Wednesday
Jan162019

24 Hour Brown Act Notice Not Required Because Board Did Not Hear Charges Or Complaints

The Fourth District held that a school district administrator was not entitled to 24-hour notice of a governing board meeting to address whether her admitted criminal conduct warranted demotion.

The court held that the school district did not violate the Brown Act.  The Brown Act requires that school district board meetings be open to the public unless otherwise authorized by statute.  One such statutory authorization is Gov. Code §54957, known as the "personnel exception," which allows a local agency to hold a closed session hearing to consider the discipline or dismissal of a public employee or to hear complaints or charges brought against an employee.  If the purpose of the closed session is to hear complaints or charges, the employee must be provided 24-hour written notice of the meeting.

The 24-hour rule did not apply to the closed session because the board did not hear complaints or charges at the meeting; rather, it debated whether the facts established by the employee's guilty plea constituted a sufficient basis for discipline. Such debate could properly be held in closed session without notice. 

Ricasa v. Office of Administrative Hearings (Southwest Community College District Governing Board), December 17, 2018

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