On July 8, 2021, the Michigan Court of Appeals issued its published decision in Spalding v Swiacki, Mich (2021), regarding the Michigan Open Meetings Act, being MCL 15.261 et seq. (“OMA”). In that case, Armada Township physically posted a notice of a public meeting, but did not properly include the notice on the Township’s website. MCL 15.265(4) states in relevant part as follows:
… the date, time, and place of the meeting shall be posted at least 18 hours before the meeting … and,
… if the public body directly or indirectly maintains an official internet presence that includes monthly or more frequent updates of public meeting agendas or minutes, on a portion of the website that is fully accessible to the public …
In this case, the Court concluded that for municipalities, the so-called “substantial compliance standard” with OMA does not apply to a claim for statutory damages, court costs and attorney fees under the OMA and that under these circumstances Armada Township Board was in violation of OMA when it posted its meeting physically at least 18 hours before the meeting, but did not also place the notice on the Township’s website at least 18 hours before the public meeting.