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County Board of Supervisors Accused of Violating Brown Act

Published on Wednesday, May 31, 2023 | 5:15 pm

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors have been accused of violating the state’s open meeting law.

At issue is the Board of Supervisors sessions in regard to the county’s Probation Department meetings in closed sessions on March 24 and April 18. The meeting occurred after state regulators warned county officials that the state was recommending a move to shut down the county’s two juvenile halls.

In a letter, lawyers for the Los Angeles Times are requesting the supervisors turn over transcripts of the meetings. The letter cites a statement by Supervisor Janice Hahn, saying the board was trying to “figure out a path forward to keep both the young people in our halls and our staff safe and supported” during the March 24 closed session.

The Brown Act prohibits policy discussion behind closed doors and any agreement on a “way forward” could be construed as an illegal vote and a violation of the Ralph M. Brown Act which guarantees, among other things, the public can view open meetings.

Closed session meetings are allowed for discussion of certain matters including litigation and personnel issues. 

“What you can’t do is use that as a guise to talk about policy- oriented decisions that the public has a right to be a part of,” said attorney Kelly Aviles, who wrote the April 21 letter on behalf of The Times.

The closed sessions in both meetings were listed as department head performance evaluations on the agendas.

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