July 16, 2012 
Brown Act - Suspending Posting of Agendas 
Open government at heart of budget cut 
John King | Saturday, July 14, 2012 | www.sfgate.com 


EXCERPT: California's 59-year-old Ralph M. Brown Act is meant to ensure open and accessible government. These days, it also shows how convoluted the state can be.

     A key feature of the act - that local elected bodies and commissions must post their meeting agendas in advance - was suspended as part of the new state budget, a bookkeeping move that could save the state $96 million in 2012-13.

     By saying it won't pick up the tab for local government to spread the word, the state appears to have removed the legal obligation of local governments to publicize the details of future meetings. But the obligation will return if voters approve the tax increase sought this November by Gov. Jerry Brown - and many local officials, at least in the Bay Area, say the issue is moot because the reality of today's society is the push for more access, not less.

     "The public would not allow us to hold meetings in a back room anymore," said Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia. "In this business, nothing is private. Everything is public."

     That wasn't the case in 1952, when Chronicle reporter Michael Harris wrote a 10-part series detailing how California officeholders at all levels did much of the public's business behind closed doors.

     The Brown Act, named for the Modesto assemblyman who authored it, requires that at least 72 hours before a public meeting, local legislative bodies must post an agenda "containing a brief general description of each item of business to be transacted or discussed ... in a location that is freely accessible to members of the public and on the local agency's Internet Web site." The act also stipulates that all decisions made in closed session must be announced publicly.

     The catch is that 2004's Prop. 1A (official title: Protection of Local Government Revenues) says the state must pay the cost of mandated requirements at the local level "or suspend their operation." No reimbursement, no requirement. ...

There are many websites with information and opinions on the Brown Act. 
We have only included one Blog link here because it discusses the recent background for changes and has contacts if you would like to take action. 
CaliforniaAware - The Center for Public Forum Rights 

EXCERPT: Reimbursement Abuses, Enormous State Payables

... A 2011 report to lawmakers by the Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) cited as examples of claims by local noneducation agencies:

  • County of Santa Barbara.  For 384 meetings in 2005-06, the county claimed $78,044. The county claimed the "flat rate" (then $134 per agenda) for most of the meetings. For 41 meetings with lengthy agendas, the county claimed 30 minutes of staff time (at a $44.60 hourly rate) for each item on the agenda.
To submit a question please email: DearAliciaCalboc@ gmail.com
Dear Alicia - Questions & Answers


Required members for a citizens' oversight committee
Q: Is my CBOC properly constituted? We do not have a taxpayer representative listed.


A. There are seven specific required members, including one member from a bona fide taxpayers' organization. See Section California Ed Code 15282. (a) The citizens' oversight committee shall consist of at least seven members to serve for a term of two years without compensation and for no more than two consecutive terms. While consisting of a minimum of at least seven members, the citizens' oversight committee shall be comprised, as follows: 
(1) One member shall be active in a business organization representing the business community located within the district. 
(2) One member shall be active in a senior citizens' organization. 
(3) One member shall be active in a bona fide taxpayers' organization. 
(4) For a school district, one member shall be the parent or guardian of a child enrolled in the district. For a community college district, one member shall be a student who is both currently enrolled in the district and active in a community college group, such as student government. The community college student member may, at the discretion of the board, serve up to six months after his or her graduation. 
(5) For a school district, one member shall be both a parent or guardian of a child enrolled in the district and active in a parent-teacher organization, such as the Parent Teacher Association or schoolsite council. For a community college district, one member shall be active in the support and organization of a community college or the community colleges of the district, such as a member of an advisory council or foundation. 
(b) No employee or official of the district shall be appointed to the citizens' oversight committee. No vendor, contractor, or consultant of the district shall be appointed to the citizens' oversight committee. Members of the citizens' oversight committee shall, pursuant to Sections 35233 and 72533, abide by the prohibitions contained in Article 4 (commencing with Section 1090) and Article 4.7 (commencing with Section 1125) of Division 4 of Title 1 of the Government Code.  
Section 15282 of Ed Code. You can search for Law here: 
AB 1908, School bonds:  www.calboc.com/reports/AB_1908.pdf  
In This Issue
Brown Act - Suspending Posting of Agendas
Dear Alicia - Questions & Answers
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