A&A: Placing items on Agenda and Mayoral Refusal

Placing items on Agenda and Mayoral Refusal

Q: A Councilperson wants to put an item on the agenda that relates to a contentious issue. The mayor refuses to do it. Is this legal?

A: The Brown Act requires that local agencies, like a city council, must post an agenda prior to meeting.  Cal. Govt. Code Section 54954.2.
However, the Brown Act does not dictate the way in which the agenda must be set.  Government Code Sections 36802 and 36803 provide that “[t]he mayor shall preside at the meetings of the council” and that the mayor may “discuss any matter as a member of the council.”  Also, a “council may establish rules for the conduct of its proceedings.”  Finally, “[a]ny city or city and county may enact, amend, or repeal a charter for its own government,” further confirming that the city may develop its own rules for setting the agenda.

Since the setting of an agenda for such a meeting is primarily a local issue, city council rules or the city charter would be the most likely source of this information.

A document on the city’s web site — evidently minutes from a March 28,
2006 City Council meeting — suggests that the Council adopted a policy under which a Councilperson’s item submitted on time must be included on the agenda for the next meeting:
da%20item%20submittal.pdf.  It appears from this document that the mayor may not have the authority to refuse to include an item properly submitted by a councilperson from the agenda for the next meeting.
Additional information about the City Council, including how to contact them for more information on this or related policies, is available at http://www.trinidad.ca.gov/geninfo/citycouncil.cfm.