Archive for April, 2011
In an effort to better comply with the state’s laws on open meetings and public records, The City of Saratoga has adopted a new electronic communication policy for its council members and planning commission members. “We are in a constant state of discussion about the best way for the city to comply with its various obligations under the law, and the various interests and desires and demands of a community that communicates with the city via e-mail,” said city attorney Richard Taylor during a joint meeting between the council and commission. Although current laws were “developed in the days of pen and paper,” they still apply to current forms of electronic communication, he added.
Council and commission members who were using their personal e-mail accounts to respond to questions and comments from citizens were given a new city e-mail account and were warned by Taylor to no longer use their personal e-mail accounts for city business. “If you were to use your personal account for city business, then when we get a public records request, we have to be sure to look through your personal accounts,” Taylor said. “If we get sued, we have to tell you to freeze and not delete anything in your personal or business accounts.”
The policy also forbids the council from using “e-communication” during meetings.
The group also discussed adding a text message to the top of all e-mail communications that would alert members and residents not to forward any communication from one council member to another. E-mails communications that discuss policy issues among a majority of the council members can be defined as a “serial meeting,” which is illegal under the state’s open meeting law, the Ralph M. Brown Act.
Saratoga News, 9/1/09
The VoSD has been covering the spectrum of participants in the negotiations over finding an avenue for pension reform in San Diego. The talks don’t even seem to include a seat at the table for the staff, which is unfortunate. Compare that to the Encinitas City Council majority who have avoided this issue for years and is now either saying they don’t want discussions, much less decisions, on pension policy before going into secret backroom meetings with the unions.