West Hollywood city officials say the city will continue to post agendas to City Council meetings as well as city board and commission meetings despite changes to the Brown Act, the 59-year-old state law requiring open and public meetings by governing bodies.
“The City complies fully with the requirements of the Brown Act,” City Attorney Mike Jenkins told Weho Patch. “This includes posting of agendas on the internet.”
In June, the state legislature gave California cities and counties the option of not posting meeting agendas and other reports in a move to save money due to the state’s budget crisis. The state is required to reimburse governing bodies for the cost of printing those agendas and reports.
“Because the state mandates disclosure and publication, it’s considered a ‘state mandate,’ and they have reimbursed cities for that cost,” Mayor Jeff Prang said in an email. “This year, for the first time, [the state of California] decided not to pay the reimbursement. However, almost all cities will continue to comply, even without the reimbursement.”
The public forum watchdog group Californians Aware has launched a petition at change.org to place a proposition reinstating the Brown Act on the statewide ballot. Currently, that petition has 408 signatures.
"Even though the law might not hold public officials accountable for no longer posting agendas or providing adequate descriptions of items on them, angry voters would hold them accountable," stated Californians Aware on its website. "Political exposure has always been a far more powerful motivator of Brown Act compliance than legal exposure."
A bill designed to preserve the Brown Act provisions is in limbo in the Assembly Appropriations Committee after the state Senate passed it.
In addition to posting meeting agendas on the city’s website, the city also posts hard copies of meeting agendas in , in the and at the .