Brown act

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Brown act

  1. 1. GET TO KNOW THE BROWN ACT
  2. 2. DISCLAIMER <ul><li>The following information is designed to be a general guide to the Brown Act and should NOT be considered legal advice. For questions about specific situations concerning the Brown Act please consult an attorney. </li></ul>
  3. 3. WHO MUST COMPLY? <ul><li>Legislative Bodies: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Governing body of a local agency </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Advisory committees (with exceptions) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Citizen volunteer groups, task forces, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Standing committees of legislative body </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>continuing subject matter jurisdiction or </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>schedule fixed by resolution or other formal action </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. WHAT IS A MEETING? <ul><li>Congregation of a majority of a legislative body </li></ul><ul><ul><li>same time and place </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>to hear, discuss or deliberate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>agency business </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>TECHNOLOGY COUNTS! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Retreats Are Meetings (the interaction among board members is the public’s business) </li></ul>
  5. 5. WHAT IS NOT A MEETING? <ul><li>Individual Contacts and Conversations </li></ul><ul><li>Attendance at: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>conferences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>other agency meetings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ad hoc committee meetings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>social/ceremonial events </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>DON’T DISCUSS AGENCY BUSINESS </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. TYPES OF MEETINGS <ul><li>Regular </li></ul><ul><li>Special </li></ul><ul><li>Adjourned </li></ul><ul><li>Emergency </li></ul>
  7. 7. GENERAL MEETING REQUIREMENTS <ul><li>Open and Public </li></ul><ul><li>No Conditions on Attendance </li></ul><ul><li>Accessible </li></ul><ul><li>Video/Audio & Broadcasting </li></ul>
  8. 8. MEETING REQUIREMENTS, PART 2 <ul><li>Teleconferencing </li></ul><ul><li>Location </li></ul><ul><li>Public Opportunity to Address Board </li></ul><ul><li>Agendas </li></ul>
  9. 9. REGULAR MEETINGS <ul><li>Time and Place Set by Ordinance, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>72 Hours Notice Required </li></ul>
  10. 10. WHAT ABOUT ITEMS NOT ON THE AGENDA <ul><li>No action can be taken… except </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Emergency situations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2/3 of the full board, or if less than full board is present, a unanimous vote that immediate action is needed and need came to board’s attention after agenda was posted </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Applies to Regular Meetings ONLY! </li></ul>
  11. 11. SPECIAL MEETINGS <ul><li>Allows action prior to next regular meeting </li></ul><ul><li>Usual purpose: to meet deadlines </li></ul><ul><li>24 hours notice </li></ul><ul><li>Business is limited to subjects on agenda, including public comment </li></ul><ul><li>Written notice to each board member & each media member requesting notice </li></ul>
  12. 12. EMERGENCY MEETINGS <ul><li>Disruption of public facilities </li></ul><ul><li>Work stoppage / Disaster </li></ul><ul><li>Activity which impairs public health/safety </li></ul><ul><li>Notice/Agenda requirements DO NOT apply </li></ul><ul><li>Government Code Section 54956.5 </li></ul>
  13. 13. NOTICE REQUREMENTS FOR EMERGENCY MEETINGS <ul><li>Written notice to each board member and each media member requesting notice </li></ul><ul><li>Additional requirements </li></ul><ul><ul><li>One hour notice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No Closed Sessions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Post minutes ASAP - Leave posted 10 days </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Other posting requirements </li></ul>
  14. 14. ADJOURNED MEETINGS <ul><li>Treated like a regular meeting </li></ul><ul><li>If meeting is continued within five days of original meeting -- use original agenda… </li></ul><ul><li>If not… USE A NEW AGENDA! </li></ul><ul><li>Post notice of adjournment on or near the door of meeting place within 24 hours. </li></ul><ul><li>If no members show up, clerk may adjourn. </li></ul>
  15. 15. PROHIBITED MEETINGS <ul><li>Serial </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hub and Spoke </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Daisy Chain </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Informal Gatherings </li></ul><ul><ul><li>At which agency business is discussed </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Collective Staff Briefings </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Special challenges for staff discussion with board members </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. TELECONFERENCING <ul><li>May be used for all purposes </li></ul><ul><li>At least a quorum within jurisdiction </li></ul><ul><li>Notice, agenda & meeting requirements apply at each location </li></ul><ul><li>Votes must be by roll call </li></ul>
  17. 17. PUBLIC OPPORTUNITY TO ADDRESS THE BOARD <ul><li>Regular meetings ONLY </li></ul><ul><li>Within the subject matter jurisdiction </li></ul><ul><li>Brief response, but NO ACTION! </li></ul><ul><li>Do not prohibit public criticism </li></ul><ul><li>Reasonable time limitations and other regulations are permitted (be consistent) </li></ul>
  18. 18. AGENDA REQUIREMENTS <ul><li>Post in Accessible Location </li></ul><ul><li>A Brief General Description of the Items Being Considered. (Usually Less Than 20 Words). </li></ul><ul><li>Specify Time and Location </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Regular – 72 hours </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Special – 24 hours </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Emergency – 1 hour </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adjourned – Depends on how adjourned </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. RECORDS & PUBLIC ACCESS <ul><li>General rule - agendas, minutes & writings distributed at board meetings are public records. </li></ul><ul><li>Materials must be made available during or after the meeting if materials are provided at the meeting. </li></ul>
  20. 20. EXCEPTIONS TO PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OF DOCUMENTS <ul><ul><li>Specified special election documents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Preliminary drafts not regularly kept </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Records relating to pending litigation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Records relating to personal privacy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Privileged records </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contents of real estate appraisals </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. CLOSED SESSION RECORDS <ul><li>Government Code Section 54957.2 </li></ul><ul><li>Minutes may be kept  public record </li></ul><ul><li>Board members can review </li></ul><ul><li>Persons designated by court order </li></ul>
  22. 22. ENFORCEMENT, PENALTIES & REMEDIES <ul><li>Civil Action </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Stop or prevent violations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Review board rules/actions or determine applicability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Compel taping of closed sessions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Criminal Action (Misdemeanor) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Need intent and overt act </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Invalidation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lawsuit filed to declare action null and void </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Board given “cure and correct” opportunity </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. PENALTIES FOR BROWN ACT VIOLATIONS <ul><li>Court costs </li></ul><ul><li>Reasonable attorneys’ fees </li></ul><ul><li>Misdemeanor is punishable by imprisonment in county jail for six months or less and/or fine not exceeding $1000 </li></ul>

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