Documents from Closed Session Real Property Negotiations
Q: My question is in regard to disclosure of information from closed session after a real property negotiation has been completed.
Are the documents involved in the transaction able to be public? Is the information our consultant gave us regarding pricing and the appraisal public?
Currently our superintendent is trying to say all documents and information given to the school board are confidential because they were given in closed session/.
How can the public know what the trustees based their decisions on if all of it is behind closed doors?
Also, what can be discussed in closed session regarding real property? Can the board deliberate behind closed doors, then bring the motion out in open session for discussion as well?
A: The Brown Act authorizes legislative bodies to hold closed sessions with its negotiator prior to the purchase, sale, exchange, or lease of real property by or for the local agency in order to grant authority to its negotiator regarding the price and terms of payment. Gov’t Code § 54956.8. The topics that can be discussed in closed session held pursuant to this provision, therefore, are the price and terms of payment for the purchase, sale, exchange, or lease of real property by and for the local agency.
Please note, prior to the closed session, the legislative body of the local agency must hold an open and public session in which it must identify the real property at issue and identify the persons with whom its negotiator may negotiate. Gov’t Code § 54956.8. Once the closed session has concluded, the legislative body must publicly report any final approval of an agreement that concludes real estate negotiations. Gov’t Code § 54957.1. If the body’s own agreement renders the agreement final, the body must report that approval and the substance of the agreement in open session at the public meeting during which the closed session is held. Gov’t Code § 54957.1(A). If final approval rests with the other party to the negotiations, the local agency must report that approval and the substance of the agreement upon inquiry by any person, as soon as the other party or its agent has informed the local agency of its approval. Gov’t Code § 54957.1(B). Thus, unless the body has reached a final agreement on real property negotiations, the body is not required to report the substance of the closed session discussions.
With respect to accessing documentation that was finally approved by the legislative body, the Brown Act requires that the legislative body make such materials available either immediately after the closed session ends — if you either submitted a standing request for all documentation as part of the standing request for notice of meetings or have submitted a request within 24 hours of the posting of the agenda — or by the next business day — if you have not submitted any such request for documentation. Gov’t Code 54957.1(b)-(c). See below for the actual language of sections 54957.1(b)-(c).
“(b) Reports that are required to be made pursuant to this section may be made orally or in writing. The legislative body shall provide to any person who has submitted a written request to the legislative body within 24 hours of the posting of the agenda, or to any person who has made a standing request for all documentation as part of a request for notice of meetings pursuant to Section 54954.1 or 54956, if the requester is present at the time the closed session ends, copies of any contracts, settlement agreements, or other documents that were finally approved or adopted in the closed session. If the action taken results in one or more substantive amendments to the related documents requiring retyping, the documents need not be released until the retyping is completed during normal business hours, provided that the presiding officer of the legislative body or his or her designee orally summarizes the substance of the amendments for the benefit of the document requester or any other person present and requesting the information.
(c) The documentation referred to in paragraph (b) shall be available to any person on the next business day following the meeting in which the action referred to is taken or, in the case of substantial amendments, when any necessary retyping is complete.”