An Encino Neighborhood Council (ENC) board member removed himself from the group's meeting Wednesday after claiming that the council violated the Brown Act, the state's open-meeting law.
Board member Glenn Bailey alleged that the ENC consistently failed to appropriately document items that were to be discussed on its agendas and that in doing so the council was in violation of the act.
“The Brown Act states that each item [of discussion] must be on the agenda,” said Bailey. “And it must be described in approximately 20 words so that the general public would know by looking at the agenda what the topics are that the board will be considering.”
In fact, there were no item descriptions on the official copy of the 74-page agenda for the meeting. Instead there were attachments of documents regarding the items that were to be discussed.
“It’s my contention that anything you do that is not properly agendized is in violation of state law, and I do not wish to participate in that violation,” said Bailey.
ENC President Louis Krokover later said he was told by the city attorney that document attachments suffice as notification.
“I asked the city attorney’s office if I show [in the description area] as ‘See Attached’ and I include the documents in full detail…and the city attorney’s office said it would not be a violation as long as we attached everything, which we have.”
Bailey claimed the ENC knowingly voted to ignore the Brown Act at its January meeting when it approved a $500 donation for the community center's that was not properly agendized; a vote he said was overruled by the city attorney. The city attorney asked the council to hold a special meeting with that item properly agendized, which they did on Feb. 2.
“The ENC has never been reprimanded or cited by the city attorney’s office. Ever,” said ENC secretary Shelley Rivlin. Rivlin has been a member of the board for eight years and an executive committee member for five years.
Deputy City Attorney Rita Venegas did not return two phone calls and e-mails seeking comment.
Both Krokover and Rivlin went on to say that the ENC has always been used as an example of guidance for other neighborhood councils in the area.
Before he left, Bailey noted that he was planning on taking up action with the city attorney about these alleged violations.
“You either follow the law,” said Bailey, “Or you don’t.”
Noteworthy action on agenda items
- ENC approved a $350 donation to Recreation and Parks for its “April Spring Egg Hunt.”
- The Public Safety Committee put forth and passed motions to donate $150 to the First Presbyterian Church of Encino for Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) training.
- It was announced that Metro and Caltrans have decided not to build a parallel bridge to Mulholland Drive due to a potential lawsuit and a dislike of the design that was presented. Read more about that decision .