By Miriam Raftery
August 24, 2012 (San Diego) – Last week, San Diegans for Open Government sued San Diego’s Supervisors for apparent Brown Act violations at a June 26 meeting.
Now, the group has sent a letter requesting a cure for yet another alleged Brown Act violation--this time at the August 8 meeting, when Supervisors announced resignation of Chief Administrative Officer Walt Ekard and went into a closed session to choose an appointment with no public notice or input.
The letter contains a firm warning: “please note that each of you may be criminally prosecuted under Government Code Section 54959 for your participation in the closed-session meeting if you intended to deprive the public of information that you had reason to know the public was entitled to have.”
Dated August 14, the letter from attorney Cory J. Briggs asks Supervisors to cure the violation within 30 days of receipt, then strongly hints that haste is in order. “Note, however, that my client may sue before receiving your response.”
The June 26 Brown Act violations centered around agendas not posted with the required advance notice and agendized item documents not available online. Similar allegations were raised earlier in the yet, when Supervisors faced yet another lawsuit over failure to provide adequate notice when voting on Red Tape Reduction Task Force recommendations to eliminate planning groups.
The County Chief Administrative officer is responsible for “implementing the policy directives of the Board of Supervisors and managing the day-to-day operations and function of County government,” according to the County website.
It’s ironic that Supervisors have sought to hand-pick a new County Administrative Officer, when what’s clearly needed for the job is a watchdog--not a lapdog--to assure that County Supervisors to comply with open government laws.
How many more tabs for lawsuits must taxpayers pick up before our Supervisors learn how to follow the same law that they require all other County boards and commissions to follow?