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California Municipal Law Blog
category:
Meetings

Governor Signs Law to Require Agency Reports Before Approving Changes to Executive Compensation or Benefits

by on August 23, 2016

posted in Legislative Updates, Meetings, Uncategorised,

On August 23, 2016, Governor Brown signed SB 1436 (Bates), which mandates that local agencies report out certain information before changing the compensation or benefits of their “executives.”  Under this new law, legislative bodies (e.g., city councils, boards of supervisors, or boards of directors) for agencies must “orally report a summary of a recommendation” for changes in salaries or benefits before voting for the changes.  The votes must then take place in the open session portions of their meetings. SB 1436 is part of an evolving trend toward requiring greater transparency concerning ... Continue Reading

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tags: city of bell, closed session, executive compensation, open session, oral report, Public meetings, sb 1436,

Court Holds Six-Minute Discussion on Non-Agendized Matter Doesn’t Violate Brown Act

by on August 15, 2016

posted in Meetings, Recent Court Decisions,

When a person raises an issue not on a meeting agenda, how much can council or board members discuss the issue without running afoul of the Brown Act?  A recent court case provides some helpful guidance. In Cruz v. Culver City, a California appellate court held that a six-minute discussion about how to place an item on a future agenda did not violate the Brown Act.  Fortunately for local agencies, the court rejected a challenge to the discussion that had relied on a hyper-technical reading of the Act’s language.  ... Continue Reading

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tags: Agendas, Brown Act, Discussion on Unagendized Items,

Agencies Don’t Have to Cancel Meetings When Website Outages Temporarily Affect Availability of Online Agendas

by on February 1, 2016

posted in Meetings,

Local agency officials are well aware of the basic requirements for public-meeting agendas.  They know, for instance, that agendas for regular meetings must be posted at least 72 hours in advance.  In light of legislation that took effect in 2012, they also know that if their agencies post agendas online—which most local agencies now do—the agendas must be posted online within the same timeframe. But what happens if an agency’s website goes down during the period in which the agenda must be online?  Does that mean the agency can’t take any action on any of the business items for the ... Continue Reading

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tags: Brown Act, Online Agendas, Technical Difficulties, Website Outages, Websites,

Court Holds Mistaken Agenda Reference Does Not Prevent Holding of Closed Session

by on July 27, 2015

posted in Meetings, Recent Court Decisions,

What happens when a meeting agenda refers to the wrong legal authority for a closed-session item an agency considers?  If it’s clear to the public what action the agency may take, there is no Brown Act violation.  According to a recent court opinion, which dismissed a lawsuit as “hypertechnical,” a mistaken code reference used to describe a closed-session item does not prevent the agency from acting.  (Castaic Lake Water Agency v. Newhall County Water District, published July 22, 2015.)  ... Continue Reading

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tags: Agendas, Brown Act, Closed Sessions, Initiation of Litigation,

State Commission Finds that Brown Act’s “Serial Meeting” Prohibition May Impede Good Government

by on July 13, 2015

posted in Meetings,

Does the Brown Act sometimes get in the way of good government?  According to the Little Hoover Commission, a think-tank agency that studies the performance of state government, the answer is yes.  After comprehensively studying how the Brown Act regulates “serial meetings”—discussions that occur among more than two council or board members outside of a noticed public meeting—the Commission has published a report that finds that Act’s serial-meeting provisions may be impeding effective decision-making. The Commission’s findings are interesting and, in this author’s opinion, probably ... Continue Reading

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tags: Brown Act, Little Hoover Commission, Report, Serial Meetings, Wolfe v City of Fremont,

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