Welcome to the Bad ol’ Days of Closed Government with a Bunker Mentality in Pacific Grove.
Current Pacific Grove City Manager Tom Frutchey takes every advantage of loopholes in the Open Meeting law (Brown Act) to avoid informing the public about important City activities.
Today is Tuesday April 10, tomorrow is Wednesday April 11.
Is there anything special going on at the City Council ?
However tomorrow is a Highly important City Council meeting – where City Manager Tom Frutchey will be presenting a bunch of his important issues – primarily how to raise taxes on residents.
By no coincidence City Manager Frutchey is the same person who makes almost every decision on Agendas; what is on it and whether an item goes at the start or the end (after you’ve probably left), and how an Agenda item is described – or made benignly obscure so you can’t figure out that it is important.
Update: April 11, 2012. Finally on the city’s website there is an agenda claiming to be for today’s Continued City Council meeting.
Sadly, (and this should answer one question) it is NOT for the Council meeting, but for a different meeting taking place on Thursday. (Thanks to Esther T. for alerting us.)
Q: How can an important City Council meeting not be on the city website? Isn’t that illegal?
A: City Manager Tom Frutchey is getting away with it because the Open Meeting law (Brown Act) does not require reasonable notice of “Continued Meetings” –
And the items on this “Continued Meeting” agenda are all continued from last week’s Council meeting.
Q: So how can one find out that the meeting is occurring and what’s on the agenda?
A: There MIGHT be a notice on the wall at City Hall. But who knows when it might show up?
Q: And how can I read the packet materials?
A: Go home and look up the city website for last week’s meeting, then click on the agenda items with (hopefully) the same titles.
Q: What if I forgot which items are on the agenda that is only on the City posting wall?
A: Hey – the Open Meeting law doesn’t require much of anything for a Continued meeting – “too bad for you.”
(Hmmm . . . Could a scoundrel City Manager actually plan this by intentionally putting a bunch of important issues at the end of an agenda – so they would have to be continued to another meeting where normal advance notice is not required? Answer: Yes.)
Commentary: This is a serious loophole in the Open Meeting law that Current Pacific Grove City Manager Tom Frutchey takes advantage of.
This loophole needs repairs. Assemblyman Monning is the fellow to carry this legislation.
You can call Bill at 649-2832
But there’s More —
City Manager Tom Frutchey has instituted another policy hostile to public participation: Holding regular “Special” meetings. Now every Council meeting has a “Special” meeting preceding it.
“Special” meetings only need 24 hours notice – one-third of what regular meeting require.
Bill can you please fix these loopholes?