>Sonora / Tuolumne News, Sports, & Weather, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, Jamestown | Union Democrat

News Classifieds Web
web powered by Web Search Powered by Google

Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow City's meeting with Cogdill a violation

City's meeting with Cogdill a violation


Four of Sonora City Council's five members violated state open meeting laws when they met with state Assemblyman Dave Cogdill and discussed with him a possible city sales tax increase, according to two legal experts on public meeting law.

Council members would not say the impromptu Oct. 9 meeting violated California's Ralph M. Brown Act, but four of five concede it might have.

Passed in 1953, the Brown Act requires public business to be done in public and that meetings involving a majority of an elected, public board be announced in advance.

The law applies to public commissions, city councils and county boards of supervisors, but not to state government agencies. It details what constitutes a meeting and when local elected officials are allowed to meet in private. The law specifically says a quorum cannot meet behind closed doors except for in certain, specific cases.

The meeting with Cogdill is not one of the allowed closed sessions, according to the Brown Act.

The subject came up at a Brown Act seminar at City Hall on Wednesday night with local attorney Patrick Greenwell, who served for about four years as county counsel. He conducted the seminar for city and county officials, the public and the press. Part of Greenwell's practice still consists of work with governmental agencies on Brown Act cases.

At the session, Greenwell said that had the city council met with Cogdill only in order for him to present information about issues non-specific to Sonora, the meeting might have been within the law.

When the council broached specific city business — mainly the legislative support and steps required to allow the city to put a sales tax increase before voters — is when the violation occurred, Greenwell said.

"It's possible we came very close, or may have (violated the Brown Act). I don't know," Mayor Marlee Powell said.

She was one of the four council members at the meeting with Cogdill, along with Ron Stearn, David Sheppard and Hank Russell. Councilwoman Liz Bass was working that day and did not attend.

Follow UnionDemocrat.com

Get Today's Top Headlines to your inbox

The Union Democrat print edition

The Union Democrat 11/24/15

View Paper

The Union Democrat is now online in a Replica E-edition form and publishes Tuesday through Saturday. E-Edition or Print Plus subscribers have full access.


If you are not a current subscriber, subscribe today for immediate access. Circulation: 209-533-3614

View all The Union Democrat print publications

Weekender by The Union Democrat

Weekly Arts and entertainment guide for Calaveras and Tuolumne counties

Weekender 11/19/15

View Guide

Available online every Friday or get it early in Thursday's print edition.

View past copies of the weekender

Local / Sports / Business / Stocks / News of Record / State / Nation/World / Obituaries / Submit News
Editorials / Letters
Union Democrat Photos / Community Photos /
Search Classifieds / Jobs / Autos / Homes / Rentals / Place an Ad
Online Extras
Weather / Local Business Links / Community Links / Photo Reprints
Union Democrat
About / Contact / Commercial Printing / Subscriptions / Terms of Use / Site Map

© Copyright 2001 - 2015 Western Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. By Using this site you agree to our Terms of Use