Dislike of the California Open Records Law
Council Member Gaspar admitted to the Union-tribune that she purposely used her personal email address to (incorrectly) avoid the California Public Record Act’s requirement for full disclosure.
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
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