Do Public Comments Have to be Taken into Consideration
Q: Are legislative bodies required to consider written material presented by the public, during an open hearing not officially called a “public hearing”, prior to making a judgment? A county agency heard public comments on an agenda item, was presented with a petition from 29 neighbors requesting a public hearing, didn’t read the petition or supporting documentation, and scheduled a review for 7 months from now.
A: While the Brown Act requires that a legislative body provide an opportunity for members of the public to address the body (Gov’t Code § 54954.3), the Act does not require the body to review or take into consideration any documents presented by a member of the public while exercising such public comment rights in connection with an agendized item.
In a democratic system, the “remedy” for elected officials who ignore a petition like the one referenced in your email is the next election.