I believe the "Task Force" put together by the mayor to be illegal. The more I read and understand of the actions taken by the "Mayor's Fiscal Task Force" I believe their actions and the actions of the mayor to be in violation of Government Code Section 54950, known as the "Brown Act." Reading from the draft report's first paragraph, given to the Voice of San Diego; "the group met weekly for four months to study the overall status of the City's fiscal position. The task force reviewed relevant City of San Diego data and records, (IBA Report #: 09-75, Personnel Expense Analysis, Per Capita Income Comparison, City Revenue Comparisons, Fiscal Year 2001-2015 Five-Year Financial Outlook), as well as similar data from other comparable municipalities. The task force interviewed members of the City's executive staff (including Jay Goldstone and his fiscal team). Also interviewed were the City's Independent Auditor and the Independent Budget Analyst - Andrea Tevlin - with her fiscal team. The task force met with representatives from the County of San Diego, various local constituents, including organized labor, non-profits, private business and citizens groups, and various subject matter experts" it is clear this is NOT an "Ad Hock Committee."
In enacting the "Brown Act," the legislature declared public commissions, boards and councils as well as other public agencies in the State exist to aid in the conduct of the people's business. It was the intent of the legislature, actions be taken openly and the deliberations be conducted openly (in public). The people of this State do not yield their sovereignty to those who serve them. The people, in delegating authority do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created.
The law requires the meetings of this group of civic individuals, brought together by the mayor, to be noticed and open to the public. The secrecy of this group and the actions undertaken on behalf of the mayor, demand the public's knowledge and ability to participate. As stated above, the legislature's intent was to ensure all actions on behalf of the public be done openly. I said in my last post the mayor would attempt to identify this task force as an "Ad Hock Committee" which is not governed by the Brown Act. After reading the draft, linked in a Voice of San Diego article on Friday, November 20, 2009, titled; "Bankruptcy an Option, Says Mayor's Fiscal Task Force" written by Liam Dillon, I believe the mayor and members of this "Task Force" have violated the Brown Act.
The recommendations contained in the "draft" document demand public discussion and input from members of the public. To do so after the fact has proven in the past to be futile and meaningless. The secret activities of the members of this "Task Force" and mayor bring into question the integrity of those involved, as well as the process. Their lack of open discussion and debate leaves one to question the process and outcomes. Reading the draft document leaves a lot of questions unanswered and presents questions of legality. The document is rife with assumptions that in some cases are incorrect and could have been vetted, if discussed in a public forum.
I would urge everyone to read the draft of the mayor's "Fiscal Task Force" report. It is imperative we all understand the issues and recommendations from this group; there is a clear agenda present in their writings. This group and the work they have presented cannot be ignored nor allowed to proceed unchecked. We must become an active participant in our future and demand to be included in the discussions and actions of this group, constituted by the mayor.