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Lassen County: Charter school called to task denied request to keep records private

The Westwood Unified School district has demanded that Westwood Charter School take immediate steps to correct alleged violations of California law and to provide an extensive list of documents concerning management, the budget, personnel, and student progress. -db Lassen County Times April 27, 2010 Westwood Charter School must provide all requested documents, take steps to cure and correct alleged violations of California law and make sweeping and significant management changes if it hopes to keep

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A&A: Posting agendas and notification of action in special/closed sessions

Posting agendas and notification of action in special/closed sessions Q: A School Board is subject to the Brown Act yet a principal was dismissed without cause after a Special meeting /closed session in which no one was notified nor was it posted at the site where the meeting was held (it was posted on a website) nor has the decision been posted for the ten day requirement following the meeting. The staff and parents are in

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A&A: Brown Act and statute of limitations

Q: Does an action requesting purely equitable (injunctive) relief for a Brown Act violation have a statute of limitations? A: The statute of limitations for filing a Brown Act action for injunctive relief is quite short.  Please note that before suing for injunctive relief, you are required to make a written demand that the legislative body “cure or correct” the action.  Cal. Gov’t Code section 54960.1(b).  Generally speaking, the demand must be made within 90

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A&A: Right to Videotape School Board Meetings

Right to Videotape School Board Meetings Q: Yesterday, I videotaped a School District Board Meeting and I was under the understanding that citizens are allowed to videotape as specified under the Government Code Section 54954.3, the Brown Act. After the meeting, I was approached by two district personnel, one of them being the district superintendent. Both of them told me I could not videotape the meeting. The superintendent specifically said that her and the School

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A&A: How Can We Obtain Criminal Charges Against Our Community Service District for Violations of the Brown Act?

Q: We are requesting assistance in criminally prosecuting Community Service District (CSD) members and General Manager for multiple past and ongoing violations of the Brown Act. A: Unfortunately, we cannot provide individual representation through this hotline, nor can we provide specific legal advice. If you are looking for an attorney to represent you, a good place to look would be the County Bar Association’s lawyer referral service. We can, however, provide you with general legal

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A&A: Emailed Public Comments Were Not Read as Promised at Board of Supervisors Meeting Closed By Coronavirus

Q: I requested that two statements be read on the public record at a County Board of Supervisors meeting. This board met in spite of the fact that the meeting was closed to the public due to Coronavirus pandemic, and they stipulated that emailed statements would be read and failed to do so. What is my recourse, if any? A: Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Newsom issued executive orders N-25-20 and N-29-20, which temporarily suspend any Brown Act requirements “expressly or impliedly

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A&A: Does Brown Act Allow Adding Agenda Items Less Than 72-Hours Before A Meeting?

Q: A California City Council originally released an agenda for its regular meeting without a closed session. Each agenda usually has a closed session heading listed at the end of the meeting — but the council doesn’t meet in closed session; it’s like a placeholder. On its action calendar, the council was scheduled to discuss and appoint a new interim city attorney. Three hours before the 7 p.m. meeting, the city clerk sent out an

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A&A: The city decided in closed session to let Wal Mart pick up legal tab for lawsuit

Q: Tonight the City Attorney reported out on the council’s closed-session meeting. She told the public that the meeting had discussed pending litigation over a Wal Mart development-agreement lawsuit; that the council had voted 5-0 to defend the city against the suit; and that they had also agreed in this same closed session to allow Wal Mart to cover the city’s full legal costs for the suit. Although I understand the city’s need and right

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A&A: Denied right to have job termination discussed in open meeting

Q: I was accused of conflict of interest and fired from my job at the Community College District. I requested an open session for the appeal to the Board for my termination and was denied. I made three requests in writing, all of which were denied by the District. I believe it is my right to an open session according to the Brown Act. A: There are situations where legislative bodies may hold meetings that

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A&A: City Council Met Prior to Public Meeting and Made Last-Minute Agenda Changes

Q: I requested and received emails from the City regarding a developer’s plan that was not made public. The mayor and a council member met before a public hearing in which the agenda was changed at the last minute. The vote was 4-1 in favor of the road we were promised would not go in. Does this violate the Brown Act? A: The Brown Act, requires that a legislative body subject to the Act must post

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A&A: Council took action on a for-discussion-only agenda item

Q: A recent city council meeting agend  discussion item stated that “No action was called for.” The “summary recommendation” was  that the city council “receive and file this report. ”  However, without any public notice, the City Council took action.  I know the Brown Act requires items on which Council acts to be on the agenda in advance, unless there is an emergency or need for immediate action wasn’t realized earlier. What should I do

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A&A: My statement was inaccurately depicted in published minutes

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

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A&A: Could this act of intimidation be a Brown Act violation?

Q: I attended the board meeting of the Waterworks District. During the meeting an agenda item came up for two job descriptions relating to the person who currently holds those positions. There were comments made by an ex-board member and another member of the public concerning this problem. One board member in particular had a very abrasive response to these comments. To break the dialogue, she asked for a 10-minute recess. At this point she pulled her phone out and called

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A&A: School Board Trustees meeting with union reps in violation of Brown Act

Q: It’s come to my attention that three of the five members on the School Board meet privately with representatives of the teacher’s union to discuss items on the agenda for the upcoming board meeting. There are no public notices for these meetings. My feeling is that the board members will find a way around the Brown Act if I bring this subject up at the next board meeting, thereby negating any positive effect for

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Palm Desert City Council closed salary session challenged as open government violation

The Palm Desert City Council approved the salary for a new city manager in closed session in the belief that was allowed under the Brown Act, but a leading open government advocate says salary discussions must be public. -DB The Desert Sun March 14, 2009 By K. Kaufmann The Palm Desert City Council may have violated the state’s open records law by approving a contract with new city manager in closed session on Jan. 22,

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A&A: Can settlements be negotiated in closed session if no pending litigation exists?

Can settlements be negotiated in closed session if no pending litigation exists? Q: Our local water district has held a series (over 6 months) of closed sessions. It appears that the district is negotiating a water rights transfer or deal with another local water district. They cannot negotiate jointly a “settlement” agreement if no “pending” litigation exists. Isn’t this a violation of the Brown Act? If so, what is the recourse? A: The provision of

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A&A: Authority to call school district special meetings

Authority to call school district special meetings Q: I attended an emergency meeting of the School District that was called not by the president but by one of the directors on behalf of the manager. The president wasn’t informed of the meeting until it was all set up and an agenda posted. The lone director stated in public (meeting is taped) that he called the meeting, saying he as a lone individual can call the

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A&A: The board reached ‘a unanimous decision’ but also claimed ‘no action was taken’ in closed session

Q: I am a director of a charter high school who was recently put on administrative leave (via an email that stated it was by unanimous decision of the board) following a closed meeting at which they announced “No action was taken.” I do not understand how no action could have been taken yet there was a unanimous decision of the Board. There have been multiple Brown Act violations by this board but this is

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A&A: Written public comment not read as promised before City Council vote taken

Q: I submitted a written public comments to an agenda item because I could not attend a Special Meeting of the City Council. The City Clerk acknowledged that they had been received and would be read into the record during public comment time period for the specific item. This did not happen and the vote was taken on the item. After the vote was taken the City Clerk stated that she had forgotten to read the submitted

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A&A: Bundling agenda action items silences public input

Q: I would like to question the legality of a new practice our school board school board to “bundle”  regular action items on the agenda. At the only regular board meeting of August 2010, after approving the consent calendar, the board approved the regular agenda items as presented. Their own by-laws state an agenda item will be presented; the administration will give their presentation and recommendations for action; the board will ask/seek further information; the

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