May 16 2013

Important Public Meetings Not Recorded or Broadcast

Public Misses Out on Background of Issues –

Public meetings in Piedmont must meet the California Brown Act, known as a “sunshine” law. The City of Piedmont and the Piedmont Unified School District regularly provide required notice and agendas of meetings, and most City Commission, School Board, and City Council meetings can be viewed by the public at home via KCOM or live streaming through the City’s website.  These meetings are informative and important to public policy decisions.

A number of other public meetings, however, are not broadcast, primarily because the City Council Chambers at City Hall is the only public space equipped for KCOM broadcast.  Additionally, for some meetings, there are no minutes taken, audio recordings, or records kept.  Nonetheless, recommendations arising from these meetings often are the foundation of decisions by the City Council and the School Board.

Brown Act qualifying meetings typically not recorded or broadcast are:

City Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee

The Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee was formed by the City Council to review and provide comment on five year projections contained in the City’s annual budget proposal, the proposed funding and expenditures from several long term funds, and the proposed mid-year budget adjustments. It also provides a financial review of new programs in excess of $250,000 per year. Click here to read the committee’s charge.

Council Liaison: John Chiang (H) 655-2959

Members: Mary Geong, Steven Hollis, Bill Hosler, Tom Lehrkind, Tim Rood

City CIP (Capital Improvement Projects) Review Committee  –

The CIP Review Committee makes recommendations to the City Council regarding the expenditure of the capital budget (construction, repair or rehabilitation of city facilities).

Council Liaison: Robert McBain (H) 547-0597
Staff Liaisons: Chester Nakahara (W) 420-3061 & Mark Feldkamp (W) 420-3064

Members: John Cooper, Ryan Gilbert, Nancy Lehrkind, Jeffrey St. Claire

City Council Budget Work Session

The City Council meets with the City staff and discusses the staff proposed budget for the coming fiscal year. Summary minutes are approved by the City Council. 

Council: Mayor John Chiang, Vice Mayor Margaret Fujioka, Council members, Garrett Keating, Jeff Weiler, and Bob McBain

School District Budget Advisory Committee –

Under the direction of the Superintendent, a Program/Budget Advisory Committee reviews the financial health of the District’s General Fund budget, shares information with constituent groups, and makes recommendations for Board consideration in the budget development process. Members of the committee include representatives from each school site, employee associations (APT for teachers and CSEA for classified staff), administration, support groups, the community at-large, and the Board of Education. Members serve for one to two years. Those interested in serving on the standing committee should contact the Superintendent’s office.

List of members are not publicly released.

School Support Tax Advisory Subcommittee –

The committee  was required to be established by approval of  the SCHOOL SUPPORT TAX MEASURE A, MARCH 5, 2013 ELECTION.  This is a new committee and therefore has no  broadcast or recorded history.

The Subcommittee is an independent subcommittee of the PUSD Budget Advisory Committee (“BAC”). The BAC serves as a community forum for interested community members to receive up-to-date information about the District’s budget. All stakeholder groups, including the Parent and Support Clubs, Employee Associations (APT, CSEA and APSA), Piedmont Educational Foundation, and the community at large, are invited to participate in the BAC.

Members of the Subcommittee shall be active members of the BAC so that they will have current information and understanding of the District budget. However, the Subcommittee will operate independently of the BAC and report directly to the Board of Education.  In addition to the budget information provided to the BAC, the Subcommittee may request additional information relating to the budget or School Support Tax from the Assistant Superintendent for Business Services, who will be the primary point of contact for the Subcommittee.

The Subcommittee shall serve in an advisory capacity to the Board of Education to help review and project the financial needs of the PUSD with respect to the levy of the voter approved School Support Tax. The Subcommittee shall conduct an independent examination of the District’s budget and related documents prior to making formal recommendations in its annual report to the Board.

The scope of work for the Subcommittee shall be limited to advice on whether and to what extent to levy the School Support Tax.

At this time appointments to the Subcommittee have not been made.

Procedures to be followed for Brown Act qualifying City and School meetings include:

Agendas and notices:

Legislative bodies of local agencies covered by the Brown Act must post an agenda for their meetings in a place that is freely accessible to members of the public at least seventy-two hours before the meeting. It also requires the legislative body to mail a copy of the agenda to anyone who has requested notice in writing. (A fee may pertain.)

Documents used during a meeting:

All public participants are entitled to inspect any writing or document distributed to members during a meeting. If a document was prepared by the governmental body itself, you are entitled to inspect it at the time of the meeting. If a document was prepared by someone else, you are entitled to inspect it after the meeting.

Documents distributed to a legislative body:

Distributed documents including emails, letters, memos, staff reports, consultant reports and other written methods are available to the public when requested.


One Response to “Important Public Meetings Not Recorded or Broadcast”

  1. Although they are not listed on the City website, the following are also voting members of the CIP Committee, per the City Clerk’s office:
    Piedmont Beautification Foundation representative: Michelle Winchester
    Park Commission Representative: John Lenahan
    Recreation Commission Representative: Nick Levinson

Leave a Comment