County seeks closed meetings for UMC board

Clark County commissioners narrowly decided Tuesday to pursue a change in the Nevada open meeting law that would allow University Medical Center’s board to meet in closed session to talk about strategies and potential plans that competitors could potentially disrupt.

Lawrence Barnard, the public hospital’s chief executive officer, said the change would help the hospital’s board be able to speak freely about potential plans such as locations and facilities without fear of competitors renting a building to frustrate UMC’s plans.

Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak said he was “very troubled” that the measure could be misused for inappropriate closed-door meetings. Sisolak opposed it along with Commissioners Tom Collins and Chris Giunchigliani. The vote was 4-3.

However, supporters, including Commissioner Lawrence Weekly, said the new hospital board needs the appropriate tools to succeed and that legal counsel would ensure the board avoids straying from the law in the closed-door sessions.

The public hospital’s board is subject to the open meeting law, which requires public meetings and minutes to be kept of proceedings.

The bill is one of four that county officials will ask state lawmakers to pass in the 2015 session.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Contact Ben Botkin at or 702-405-9781. Find him on Twitter: @BenBotkin1.