Forcing public official to attend Brown Act training
Q: 1) Is there provision or precedent for a board to participate as a body in “training” to achieve more well-established and mutual awareness of respective authorities (and/or lack thereof), parliamentary procedure & protocol – in general, to learn how to “play well together?”
2) Is there provision or precedent for a majority of directors to discuss construction of an agenda (content, order, etc.) prior to a meeting (assuming they do not substantially debate the merits of individual agenda items)?
A: To answer your first question first, the Brown Act allows a majority of the members of a board to attend a conference “or similar gathering open to the public that involves a discussion of issues of general interest … to public agencies of the type represented” by the board. Gov’t Code sec. 54952.2(c)(2). So, if there was a training session for members of bodies like the district board, then some or all of your board members could attend.
Second, given the broad definition of what constitutes a meeting covered by the Brown Act, discussion by a majority of the member of an item on, or whether to place an item on an agenda, would appear to constitute a meeting that must be open, properly noticed, etc. The Brown Act defines a meeting to include any gathering of a majority of the members, whether in person, by telephone, or in a series of communications, “to hear, [or] discuss … any item that is within the subject matter jurisdiction” of the board. Gov’t Code sec. 54952.2(a).