City Council Pulling Fast Ones
If you're someone who works during the day and you don't see that notice until you get home, there would be no one at City Hall to call to find out more information. Forget the chance for organizations to jump in.
This special meeting was called to consider a plan that proposes $41.3M in pay raises for cetain city employees and $10.4M more in retroactive pay.
In the past, the public had ample time to follow an issue as it goes through committee so they could be ready to provide input by the time it gets to Council.
Now, only the union leaders and City Hall folks know what's going on.
When there is a special meeting called with less than 72 hours notice (usually they're done within 24 hours), the City needs to print on the agenda the reason for the urgency. Then citizens can decide if they buy the reason. What if part of the negotiation was to rush it through Council so that nobody would have time to complain?
But most importantly, the City Council should require that the agendas of the Executive Employee Relations Committee (EERC) be made available to the public through the city's Early Notification subscription system as is done with all the other agendas. Let someone at City Hall explain why only this committee's agendas are only available in the lobby of City Hall, and meeting the minimum standards of the Brown Act.
EERC meetings are covered by the Brown Act. They are allowed to discuss and deliberate personnel issues behind closed doors. But the public is allowed to come and comment on agenda items. The problem is that if you don't know what's being discussed, you simply don't know what to comment on.
Is it really reasonable for a concerned taxpayer in Chatsworth or Willmington to make daily visits to City Hall's lobby?
The other problem is that after a labor matter comes out of EERC, the labor people argue (this happened a few months ago) that if the City Council were to change the EERC's recommendation, it would be "bargaining in bad faith" and the city could be in legal trouble. That point is arguable.