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Brown Act Teleconference Requirements

A few minutes with a Public Agency Attorney

April 07, 2014

The requirements for conducting a teleconference meeting are set forth in California Government Code Section 54953. The basic procedures include identifying the teleconference location on the agenda, posting the agenda at the teleconference location, and ensuring that the public can access the teleconference location, hear the proceedings, and provide comments to the Board. All votes taken during a teleconference meeting must be by roll call and must be publicly reported.

 

 

Question:  Pat, I am a director of a special district and I will be out of town for the upcoming Board meeting. There is an important item on the agenda that I want to participate in. Can I call in to the Board meeting?

Answer:   Yes, the Brown Act allows you to participate in the Board meeting by teleconference as long as certain procedural requirements are satisfied. Specifically, California Government Code Section 54953 requires all of the following:

• A quorum of the Board must participate in the meeting from locations within the District's boundaries. • The agenda must identify the location you will be calling in from (so you must know where you will be at the time the agenda is posted).

• The agenda must be posted at the teleconference location (for example, outside a hotel room or conference center).

• The teleconference location must be open and accessible to the public, including to those with disabilities. • If members of the public are at the teleconference location, they must be able to hear the proceedings and they must be given the right to comment as if they were at the Board meeting location (therefore the telephone must have speakerphone capability).

• All votes taken during a teleconference meeting must be by roll call vote, and the vote must be publicly reported.

These procedural requirements only apply to Board members; District staff and consultants, including legal counsel, may participate in a Board meeting by audio or video without following these procedures. If the Board meeting includes a closed session, the public at the teleconference location should be excluded from the closed session portion of the meeting.


Pat Miyaki has been representing local government agencies for more than 20 years as both general counsel and special counsel. He represents water districts, transportation districts, sanitary districts, cities, and joint powers agencies.

For more information, please contact:

Patrick Miyaki

415-995-5048 Direct Phone
415-995-3512 Fax

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