Executive session

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An executive session is a term for any block within an otherwise open meeting (often of a board of directors or other deliberative assembly) in which minutes are taken separately or not at all, outsiders are not present, and the contents of the discussion are treated as confidential (see in camera ). [1] In a deliberative assembly, an executive session has come to mean that the proceedings are secret and members could be punished for violating the secrecy. [2]


Depending on the organization or governmental body involved, business that is conducted in executive session could include legal issues, discussion on contracts (such as to purchase land, or offer tax incentives to a corporation moving to an area), and personnel issues (such as hiring and firing). [3] [4] [5]

Use in the United States Senate

An executive session is a portion of the United States Senate's daily session in which it considers nominations and treaties, or other items introduced by the President of the United States. [6] These items are termed executive business; therefore, the session is an executive session. [7] It can either be closed door or open door. Historically,[ when? ] as a courtesy to the President, such sessions were always held behind closed doors, but this custom has been abandoned in modern times. The term "executive session" is still employed to refer to closed-door committee meetings, whether or not they are considering executive business. In any case, those present in an executive session are sworn to secrecy. [8]

An executive session may also be used in other legislatures. [9] [10] [11]

See also

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  1. "Frequently Asked Questions about RONR (Question 17)". The Official Robert's Rules of Order Web Site. The Robert's Rules Association. Retrieved 2016-01-31.
  2. Robert, Henry M.; et al. (2011). Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Da Capo Press. pp. 95–96. ISBN   978-0-306-82020-5.
  3. "Executive Session Defined". www.davis-stirling.com. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  4. "The Who, When, and Why of Board Executive Sessions". www.asaecenter.org. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  5. "Should the Board Hold Executive Sessions? | Blue Avocado". www.blueavocado.org. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  6. "United States Senate Manual, 106th Congress-Rule XXXI:EXECUTIVE SESSION--PROCEEDINGS ON NOMINATIONS". www.gpo.gov. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  7. "executive session glossary term". www.senate.gov. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  8. "EXECUTIVE SESSIONS - Rules of the Senate - United States Senate Committee on Rules and Administration". www.rules.senate.gov. Archived from the original on 2016-02-25. Retrieved 2016-01-31.
  9. "General Laws: CHAPTER 30A, Section 21". malegislature.gov. The General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  10. "Rules of the Senate - Senate of the Philippines (RULE XLVII - EXECUTIVE SESSION)". www.senate.gov.ph. Senate of the Philippines. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  11. Carter, J. Burgess (November 12, 2014). "Liberia: Senate Rushes Into Executive Session". allAfrica.com. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media. Liberian Observer. Retrieved 2016-01-30.