A&A: Objecting to agenda item during meetings

Objecting agenda item during meetings

Q: Our Board of Supervisors is playing fast and loose with the Brown act, specifically adding items to the agenda that don’t even come close to meeting the requirements of the Brown Act.  Question: Can I object to an item being heard ? If yes, how do I object? If no, what do I do?

A: Unfortunately, although you can object to an item being heard at a meeting because you believe it violates the Brown Act’s agenda requirements, the Act does not require that the local agency refrain from hearing that item.  However, once an action has been taken and you believe such action was taken in violation of the Brown Act, the Act provides the public with certain remedies.  First, assuming the Board of Supervisors was in violation of the Brown Act, you may seek to void an action taken at such meeting.  The requirements for taking such an action require you to seek to have the agency “cure and correct” the action taken at the improperly held meeting, and then bring a lawsuit if they do not.  The requirements are very specific, they have very short deadlines, and they are generally strictly enforced.  Generally speaking, the demand must be made within 90 days from the date the action is taken (but the demand must be made within 30 days if there is a violation of the agenda requirements set forth in Section 54954.2 — which sounds to be the case here).  If the legislative body fails to correct the action within the requisite time period, you must file the lawsuit within 15 days.  Please see the provisions of California Government Code 54960.1 regarding the particulars of the timeline.

Alternatively, you can file a suit for injunctive or declaratory relief for the purpose of stopping or preventing violations or threatened violations under California Government Code section 54960, but this type of action will not have the effect of voiding the action.  The procedures and time limitations set forth in Section 54960.1 do not apply to Section 54960.  Ingram v. Flippo, 74 Cal. App. 4th 1280, 1288, 1290 (1999).  CFAC’s website contains a link to the statute for your reference.