While some meetings are open to public scrutiny, others need to be kept confidential. The Omaha World-Herald recently reported that the City Council of Bellevue, Nebraska, consistently held closed-door meetings from September 2012 to May 2013, with the exception of only one meeting day. These closed-door sessions lasted an average of an hour each; with council members later were prohibited from discussing the proceedings of the sessions.
The Bellevue City Council meets twice on scheduled meeting days: there are informative sessions in the afternoons, followed by regular evening sessions where public hearings are held and votes are taken. The Bellevue city officials' determination to discuss sensitive matters in private may seem controversial to some, but in other cases, confidentiality is both desired and necessary. Many businesses, government agencies, and foreign embassies operating in the District of Columbia, for example, are required to discuss sensitive information in secure meeting rooms in Washington, D.C.
If participants lack a secure place to hold their meetings, they can rent meeting rooms from companies that provide virtual office solutions, like Metro Offices. These meeting rooms are well-equipped and affordable alternatives to expensive hotel meeting rooms, and merge cutting-edge technological solutions with efficient technical support. Utilizing the most advanced telecommunication systems, participants can engage in face-to-face meetings and loop in other participants situated in remote locations via video conferencing systems.
In the case of Bellevue, City Administrator Dan Berlowitz scheduled most of these executive sessions; council members are required to make a motion, and the council needs to vote to approve the motion before closed-door meetings can be held. According to City Council President Don Preister, sensitive issues such as employee discipline, employment negotiations, and real estate dealings were discussed. Minutes from executive sessions are not kept; a move which is permitted by state statute.
Companies that provide virtual office solutions, such as Metro Offices, offer their clients training rooms, conference rooms, meeting rooms, executive lounges, and private workspaces for a variety of tasks. Conference rooms can be rented for client presentations, reviews of quarterly reports, company workshops, and other functions. These conference rooms are also equipped with high-speed Internet, dedicated bandwidth, and high resolution projectors.
Renting meeting rooms in Washington, D.C. from companies that provide virtual office solutions offers many benefits. By relying on video conferencing solutions, clients can reduce their travel expenses and avoid making costly investments in expensive technical equipment. Popular media may have painted a sinister picture of closed-door meetings, but for many organizations, secure meeting rooms are places where they can plan the next steps in their activities.