Herding cats: Policy and Reality

23 Sep

Just a brief update on the Brown Act.  Here’s the opinion of Richard Mahon, published by the ASCCC:  Herding Cats…

He cites California Attorney General opinion 83-304, dated July 28, 1983, in which the Attorney General finds that Academic Senates must follow the Brown Act because they are subsidiary creations of a School Board.

The ASCCC has tried to do training on this for some time, by the Constitutions, By-Laws and participatory governance documents of many colleges do not line up with Brown Act requirements.  It could be that many Senates are ignoring their own by-laws and following the Brown Act anyway, but can’t find the time to revise their documents (it can be a lengthy process).

I went and looked at 11 more or less randomly chosen California community colleges and found that constitutions and by-laws/manuals run this way:  8 do not follow the Brown Act, 3 do.  I hope to find out more about this at the plenary session in November.

Not everyone agrees with Richard Mahon, of course, but I think his position is the official position of the ASCCC and that’s good enough for me.  He also says the Brown Act applies to subcommittees (so we’re all good at OC).

But it leaves me scratching my head about the District’s Committees – they are subcommittees of the Board itself.  They are not following the Brown Act and their PGHandbook specifically states they don’t have to.

Can anyone explain that to me?  Anyway, see yesterday’s much longer post on the Brown Act for more of my puzzlement.

1 Comment

Posted by on September 23, 2012 in Background & Viewpoint, District Level Documents, Laws


One response to “Herding cats: Policy and Reality

  1. LLL

    September 25, 2012 at 10:58 am

    I sort of answered my own question. The Board has Board Subcommitees that they actually sit on, as members (like we in the AS sit on subcommittees). THOSE are Brown Act! It’s odd though that hardly anyone goes to those. We could. The committees upon which faculty sit as regular members are segregated from the committees on which Board Members sit as regular members, and the ones we sit on are considered purely advisory (I think this is the answer). More later.


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