeting of the year. Among the
council's business that day was the election of a
president pro tempore-someone to serve as the acting mayor
when the mayor is absent or unable to perform his or her
duties. See R.C. 731.10. After two members were
nominated for the position, the following exchange was had:
Mayor Licastro: Do you want to do a show of hands? Do you
want to do a secret ballot?
Councilmember Beckenbach: Let's do secret ballot.
We've always done that.
Mayor Licastro: Secret Ballot. Mr. Matty?
Councilmember Bacci: Is that legal?
Solicitor Matty: Yes, it is legal. ...