Q: I recently read statement at the school board meeting. When the minutes were made available my statements were mischaracterized.
What are my rights regarding my statements recorded as factual? Should I send a “cure and correct notice” asking for my statements to be recorded correctly?
I see the recording of my statements as removing key points regarding problems I see in the management by the district and not the “school.”
You raise an interesting question with respect to the obligations of a legislative body to accurately reflect public comments in minutes. Although the Brown Act requires that members of the public be permitted to address legislative bodies of local agencies, I am not aware of any requirement in the Brown Act that public comments be recorded verbatim or reflected in any particular detail. It is possible that the board’s own regulations or bylaws impose requirements regarding minutes, though it seems unlikely that they would require verbatim transcription. Assuming the board is permitted to summarize comments reported in minutes, the board probably has some latitude in drafting the summary. While it would certainly seem appropriate for a legislative body to correct minutes that were factually inaccurate in some material respect, I am not certain what the legal basis for requiring it to do so would be.
While you would be free to send a written notice to the board asking that the minutes be revised or that your statement otherwise be disseminated (perhaps by having a copy included in the agenda packet for the next regular meeting), it is not clear that there is a legal basis in the Brown Act or related laws that would require the board to take any action.
Holme Roberts & Owen LLP is general counsel for the First Amendment Coalition and responds to First Amendment Coalition hotline inquiries. In responding to these inquiries, we can give general information regarding open government and speech issues but cannot provide specific legal advice or representation.