Monterey County District Attorney Dean Flippo has suspended his office’s investigation into whether the Board of Supervisors violated the Brown Act in using some 53 closed sessions last year, for the announced purpose of evaluating the performance of the five top county executives, but suspected by some observers as being used to provide operational directions that should have been conveyed in open session. Jeff Mitchell reports for the Salinas Californian.
June 9, 2014
A Monterey County Superior Court Judge ruled Friday that numerous closed sessions of the Board of Supervisors, labeled for the “evaluation of performance” of several top county executives but actually extending into a discussion of, and direction concerning, a variety of sensitive topics and projects, did not violate the Brown Act. As noted in this report by Jim Johnson for the Monterey Herald, the ruling was based on a single appellate case broadly interpreting the scope of closed evaluation sessions that was published before voters passed an amendment to the California Constitution requiring that limitations on access to meetings be narrowly construed.
The judge, a former deputy county counsel, reached her decision after hearing hours of closed ex parte testimony by the current county counsel, and refused to provide the challengers’ attorney with a copy of the hearing’s transcript, even under a protective order. She decided the case on her last day on the bench.