1. Consider Guidelines for Noticing Ad Hoc Committee Meetings
Meeting Date: November 24, 2003 Budgeted: N/A
Program/Line Item No.: N/A
Staff Contact: Arlene Tavani Cost Estimate: N/A
Committee Recommendation: On November 21, 2003, the Committee developed a recommendation for noticing ad-hoc advisory committee meetings. The guidelines outlined in the staff note were adopted on a vote of 2 - 1.
CEQA Compliance: N/A
SUMMARY: At the September 15, 2003 meeting, the Board authorized the Administrative Committee to develop recommended guidelines for noticing ad-hoc advisory committee meetings that do not meet the definition of “legislative body” under the Ralph M. Brown Act (Brown Act). District Counsel has determined that the District’s Demand Management, Rules and Regulations Review, Public Relations, and Project and Environmental Review ad-hoc advisory committees do not meet the definition of “legislative body,” and are not subject to Brown Act noticing requirements. The Administrative Committee (Edwards, Erickson, Lehman) met on November 21, 2003 and developed proposed noticing guidelines.
RECOMMENDATION: The Committee voted 2 – 1 to establish specific noticing guidelines for each ad-hoc committee as outlined below. The Committee also recommended that staff develop a procedure for charging an annual photocopying fee to persons who request copies of the agendas and committee packets. Staff recommends that the Board adopt the proposed guidelines.
Water Demand Committee
Project and Environmental Review Committee
Notice these meetings as if they meet the description of a ‘legislative body” under the Brown Act. The final agenda would be mailed and posted 72 hours prior to the committee meeting. Only items listed on the agenda could be discussed at the meeting. Public comment would be received on all items on the agenda. If the meeting were not noticed properly, the meeting would not take place. The Administrative Committee also requested that the Final agenda and staff notes for these meetings be posted on the District’s web site. In addition, any documents presented by a member of the public at the meeting be posted to the District’s web site.
Rules and Regulations Review Committee (RRRC)
Meetings would be open to the public and agendas posted if the issues under discussion would affect the public. Agendas would be posted and mailed to the public in advance of the meeting when distributed to the committee members. The agenda and staff notes would also be posted on the District’s web site in advance of the meeting. The agenda would contain the following statement, “This meeting is not subject to Brown Act noticing requirements. The agenda is subject to change.”
Any issue related to internal District operations could be discussed in a meeting closed to the public. There would be no requirement to post or mail an agenda for a closed meeting. The PO/CC and RRRC would be asked to develop a definition of what constitutes an “internal” and “external” issue for the purpose of determining whether a meeting should be closed. Those definitions would then be brought to the Board for ratification. In the absence of adopted definitions, the General Manager would make a determination as to whether an item could be discussed in a closed meeting.
BACKGROUND: State law does not require that ad-hoc committee meetings be noticed or open to the public. The District’s current noticing practice for the Water Demand Committee is to post the agenda at the District office, mail the agenda to the list of persons who requested it, and post the agenda on the District’s web site. For all other ad-hoc committee meetings, the agendas are posted at the District office and mailed to persons who have requested copies. The District’s present practice is to post notice of committee meetings that are open to the public such as Water Demand. If an ad-hoc committee meeting is not going to be open to the public, an agenda is not posted.