A&A: Are Search & Rescue Board Meetings subject to Brown Act?

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Q: Our Search and Rescue team is a 501.c.3 non-profit corporation, includes only volunteer members, operates under the Sheriff’s Office and uses their facilities/vehicles, raises public donations, and includes two Sheriff Deputy Sergeants on the seven person Search and Rescue Board (they are not on the County Board). Are we subject to the Brown Act?

[/vc_column_text][ult_buttons btn_title=”Exercise your right to know! Ask FAC’s Legal Hotline your own question!” btn_link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Ffacelementor.wpengine.com%2Flegal-hotline||” btn_align=”ubtn-center” btn_size=”ubtn-custom” btn_width=”630″ btn_height=”70″ btn_padding_left=”10″ btn_padding_top=”10″ btn_bg_color=”#00ade5″ icon=”Defaults-desktop” icon_size=”42″ icon_color=”#000000″ btn_icon_pos=”ubtn-sep-icon-at-left” btn_border_style=”outset” btn_color_border=”rgba(244,244,244,0.37)” btn_color_border_hover=”#ffffff” btn_border_size=”5″ btn_radius=”5″ btn_shadow=”shd-bottom” btn_shadow_color=”#a8a8a8″ btn_shadow_size=”5″ btn_shadow_click=”enable” enable_tooltip=”yes” tooltip_text=”It’s FREE!” tooltip_pos=”top” btn_font_family=”font_family:Raleway|font_call:Raleway” btn_font_style=”font-weight:bold;” btn_font_size=”14″][vc_column_text]A: The Brown Act governs “legislative bodies.”  Under the Brown Act’s definition of a “legislative body,” the act applies only to nonprofits that either

(1) were created by an official act of a legislative body or

(2) share a member with an agency’s governing body and receive funds from that same agency.  See Govt. Code sections 6252(b) and 54952(c), (d).

It sounds like the search and rescue does not fit into the second category, given its board does not include anyone who also sits on the county board of supervisors of any other legislative body.

You may want to look at the search and rescue’s bylaws, as well as documents from the county board of supervisors, to see if it may have been created by an official act of the board of supervisors.  If so, then the search and rescue’s board meetings may be governed by the Brown Act.

Bryan Cave LLP is general counsel for the First Amendment Coalition and responds to FAC 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.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]