Non-Profits Covered under Brown Act
Q: This is to clarify whether or not our volunteer association, which takes care of a City Dog Park, is under the Brown Act.
We were not created by any of the required methods spoken of in the Act (e.g. ordinance, formal action, charter, or resolution). We saw a need, came together and the City liked the idea of not having to deal with the park. However, we have been given NO AUTHORITY to do anything but make suggestions to the City about what can be done to make improvements. There is no member of the “legislative body” on our Board as a voting member. We do; however, have one as part of our membership and he is like a liaison between us. The City does give us money but it is for what they say it is to be used for, we have no control over any budgets or finances. This Association has a membership which requires an application, approval, etc., which the City has nothing to do with.
A: Only “legislative bodies” are subject to the Brown Act. Cal. Govt Code Section 54952. It sounds as though you have already reviewed the relevant portions of the Brown Act, but to be sure, a “legislative body” includes:
(c) (1) A board, commission, committee, or other multimember body that governs a private corporation, limited liability company, or other entity that either:
(A) Is created by the elected legislative body in order to exercise authority that may lawfully be delegated by the elected governing body to a private corporation, limited liability company, or other entity.
(B) Receives funds from a local agency and the membership of whose governing body includes a member of the legislative body of the local agency appointed to that governing body as a full voting member by the legislative body of the local agency.
Cal. Govt Code Section 54952(c)(1).
Since the Dog Park Association was not created by the elected legislative body, it would not be a legislative body under Section 54952(c)(1)(A). The association does receive money from the City, and does appear to include a member of the legislative body, but that member is not a full voting member. I have found no cases with any exceptions to the provision in Section 54952(c)(1)(B), providing that the member of the legislative who is a member of the board or committee be a full voting member. Therefore, the combination of the association’s receipt of City funds and with the fact that a member of the legislative body is a liaison to the association, but not a full voting member, would likely not rise to the level of a “legislative body” subject to the Brown Act.