The League of Women Voters is a strong supporter of the Brown Act in which “the Legislature declares that public commissions, boards and councils in California exist to aid in the conduct of the peoples’ business. It is the intent of the law that their actions be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly.”
Recently the city council has begun a new policy of allowing council members to vote on issues even when absent from meetings or when they leave early before an issue comes up for discussion. To make it more official, the city attorney has been directed to formulate an agenda item that would come up for discussion at a January meeting.
A council member should not be allowed to vote on an issue without participation in an open discussion by other council members and the public. To do so means that the member’s vote was decided in private, behind closed doors, without hearing from the public and in clear violation of the intent of the Brown Act.
Nyla Zender, president of the League of Women Voters of Fresno