Idyllwild Water District General Manager Tom Lynch says an individual director has no right to request an item be placed on the agenda.
This was in response to Director Steve Kunkle’s request to place the director’s compensation on the IWD agenda for last week.
“A board member has no power to set the future agenda for a meeting by himself and needs the consent of a majority of the board to add an item to a future agenda,” he wrote in response to a question regarding the process for setting the agency’s agenda.
“That’s interpreting the law in a self-serving way,” said Nikki Moore, legal counsel for the California Newspaper Publishers Association. “It’s not necessary to require consensus of the board.”
According to Lynch, he can set the agenda or a director can ask his colleagues during a meeting to concur with placing the item on a future agenda.
However, at the March meeting, Kunkle’s board colleagues agreed to discuss the compensation at their April meeting.
Lynch adamantly insists a single director does not have authority to place an item on the agenda without concurrence of the majority of the board and says all public agencies interpret the law this way.
Yet, the Hemet Unified School District policy states, “Any board member or member of the public may request that a matter within the jurisdiction of the board be placed on the agenda of a regular meeting.
“The request shall be in writing and be submitted to the superintendent or designee with supporting documents and information, if any, at least one week before the scheduled meeting date.”
Robert Krieger, a Fern Valley Water District director and former board president, confirmed FVWD’s policy is similar to HUSD’s.
Even the Riverside County Board of Supervisors permits an individual board member to place an item on the agenda, according to Ray Smith, Riverside County public information officer.
The Brown Act states, that following public comment “a member of a legislative body … subject to rules or procedures of the legislative body, may … request staff to report back to the body at a subsequent meeting concerning any matter, or take action to direct staff to place a matter of business on a future agenda.”
Lynch interprets this section as allowing an individual board member to make a suggestion for future agenda items, but approval of the board majority is necessary to confirm its addition to the next agenda.
However, Lynch has not provided a copy of the district policy or bylaws that explain IWD’s procedure.
In September 2013, when the directors last raised their compensation, there was no action in the prior meeting to add it to the next agenda.
Former General Manager Terry Lyons simply placed it on the board’s agenda.