Opinion - BOS Fails Fiduciary Obligations, Transparency, and Accountability
This is an opportunity for our civic leaders and ‘California’s oldest newspaper’ to do the right thing by giving this newsworthy matter the appropriate and unbiased attention it deserves.
Melody Lane, Founder – Compass2Truth | Sept 11 2013
Conservatives Serving God in Truth and Liberty. “The further society drifts from truth, the more they will hate those who speak it." ~ George Orwell ~
Chairman Briggs, back in May you publicly committed to respond to me in writing concerning the lack of policy consistency and the timely posting of BOS minutes. On June 25th you were reminded that a written response explaining the BOS deviation from the former practice of listing names & topics in the minutes was expected no later than the end of business day, June 28. There appears to be a double standard, or at best, staff incompetence…Perhaps there’s more going on than meets the eye…???
Before I continue, permit me to remind the Board of your fiduciary obligations and the criminal sanctions as they pertain to the Brown Act and Board minutes…
I’d like to cite a few excerpts from the 15-page notarized affidavit submitted to the 2010 Grand Jury re: May 2010 RMAC Brown Act meeting with Ron Briggs, County Counsel Mike Ciccozzi & Mtn. Democrat reporter Chris Daley:
(35) Ciccozzi: “…The legislative body has the right to approve the minutes, as long as they don’t abuse it. The public may request corrections, but RMAC is under no obligation to do so…They are your minutes, to your liking as long as they reflect the substance of the meeting as a broad brush, not a fine point.”
(**It’s noteworthy that on several occasions I’d appropriately requested corrections to the minutes but they had been denied and deliberately falsified.)
(36)…“The legislative body need not even hear what the public wants. The rights of the public are to address what’s on the agenda. Nothing says the legislative body must listen to it, adopt it or put it on the agenda…The Brown Act is designed to ensure people’s business…The Board of Supervisors, City Council, RMAC are controlled so the public can participate. RMAC must do so fairly and with decorum. They are your proceedings.”
(72) I emphasized this section of the Brown Act reinforces the right to brief discussion “to permit a member of the public to raise an issue or problem with the body, or to permit body to provide information to the public, provide direction to its staff, or schedule the matter for a future meeting.”
(65) Briggs: “…It’s a lot of hard work and you eat a lot of crap for free…You’re an extension of the BOS and County….If someone is saying something that is not correct, you need to protect yourselves. Go hire a lawyer. If someone is continuing the County would probably assist and would seek a restraining order. The public’s business has to be conducted…”
(**Briggs was falsely insinuating that I was the problem.)
(68)…“I think, speaking for myself as a Supervisor, I’m going to give you as much support as I can…I want to help defend you…I don’t want you guys to worry that you’re going to get your names flashed all over the paper or someone is going to say something that is not flattering or untrue. I would eagerly help use the County resources to help prosecute your wish for RMAC and the RMP.”
(82)…(After an interruption a State employee) remarks, “Any other public comments that anyone would like to address on the Brown Act?” (No response) He continues, “Mike, we appreciate your being here…and very eloquently spoken, as usual.”
(83) Ciccozzi retorts with a laugh, “That’s why Ron hired me!”
THIS IS NO JOKING MATTER. These questions beg timely answers:
1. When may I expect a written explanation why my name has been obscured from BOS attachments & the requested changes not made? (*cited below)
2. Explanation for the obvious wink given by County Counsel Ed Knapp to reporter Chris Daley during the Consent portion of 8/27/13 meeting?
3. CAO Form Request for Agenda Item…May we anticipate one for the BOS?
Do you have any questions or comments at this time?
Madam Clerk: Please ensure these items are entered into the public record and posted as “BOS Fiduciary Obligation”:
1. *8/27/13 Approval of Consent Calendar #2 - Questions
2. *8/20/13 Repeat Request Open Forum Items – Questions
3. *6/11/13 Third Request Open Forum Corrections – Questions
4. 2010 Grand Jury Cover Sheet
5. 9/4/13 @ 11:22 AM email to R. Briggs & COB “BOS, IT & EDSO Inquiry”
6. 9/10/11 Consent Transcript (4 min. 45 sec.)
Our Constitution is based upon biblical principles which were established by Almighty God. Today it’s referred to it as Law of the Land.
Proverbs 22:1,5 - Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold…Corrupt people walk a thorny, treacherous road; whoever values life will avoid it. The Bible also says “bad company corrupts good character.”
The Brown Act provides citizens broad Constitutional liberties. Additionally California Ethics law provides only minimum standards for elected representatives’ conduct. They are a floor for conduct, not a ceiling.
Because of the breadth of federal anticorruption law, elected officials should avoid any temptation to walk closely to the line that divides legal from illegal conduct under state law. Even though a course of action may be legal, it doesn’t make it ethical or what one ought to do. CA Transparency & Fair Process laws state in part that you have a fiduciary obligation to:
• Conduct the public’s business in open & publicized meetings
• Allow public inspection of documents and records generated by public agencies
• Cannot retaliate against those who whistle-blow
A man’s word is his honor. Chairman Briggs, you’ve reneged on your oath of office far beyond reasonable limits…
I was deeply offended during the Consent portion of the August 27th BOS meeting when you impugned my good character and reputation after I challenged the content and timing of the August 20th minutes. You also refused to honor your word to respond in writing to legitimate inquiries that should be readily available as basic customer service to constituents.
The public further witnessed ethical transgressions when you created a diversion by falsely accusing me of “welshing” on our last meeting held June 26th regarding the topic of the Next Economy. To welsh:
1. to fail to pay what is owed 2. to go back on one's word as in to welsh on a promise. Renege, swindle, cheat, rip off.
My basic Constitutional liberties were denied when you called a 5 minute recess without cause after I challenged you on matters of ethics, transparency & accountability. Supervisor Mikalaco followed your exit from the room. Citizens cannot tolerate such repeat performances of retaliatory, passive-aggressive conduct or permit it to set a standard.
To their credit Supervisors Veerkamp and Santiago remained seated which spoke volumes. During the break they both assured the Clerk of the Board was supposed to have contacted me about correcting the discrepancies and the inconsistencies concerning the posting of the public minutes and videos to the BOS calendar. I haven’t heard a peep from either the Clerk or Supervisor Briggs. That modus operandi is unacceptable by any standards.
Repeated stonewalling tactics only serves to diminish the credibility of BOS leadership and their ability to function in an ethical, transparent and accountable manner. Does the Board have any comments in this regard?
(Chairman Briggs, now would be an appropriate time to demonstrate whether you are a man or a mouse. A sincere public apology for your disrespectful and unethical conduct would do wonders to improve the authenticity of EDCs leadership. It would also provide reporter Chris Daley an opportunity to redeem the Mtn. Democrat’s tainted reputation.)
(Thank you for the opportunity to make my point about character & public service ethics.)
Madam Clerk: Please ensure these documents are properly entered into the public record and posted with the appropriate title in today’s minutes: “BOS Ethics, Transparency and Accountability.”
1. Email dated 9/4/13 @ 11:22 AM to Ron Briggs & COB subject: “BOS, IT & EDSO Inquiry”
2. Email dated 8/26/13 @ 4:04 PM requesting Item #13 be pulled from 8/27/13 BOS II Consent (no video or 72 hour notice)
3. BOS Open Forum transcript (4 min. 25 sec.)