Open Government Provisions as codified in the City of Riverside’s Charter
Sec. 201. Access to public meetings and public records.
City agencies, boards, commissions, committees, officials, staff and officers, including the Mayor and members of the City Council, exist to conduct the people’s business. It is fundamental that the people have full access to information, not to just what decisions have been made in their name but how those decisions were reached and how they were deliberated. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created. The people do not give their agencies or public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know.
Our values lie in a government that helps its citizens in a timely way to obtain information. Our values lie in a broadening base of public participation, involvement and interest, providing new ideas and energy.
Our values lie not in hiding embarrassment and unpleasant occurrences. Our values lie not in preventing dissent.
To carry out the purposes set forth in this section, the provisions of the Ralph M. Brown Act (California Government Code Section 54950 et seq.) and the Public Records Act (California Government Code Section 6250 et seq.) shall apply to the City Council, and any commission, committee, board or other body created by Charter, ordinance, resolution or formal action of the City Council, or the Mayor.
Special circumstances dictate that there must be exceptions to access. But those exceptions should be narrowly drawn and narrowly exercised. Public employees must be protected from unwarranted invasions of privacy while the public’s right to fundamental information must be protected. Citizen right to privacy must be protected with the knowledge that involvement in government matters necessarily reduces an expectation of privacy.
In general, the value of access should be given a strong presumption of public benefit. (Effective 1/18/2005)
Sec. 408. Meetings.
The City Council shall hold regular meetings at least twice each month at such times as it shall fix by ordinance or resolution and may adjourn or re-adjourn any regular meeting to a date and hour certain which shall be specified in the order of adjournment and when so adjourned each adjourned meeting shall be a regular meeting for all purposes. If the hour to which a meeting is adjourned is not stated in the order of adjournment such meeting shall be held at the hour for holding regular meetings. If at any time any regular meeting falls on a holiday such regular meeting shall be held on the next business day.
Special meetings may be called in accordance with State law.
Meetings of City Council-appointed and Mayoral-appointed standing and ad hoc Council committees, regardless of the number of City Council members who might be on such committees, shall be open to the public and the time and place of such meetings shall be publicly announced at the City Council meetings prior to such committee meetings.
All meetings of the City Council conducted in closed session under the Ralph M. Brown Act (California Government Code Sections 54950 et. seq.) shall be audio recorded. The recording shall be confidential and shall be available for inspection only as permitted by state law. The recording shall be retained for a period of at least two years. (Effective 1/18/2005)
Sec. 411. Same–Citizen participation.
Each citizen shall have the right, personally or through counsel, to present comments at any regular meeting of the Council, or a Council standing or ad hoc committee, or offer suggestions with respect to municipal affairs. (Effective 1/18/2005)