Obligation to stated agenda
Q: Labor law requires that in order to negotiate a new contract the union’s proposals must be presented in a public meeting. The School District agendized the sunshining of a teamsters union contract proposal but did not have the proposal available at the meeting or place the proposal on its website. It only showed on its website a copy of a letter requesting a meeting between Teamster and the District.I protested at the meeting that the proposal was not made available and have been in contact with the School Board Secretary that says he posted what he has received. The Teamster negotiator claims he sent a letter to the State Administrator stating his proposal. The Board Secretary refuses my request to cure and correct the record that shows the initial proposal was sunshined but takes the position he will post any proposal that he receives.Can I take any legal action to see the record is corrected in face of the Board Secretary’s refusal?
A: The Brown Act (specifically Gov’t Code section 54957.5) states as follows:
(a) Notwithstanding Section 6255 or any other provisions of law, agendas of public meetings and any other writings, when distributed to all, or a majority of all, of the members of a legislative body of a local agency by any person in connection with a matter subject to discussion or consideration at a public meeting of the body, are disclosable public records under the California Public Records Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 6250) of Division 7 of Title 1), and shall be made available upon request without delay. However, this section shall not include any writing exempt from public disclosure under Section 6253.5, 6254, 6254.7, or 6254.22.
(b) Writings that are public records under subdivision (a) and that are distributed during a public meeting shall be made available for public inspection at the meeting if prepared by the local agency or a member of its legislative body, or after the meeting if prepared by some other person. . . .From your description, it sounds like the description of the Union’s proposal was prepared by someone other than the School District, i.e. the Union. Therefore, under the Brown Act, the School District was not obligated to circulate it before or at the meeting. (Note that the result would be different under the Oakland Sunshine Ordinance, but that ordinance does not apply to the School District, which is not a City agency.)
If you still want to have a court determine that the action taken by the School District is null and void, then you must file a lawsuit within 15 days of receipt of the written refusal to cure and correct. If you do not do so, you will be barred from bringing a lawsuit to nullify the action taken by the council. See Gov’t Code section 54960.1 Alternatively, you can file a lawsuit that simply seeks a determination that the School District has violated the Brown Act, and preventing it from doing so again in the future. See Gov’t Code section 54960.