A&A: Getting information from closed sessions

Getting information from closed sessions

Q: Our board has agendized for the upcoming meeting the following under closed session using 54956.9 for the below items.

a.  Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release
b.  Conference with Labor Negotiator

Does this mean that during open session they need not disclose the position of the employee that was being disciplined and dismissed or what the labor negotiations outcome was?

A: As a preliminary matter, it is not clear why your Board would have cited Government Code section 54956.9.  Section 54956.9 provides for closed sessions to discuss pending litigation, and does not apply to either of the items you listed in your inquiry.

With regard to the first item, public employee discipline/dismissal/release, the Brown Act provision authorizing a closed session is Government Code section 54957.  This section also authorizes a closed session to discuss a public employee appointment, public employment, or a public employee performance evaluation.  In each of these three cases, the agenda must specify the description of the position at issue.  However, the same is not true for public employee discipline/dismissal/release.  See Government Code section 54954.5(d).  That said, to the extent any action was taken to dismiss, accept the resignation of, or “otherwise affect the employment status” of a public employee in closed session, that action must be reported at the public meeting during which the closed session is held, identifying the title of the position at issue.  Such a report may be delayed until the first public meeting following the exhaustion of administrative remedies, if any.   See Government Code section 54957.1.

With regard to the second item, conference with a labor negotiator, the section of the Brown Act authorizing a closed session is found at Government Code section 54957.6.  The purpose of the closed session is to permit the board to review its position and instruct its negotiator concerning the conduct of labor negotiations with current or prospective employees.  During the closed session, the board may approve an agreement concluding labor negotiations with its represented employees, which shall be reported after the agreement is final and has been accepted or ratified by the other party.  That report must identify the item approved and the other party or parties to the negotiation. Government Code section 54957.1(a)(6).  Prior to the closed session, the board must hold a public session at which it identifies its designated negotiator.