The following opinion is presented on-line for informational use only and does not replace the official version. (Mich Dept of Attorney General Web Site -



Opinion No. 5183-A

April 18, 1977


Single member bodies

A single member officer, whether serving in an adjudicative capacity or rendering a policy decision, is not subject to the requirements of the Open Meetings Act.

Mr. S. Martin Taylor


Michigan Employment Security Commission

7310 Woodward Avenue

Detroit, Michigan 48202

You have requested my opinion as to whether the Open Meetings Act, 1976 PA 267; MCLA 15.261 et seq, applies to a single member hearing officer charged with the responsibility of rendering decisions in contested case matters.

1976 PA 267, supra, Sec. 2(a), defines a 'public body' to mean:

"Public body' means any state or local legislative or governing body, including a board, commission, committee, subcommittee, authority, or council, which is empowered by state constitution, statute, charter, ordinance, resolution, or rule to exercise governmental or proprietary authority or perform a governmental or proprietary function, or a lessee thereof performing an essential public purpose and function pursuant to the lease agreement.'

1976 PA 267, supra, Sec. 2(b) defines a meeting to be

'. . . the covening of a public body at which a quorum is present for the purpose of deliberating toward or rendering a decision on a public policy.'

It is obvious that the Act is intended to apply only where a deliberative body consists of more than one person. This is so because the term 'meeting', as defined above, refers to the convening of a public body and also requires that a quorum be present. It is not possible for any one person to convene alone and have a quorum present at any such convention.

In an opinion issued March 18, 1977 to State Representative Thomas H. Brown, I indicated that the Open Meetings Act by the definition of 'public body' was intended to apply to multi-member State and local legislative and governing bodies. It may also be noted that, in Sec. 2(b) of the Freedom of Information Act, 1976 PA 442, Sec. 2(b); MCLA 15.232(b), the same session of the Legislature included State officers within the meaning of the term 'public body'. The inclusion of single member bodies for the purpose of the Freedom of Information Act is important because many public records are in the possession of such public officials. Nevertheless, the different definition of the term 'public body' in the Freedom of Information Act from the definition of that same term in the Open Meetings Act indicates a deliberate intent on the part of the Legislature to exclude single-member public bodies from the coverage of the Open Meetings Act.

It is therefore my opinion that a single member officer, whether serving in an adjudicative capacity or rendering a policy decision is not subject to the requirements of the Open Meetings Act.

I am aware that OAG, 1977-1978, No 5183, p ___ (March 8, 1977), contains a statement to the effect that employment security referee hearings are subject to the Act. That conclusion, however, applies only where a multi-member panel and not a single person presides.

Frank J. Kelley

Attorney General