The free flow of information, open public discussion and the avoidance of conflicts of interest in the decision-making process are keys to our democratic society. The challenge for everyone, especially our public officials, is to balance the public's right to information with an individual's right to privacy and to engage in debate and the decision-making process free of any potential personal or private financial considerations.
If you are involved with the operation of a city, town, county, school district, special district, redevelopment agency or other public agency, or are simply interested in public affairs, you need to know the ins and outs of public records, open meeting laws, and conflict of interest rules. The goal of this seminar is to inform you of the laws and provide you relevant and practical information that will help you to better perform your duties or use these laws more effectively to monitor the business of government.
- Overview, purpose and scope of Brown Act
- Bodies covered by the Brown Act
- Notice and agenda requirements
- Permissible closed sessions
- Penalties and remedies for violations of the Brown Act
- Public agency obligations under the Public Records Act
- Tips for requesting and obtaining Public Records
- Conflicts of interest under the Political Reform Act
- Common law conflicts of interest
- Gifts, honoraria and travel expenses
- Prohibited contractual interests (Government Code Section 1090)
- The attendee will be able to discuss penalties and remedies for Brown Act violations.
- The attendee will be able to identify notice, agenda and meeting requirements.
- The attendee will be able to review conflicts of interest.
9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
I. Overview Of The Brown Act
II. Bodies Covered
III. Meetings Covered
A. Face To Face Meetings
1. Conferences And Retreats
2. Other Public Meetings
3. Meetings Of Other Legislative Bodies
4. Social And Ceremonial Occasions
B. Video Teleconferencing And Conference Telephone Calls
C. Serial Meetings
1. Individual Contacts Between Members Of The Public And Board Members
2. Writings As Meetings
IV. Notice, Agenda And Meeting
A. Regular Meetings
B. Special Meetings
C. Emergency Meetings
D. Location Of Meetings
E. Agenda Requirements
1. General Rules
2. Non-Agenda Items
F. Closed Sessions
G. Action Taken At A Meeting
H. Adjournments And Continuances
I. Special Procedures Regarding Taxes And Assessments
J. Public Rights
V. Closed Sessions
B. Authorized Exceptions
1. Personnel Matters
2. Pending Litigation And Attorney-Client Privilege
3. Real Estate Negotiations
4. Labor Negotiations
5. Public Security
6. License Applications
C. Reporting Requirements
VI. Penalties And Remedies For Brown
A. Criminal Penalties
B. Civil Remedies
1. Opportunity To Cure
2. Invalidation Of Action
3. Attorney Fees
10:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.
10:45 a.m. - 11:15 p.m.
VII. Brown Act Questions And
11:15 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
VIII. The Public Records Act
B. Public Records Defined
C. Agencies Covered
D. Access to Public Records
12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Lunch (On Your Own)
1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
VIII. The Public Records Act (Continued)
E. Requests For Records
F. Agency Responses
G. Statutory Exemptions
H. Public Interest Exemption
I. Tips For Agencies
J. Tips For The Public
K. Records Retention
L. PRA Questions And Hypotheticals
2:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.
2:45 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
IX. Conflicts Of Interest Under The
Political Reform Act
A. Disclosure Requirements For Officials
B. Conflicts Of Interest Analysis
C. The Public Generally Exception
D. Abstention From Participation
X. Common Law Conflicts Of Interest
A. Guiding Principle
B. I Have A Conflict, Now What?
C. Conflict Hypotheticals
XI. Gifts, Honoraria And Travel Expenses
A. Gift Limitation
B. Exceptions To The Definition Of Gift
C. Gifts Of Travel
XII. Prohibition On Contracting With
One's Own Agency (Government
Code Section 1090)
A. Persons Covered
B. What Is A Contract?
C. Definition Of Financial Interest In A Contract