In her inaugural meeting, Mayor Gilmore violated The Brown Act on several counts.
Now it’s fine that our newly elected mayor and her council would want to address employee contracts; it’s appropriate. But there’s a legal and open process for doing so. And Mayor Gilmore did not even approximate that process in the recent 12/28/2010 City Council meeting.
Either she thinks the residents of Alameda won’t notice or she is not familiar with the law about closed session meetings.
Either way, this is bad. REALLY BAD. And one hell of an illegal foot on which to begin her tenure as a new mayor!
I really don’t understand this–how any elected official or legislative body could behave this way in this day and age! We weren’t just not included in the process, Mayor Gilmore surreptitiously ensured we would not be!
***CITIZEN ACTION REQUIRED***
PHONE: the Alameda County DA to complain: (510) 272-6222. If you get a human, explain the violations and your complaint. If you get voicemail, request that the correct person return your call to discuss a violation of The Brown Act committed by a legislative body within the county of Alameda.
THEN WRITE TO Nancy E. O’Malley, Alameda County DA: Follow up with a written letter that details your complaint; be sure to mention the date and time of your phone call and whether you left a voice-mail or the name of the person with which you spoke:
Alameda County District Attorney’s Office
1225 Fallon St. Suite 900
Oakland, Ca 94612
On Tuesday, December 28, 2010, there was a Special City Council meeting that had a closed session.
During that meeting, the newly elected Mayor and City Council violated The Brown Act on several counts.
The published Meeting Agenda did not mention that they would be discussing the employee contracts of both the City Manager and City Attorneys. Yet, the Mayor and Council Members not only discussed these employee contracts, they made decisions upon them! This violated The Brown Act in two ways:
1. We as residents are to be allowed to speak on the topics they plan to discuss in closed session. We were not advised of these topics and as such our rights to speak on these important topics were taken away from us.
2. Employees have a right to attend the City Council closed sessions that discuss their contracts. Neither Ms. Gallant nor Ms. Highsmith were notified of these discussions or given the opportunity to be present or have a representative present.
PLEASE RETURN TO THIS BLOG AND USE THE COMMENT SECTION TO REPORT YOUR COMPLAINTS AND THE RESPONSES OF THE DA. THANK YOU.
Here are the sections of The Brown Act that were violated (that I know of; there may be more):
54957.6. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a legislative body of a local agency may hold closed sessions with the local agency’s designated representatives regarding the salaries, salary schedules, or compensation paid in the form of fringe benefits of its represented and unrepresented employees, and, for represented employees, any other matter within the statutorily-provided scope of representation. Closed sessions of a legislative body of a local agency, as permitted in this section, shall be for the purpose of reviewing its position and instructing the local agency’s designated representatives. Closed sessions, as permitted in this section, may take place prior to and during consultations and discussions with representatives of employee organizations and unrepresented employees.
Closed sessions with the local agency’s designated representative regarding the salaries, salary schedules, or compensation paid in the form of fringe benefits may include discussion of an agency’s available funds and funding priorities, but only insofar as these discussions relate to providing instructions to the local agency’s designated representative.
Closed sessions held pursuant to this section shall not include final action on the proposed compensation of one or more unrepresented employees.
For the purposes enumerated in this section, a legislative body of a local agency may also meet with a state conciliator who has intervened in the proceedings.
(b) For the purposes of this section, the term “employee” shall include an officer or an independent contractor who functions as an officer or an employee, but shall not include any elected official, member of a legislative body, or other independent contractors.
54957.7. (a) Prior to holding any closed session, the legislative body of the local agency shall disclose, in an open meeting, the item or items to be discussed in the closed session. The disclosure may take the form of a reference to the item or items as they are listed by number or letter on the agenda. In the closed session, the legislative body may consider only those matters covered in its statement. Nothing in this section shall require or authorize a disclosure of information prohibited by state or federal law.
(b) After any closed session, the legislative body shall reconvene into open session prior to adjournment and shall make any disclosures required by Section 54957.1 of action taken in the closed session.
(c) The announcements required to be made in open session pursuant to this section may be made at the location announced in the agenda for the closed session, as long as the public is allowed to be present at that location for the purpose of hearing the announcements.