Search Results for: Bakersfield 118

FAC Sues Bakersfield For Open Meetings, Records Violations

The First Amendment Coalition (FAC) yesterday filed suit against the city of Bakersfield over the city council’s repeated practice of holding closed-door meetings to discuss topics that under California law must be heard in public. The lawsuit, jointly filed with Californians Aware (CalAware) in Kern County Superior Court, also demands that the city release public records relating to the unlawful council sessions—records the city is required to disclose under the California Public Records Act but

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FAC Prevails in Lawsuit Against Bakersfield Over Open Meetings, Records Violations

The First Amendment Coalition has prevailed in a lawsuit against the city of Bakersfield, with a judge ruling that the city council violated open-government laws when it held three closed-door sessions to discuss city finances and then refused to release public records related to those meetings.  The ruling, a complete victory for FAC and Californians Aware, which sued to enforce California’s open-meetings and open-records laws, requires the city to turn over records, record any future

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Open government concern: Bakersfield school district fast tracks guns for teachers policy

The Kern High School District board voted to allow teachers to possess concealed firearms in the classroom amid criticism that the vote may have violated the Brown Act, California’s open government law. The vote took place after only a first reading during a special mid afternoon meeting with 26 hours notice that teachers could not attend prompting a teacher representative to complain that the board showed no interest in transparency or in including the public

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A&A: Brown Act violation involving resignations

Q: During a Community Service District meeting in Sept., the board president read a resignation statement effective Dec. 31, however the statement was never made available to the public. At the end of December meeting, the board president announced that he was rescinding his resignation, but did so without obtaining board approval. Under the Brown Act, does the board have to approve his reinstatement? [su_button url=”https://firstamendmentcoalition.org/legal-hotline” target=”blank” style=”flat” background=”#74f60e” color=”#0b0707″ size=”5″ wide=”yes” center=”yes” radius=”0″ desc=”Click

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A&A: The public should know if school employee embezzled $2m

Q: I have some information and documentation that a school district employee in Administrative Services was dismissed from her job for embezzling at least $2 million in district funds.  The employee was allowed to retire with benefits. Without Federal stimulus funds the district would be facing an $11 million deficit this year. I believe this warrants further investigation and possible submission to our local district attorney for prosecution. I would like to gather more detailed

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A&A: School Superintendent Goals: Public or Private?

Q: School Superintendent Goals: Public or Private? Under the Brown Act, does a school board have the obligation to disclose the goals they set for the district superintendent of schools? Similarly, do they have the obligation to disclose the evaluation criteria for the superintendent of schools? The evaluation criteria for teachers is in the public record, so why not the same for the superintendent? A: The Brown Act governs public access to meetings and provides

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A&A: Is gender of foster care staff public information?

Q: We are investigating sexual abuse in a foster care shelter. We requested the gender for two staff members because they have ambiguous names. The county asserted that Section 6254(c), the personnel records exceptions applies. Staffing decisions at the facility are made based on gender (male staff members are not supposed to oversee female resident’s baths), which makes their gender material to their employment. The county attorney has been unwilling in the past to address our responses

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A&A: Are Citizen Bond Oversight Committee Applications Public Records?

Q: I submitted a CPRA for completed/submitted applications of Citizen Bond Oversight Committee members, however, the school district denied “the request stating my request for the completed applications are protected from disclosure pursuant to Government Code section 6254(c), disclosure of which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” I reviewed the government code and think it does not apply to the CBOC members since they are volunteers and not personnel. Would you be able

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A&A: District denies teacher access to defaming emails

Q: As a school district employee, what are my rights regarding access to emails received by the district from an outside agency regarding me?  It involves accusations and I feel I have a right to know exactly what the allegations are. The school district has been slow to even acknowledge my request to see and get copies of the emails. A: Under the Public Records Act (CPRA), a record prepared or maintained by a public

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A&A: Can I reqest public staff time cards?

Q: My community has a special water district. There is a manager and a five-person elected board. Would the manager’s time-card be public information? Also, the board has not approved the minutes for months. Is there a time limit to approve minutes from meetings? A: Under the California Public Records Act, public records, including “any writing containing information relating to the conduct of the public’s business prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or

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California: Kern County supervisor agenda item raises suspicions

The listing of job description of the county administrative officer appears nearly every week on the agenda for a closed session of the Kern County Board of Supervisors, a suspicious phenomenon, writes Lois Henry for The Bakersfield Californian. A citizen watchdog says that discussions of job performance, not job description, are exempt from open meetings. -db From a commentary for The Bakersfield Californian, May 5 2012, by Lois Henry. Full story  

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Personnel Files

Personnel Files Q: How do I access city personnel files? Particularly performance reviews? A: As you know, under the California Public Records Act (“PRA”), records in the possession of public entities are presumed to be public unless one of the Act’s enumerated exceptions to disclosure applies.  The PRA exempts from disclosure “[p]ersonnel, medical, or similar files, the disclosure of which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”  Gov’t Code § 6254(c). There has been

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A&A: City Stonewalls CPRA Request for Sexual Harassment Complaints Against Council Member

Q: I recently submitted a public records act request asking for all complaints filed by city employees against sitting council members. As a local journalist, I got a tip that a council member may have had a number of sexual harassment complaints filed against him. After asking for several extensions, the city responded today. They objected to the request claiming: (a) it seeks documents and information protected by the attorney-client privilege and the attorney work-product doctrine

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A&A: School refuses to explain why principal fired behind closed doors

Q: An elementary school principal was forced to resigned after a closed session meeting with the school board. Board members say they CAN’T talk about the decision. I made a written request for the files. They say they don’t have to show me the file’s under government code 6250. I don’t believe that’s true. Most of the employees at the school agree with me, but cannot speak up. A: There seem to be a couple

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A&A: FOIA request California State Parks internal investigation

Q: Last summer the nonprofit on whose behalf I am writing alleged that California State Parks had misappropriated $45,000 of restricted grant money. In October, State Parks conducted an internal investigation that exonerated the agency. State Parks has refused to release the investigator’s report, citing personnel issues. Can you advise us on how to file a FOIA request to get the report? A: I am sorry that your nonprofit is having trouble getting hold of

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Accessing a public employee’s resume

Accessing a public employee’s resume Q: A California state university employee committed resume fraud in securing job appointment. The chancellor’s HR office conducted an investigation and concluded the employee was guilty.  We heard rumors that the employee was disciplined by the university.  My questions are: 1. Is the disciplinary action on the employee by the university public record? 2. Is the employee’s resume public record? 3. Is the conclusion of chancellor’s investigation public record? If

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Kern school district challenged on Brown Act violations in plan to lay off teachers

The Kern High School District wants to lay off ten teachers after cuts in federal funds, but the teachers claim the district has not disclosed the details of the layoffs and so is acting in violation of the Brown Act, the state’s open government law. -db Bakersfield Now March 17, 2010 By Eyewitness News staff BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The Kern High School District plans to lay off about ten more teachers because of cuts to

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A&A: Animal shelter won’t disclose contact info on local cat trapper

Q: Our local county animal shelter take trapped cats from the public. Sometimes the cats that are trapped belong to others. As a cat rescue, we attempt to identify situations like this, and seek to return them to their owner. In a recent incident, the trapping person refused to give the address where the cat was trapped. We would like to talk to the trapper and see if we can resolve the situation before the cat

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