The Riverside County Board of Supervisors developed an ingenious idea recently to deal with that pesky state open-meeting law, the Brown Act.
In its straining to develop a balanced budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year a few weeks back, Supv. Kevin Jeffries saw a need to create four subcommittees to deal with areas of the county government the board and CEO believes need addressing. The supervisors believe — and rightly so — they need to provide strong oversight in developing the budget.
But back at the table, on the advice of CEO Jay Orr and county counsel, in a 4-1 vote, the board decided the Brown Act would create intrusiveness into those subcommittees’ deliberations. They scratched the subcommittees.
Chair John Benoit justified this decision by telling Jeffries, “This is a very important area and we need to spend more time on it.” Jeffries, the only one opposed, was stunned.
As he stated, “This needs to be done in public, in compliance with the Brown Act, and with open discussions.”
No, Jeffries, you don’t get it. It costs too much money to be transparent — to prepare and post agendas, allow the public and the press into meetings where they might muck-up the proceedings with questions/comments and otherwise just slow down the whole process.
The county budget is just too important to let the county residents interfere in the supervisors’ important doings.
The people/reporters should be kept out and let the leaders do their business. They might not like what the supervisors decide but they’ll have to live with it. Afterall, it’s for their own good.
Isn’t that how it’s done in other countries?
Becky Clark, Editor