http://almanacnews.com/print/story/print/2012/08/15/brown-act-lapses-nix-menlo-park-meetings


Almanac

News - August 15, 2012

Brown Act lapses nix Menlo Park meetings

by Sandy Brundage

At first glance, it looked like the Menlo Park Transportation Commission — like others — was enjoying some time off during the summer holiday season. The July 11 meeting was canceled; so was the Aug. 8 meeting.

But it turns out the commissioners were ready and willing to work. City staff, however, failed to post the agendas as required by the Brown Act, the state's open meeting law.

The July agenda neglected to indicate that Commission Chair Ray Mueller would be participating via phone, as he was out of town. Because of the oversight, he would not be allowed to participate at all and the commissioners opted to cancel the meeting, according to city transportation engineer Rene Baile.

But then the August agenda failed to appear on time. The Brown Act states agendas must be posted 72 hours in advance of a regular meeting in a location freely accessible to the public. Sources attributed the second error to staff oversight.

The commission will now hold a special meeting on Aug. 15 to catch up. Mr. Baile said that the meeting will incorporate items calendared for the July session. The agenda includes an update on the Valparaiso Safe Routes to School Project as well as discussion of new traffic signs to be placed near schools in the study area as well as along Santa Cruz Avenue.

"The public should be aware that in the next few months the Transportation Commission will be presented with reports proposing numerous modifications to Valparaiso and Santa Cruz avenues. I'd like to encourage members of the public to attend our meetings and provide input to staff. I have been assured that staff's recent difficulties in posting the agendas have been corrected," Mr. Mueller said.

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