(a) Executive sessions are not required by this chapter, but may be held by a governmental body only for the following purposes:
(1) To discuss the general reputation and character, physical condition, professional competence, or mental health of individuals, or, subject to the limitations set out herein, to discuss the job performance of certain public employees. However, except as provided elsewhere in this section, discussions of the job performance of specific public officials or specific public employees may not be discussed in executive session if the person is an elected or appointed public official, an appointed member of a state or local board or commission, or a public employee who is one of the classification of public employees required to file a statement of economic interests with the Alabama Ethics Commission pursuant to Section 36-25-14. Except as provided elsewhere in this section, the salary, compensation, and job benefits of specific public officials or specific public employees may not be discussed in executive session.
(2) When expressly allowed by federal law or state law, to consider the discipline or dismissal of, or to hear formal written complaints or charges brought against a public employee, a student at a public school or college, or an individual, corporation, partnership, or other legal entity subject to the regulation of the governmental body.
(3) To discuss with their attorney the legal ramifications of and legal options for pending litigation, controversies not yet being litigated but imminently likely to be litigated or imminently likely to be litigated if the governmental body pursues a proposed course of action, or to meet or confer with a mediator or arbitrator with respect to any litigation or decision concerning matters within the jurisdiction of the governmental body involving another party, group, or body. Prior to voting to convene an executive session under this exception the governmental body shall receive a written opinion or oral declaration reflected in the minutes from an attorney licensed to practice law in Alabama that this exception is applicable to the planned discussion. Such declaration shall not otherwise constitute a waiver of the attorney-client privilege. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if any deliberation begins among the members of the governmental body regarding what action to take relating to pending or threatened litigation based upon the advice of counsel, the executive session shall be concluded and the deliberation shall be conducted in the open portion of the meeting or the deliberation shall cease.
(4) To discuss security plans, procedures, assessments, measures, or systems, or the security or safety of persons, structures, facilities, or other infrastructures, including, without limitation, information concerning critical infrastructure, as defined by federal law, and critical energy infrastructure information, as defined by federal law, the public disclosures of which could reasonably be expected to be detrimental to public safety or welfare. Provided, however, that when the discussion involves critical infrastructure or critical energy infrastructure information, the owners and operators of such infrastructure shall be given notice and an opportunity to attend the session.
(5) To discuss information that would disclose the identity of an undercover law enforcement agent or informer or to discuss the criminal investigation of a person who is not a public official in which allegations or charges of specific criminal misconduct have been made or to discuss whether or not to file a criminal complaint. Provided, however, that prior to such discussions a law enforcement officer with authority to make an arrest or a district or assistant district attorney or the Attorney General or assistant attorney general shall advise the governmental body in writing or by oral declaration entered into the minutes that the discussions would imperil effective law enforcement if disclosed outside of an executive session.
(6) To discuss the consideration the governmental body is willing to offer or accept when considering the purchase, sale, exchange, lease, or market value of real property. Provided, however, that the material terms of any contract to purchase, exchange, or lease real property shall be disclosed in the public portion of a meeting prior to the execution of the contract. If an executive session is utilized pursuant to this exception in addition to the members of the governmental body, only persons representing the interests of the governmental body in the transaction may be present during the executive session. This real property discussion exception shall not apply if:
a. Any member of the governmental body involved in the transaction has a personal interest in the transaction and attends or participates in the executive session concerning the real property.
b. A condemnation action has been filed to acquire the real property involved in the discussion.
(7) To discuss preliminary negotiations involving matters of trade or commerce in which the governmental body is in competition with private individuals or entities or other governmental bodies in Alabama or in other states or foreign nations or to discuss matters or information of the character defined or described in the Alabama Trade Secrets Act. Provided, however, that prior to such discussions a person involved in the recruitment or retention effort or who has personal knowledge that the discussion will involve matter or information of the character defined or described in the Alabama Trade Secrets Act advises the governmental body in writing or by oral declaration entered into the minutes that the discussions would have a detrimental effect upon the competitive position of a party to the negotiations or upon the location, retention, expansion, or upgrading of a public employee or business entity in the area served by the governmental body if disclosed outside of an executive session, or would disclose information protected by the Alabama Trade Secrets Act.
(8) To discuss strategy in preparation for negotiations between the governmental body and a group of public employees. Provided, however, that prior to such discussions a person representing the interests of a governmental body involved in such negotiations advises the governmental body in writing or by oral declaration entered into the minutes that the discussions would have a detrimental effect upon the negotiating position of the governmental body if disclosed outside of an executive session.
(9) To deliberate and discuss evidence or testimony presented during a public or contested case hearing and vote upon the outcome of the proceeding or hearing if the governmental body is acting in the capacity of a quasi-judicial body, and either votes upon its decision in an open meeting or issues a written decision which may be appealed to a hearing officer, an administrative board, court, or other body which has the authority to conduct a hearing or appeal of the matter which is open to the public.
(b) A governmental body desiring to convene an executive session, other than to conduct a quasi-judicial or contested case hearing, shall utilize the following procedure:
(1) A quorum of the governmental body must first convene a meeting as defined in Section 36-25A-2(6)a.1. and 2.
(2) A majority of the members of the governmental body present must adopt, by recorded vote, a motion calling for the executive session and setting out the purpose of the executive session, as provided in subsection (a). If subsection (a) requires an oral or written declaration before the executive session can begin, such oral or written declaration shall be made, prior to the vote.
(3) The vote of each member shall be recorded in the minutes.
(4) Prior to calling the executive session to order, the presiding officer shall state whether the governmental body will reconvene after the executive session and, if so, the approximate time the body expects to reconvene.