The City Council unanimously agreed this week to continue to post notices and agendas for public meetings 72 hours in advance, despite the California Legislature's decision to suspend this requirement and other provisions of the Brown Act.
The Brown Act was enacted in 1953 to ensure that meetings of cities, counties, school districts and special districts in California would be transparent for the public. In June, the state Legislature suspended several of the Brown Act's provisions for the next three years, including eliminating reimbursement to public agencies for posting meeting agendas—a move that is estimated to save the state $96 million.
At the Aug. 7 council meeting, the panel agreed to comply with all suspended provisions of the Brown Act, which include the following:
- Preparation and posting at least 72 hours before a regular meeting of an agenda that contains a brief general description of each item of business to be transacted or discussed at the meeting.
- Inclusion on the agenda of a brief general description of all items to be discussed in closed session.
- Disclosure of each item to be discussed in closed session in an open meeting, prior to any closed session.
- Reporting in open session prior to adjournment on the actions and votes taken in closed session regarding certain subject matters.
- Providing copies to the public of certain closed session documents.
"The City Council will continue to do everything we can to create transparency in government, regardless of the state's decision," Mayor William Brien said in a statement. "The cost of keeping citizens informed about public meetings is negligible compared with their right to fully participate in local government."