A&A: Doesn’t the Brown Act require regularly scheduled meetings?

Q: The Board of Directors are constantly postponing regular meetings to accommodate a board member’s busy schedule. They have not set up a calendar for the year with a consistent time or day of week, for example, every second Thursday at 4:00 pm. This month, they have not scheduled a regular meeting due to waiting on a board member’s ability to find an open day to attend. I’m looking for more detailed language of the requirement to adopt a regular meeting calendar for the school year and that it cannot be changed. Thank you.

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A: The Brown Act, California’s open meeting law, contains a provision requiring legislative bodies to “provide, by ordinance, resolution, bylaws, or by whatever other rule is required for the conduct of business by that body, the time and place for holding regular meetings.”  Gov’t Code § 54954(a).  Thus, the board here should have some kind of written rule as to when regular meetings will be held.  You might want to start with
the board’s bylaws to see what they say about meetings, and if you cannot find your answer there, see whether the board has passed any resolution or ordinance to this effect.  If not, it may be the board is in violation of the Brown Act on this front.

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.