A&A: Regular meetings and varying times/locations

Regular meetings and varying times/locations

Q: May a city council hold the regular meetings in two different places at varying times? A City Council has been starting meetings in one room, then the mayor’s conference room for study session, interviews, or closed sessions, and then adjourns that meeting and move to the City Council Chambers for the remainder.As the Brown act says the meeting shall be at the time and place set by ordinance, does the fact that the meetings are in two different rooms in the same building comply with the law?The Mayor’s Conference Room is a controlled access room where you must have permission to pass through the gate.

A: As you evidently know, Cal. Govt. Code Section 54954 provides that each legislative body of a local agency “shall provide, by ordinance, resolution, bylaws, or by whatever other rule is required for the conduct of business by that body, the time and place for holding regular meetings.”  I am not aware of any legal authority requiring a legislative body to designate a single room within a building or otherwise prohibiting the body from moving between rooms in the course of a meeting, provided that the other access requirements of the Brown Act are met.  For instance, if the meeting were moved within a building in a way that prevented the public from finding the appropriate room, this might constitute a violation.  Similarly, you note that one of the rooms at issue is a “controlled access room” requiring permission for entrance.  If the public were denied access to this room during open sessions, that could also constitute a violation.