Mayor and University Official Meetings
Q: The mayors of four cities have formed a grouping of sorts and meet with the University chancellor & the director of the labs – this is not done in public — should it be done in public?
A: Based on the circumstances you describe, I am unaware of any law that would require a meeting such as you describe to be public. As you may know, California’s Brown Act generally requires “legislative bodies” of “local agencies” to hold their meetings open to the public unless a specific exception allows a meeting to be conducted in closed session. Cal. Gov’t Code § 54953. The Brown Act defines a “meeting” as “a congregation of a majority of the members of a legislative body at the same time and place to hear, discuss, or deliberate upon any item that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body or the local agency to which it pertains.” Cal. Gov’t. Code § 549523.2(a). Local agencies include cities counties, towns, school districts, municipal corporations, and all other local public entities. Cal. Gov’t Code § 54951. Legislative bodies include the governing bodies of a local agency or any other local body created by state or federal statute. Cal. Gov’t Code § 54952(a). Legislative bodies also include commissions, committees, boards, or other bodies of a local agency created by charter, ordinance, resolution, or formal action of a legislative body. Cal. Gov’t. Code § 54952(b). Finally, legislative bodies may include a board, commission, committee, or other multimember body that governs a private corporation, limited liability company, or other entity that either:
Is created by the elected legislative body in order to exercise authority that may lawfully be delegated by the elected governing body to a private corporation, limited liability company, or other entity.
Receives funds from a local agency and the membership of whose governing body includes a member of the legislative body of the local agency appointed to that governing body as a full voting member by the legislative body of the local agency.
Cal. Gov’t Code § 54952(c).
Based on the information you’ve provided, there does not appear to be either a “legislative body” or a “meeting” as defined by the Brown Act, and the Act therefore does not appear to apply.
Note that the Bagley-Keene Act, which generally requires meetings of multimember “state bodies” to be public, also appears to be inapplicable to the situation you describe. Under California Government Code 11121, a “state body” includes any of the following:
(a) Every state board, or commission, or similar multimember body of the state that is created by statute or required by law to conduct official meetings and every commission created by executive order.
(b) A board, commission, committee, or similar multimember body that exercises any authority of a state body delegated to it by that state body.
(c) An advisory board, advisory commission, advisory committee, advisory subcommittee, or similar multimember advisory body of a state body, if created by formal action of the state body or of any member of the state body, and if the advisory body so created consists of three or more persons.
(d) A board, commission, committee, or similar multimember body on which a member of a [state] body . . . serves in his or her official capacity as a representative of that state body and that is supported, in whole or in part, by funds provided by the state body, whether the multimember body is organized and operated by the state body or by a private corporation.