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Exactly What is the Board Discussing in Closed Session?

Original post made by MPCSD Employee, Atherton: Lindenwood, on Jun 8, 2014

The MPCSD Board Agenda for the Closed Session on Tuesday, June 10th includes an item titled, “PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT: Human Resource Manager, Director of Facilities and Operations (Discussion)". Since the MPCSD already employs Kathryn Christopherson as the Human Resources Manager and Ahmad Sheikholeslami as the Director of Facilities and Operations, exactly what is the Board planning to discuss in Closed Session? I believe the Agenda item requires more specificity to meet the requirements of the Brown Act.

On another note, the Salary Schedule up for approval during Open Session at Tuesday’s meeting lists the top annual salary for Ms. Christopherson as $120,206 and for Mr. Sheikholeslami as $167,532.

Comments (10)

Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 8, 2014 at 7:42 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This is what the law requires:

"At least 72 hours prior to a regular meeting, the body must post an agenda containing
a brief general description of each item to be discussed or transacted at the meeting,
including items to be discussed in closed session. (§ 54954.2(a).) The Act makes it
clear that discussion items must be placed on the agenda, as well as items which may
be the subject of action by the body.
The purpose of the brief general description is to inform interested members of the
public about the subject matter under consideration so that they can determine whether
to monitor or participate in the meeting of the body. "


Posted by MPCSD Employee
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 8, 2014 at 7:47 pm

Peter:

Do you think "Public Employment" as the description for a discussion regarding 2 current employees is a sufficient description of the Closed Session Agenda item?


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 8, 2014 at 7:50 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Do you think "Public Employment" as the description for a discussion regarding 2 current employees is a sufficient description of the Closed Session Agenda item?"

NO


Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Jun 8, 2014 at 7:53 pm

When it comes to closed session agenda items related to personnel, I think that there are additional rules which apply in what can be described, given the confidential aspects of employment. I may be incorrect, but if memory serves inefficiently, as mine sometimes does, I think that employment issues are even more carefully stated than, say, litigation from a resident against the city.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 8, 2014 at 8:23 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is the law regarding closed session personnel items:

"PUBLIC EMPLOYEE APPOINTMENT
Title: (Specify description of position to be filled)
PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT
Title: (Specify description of position to be filled)
PUBLIC EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE EVALUATION
Title: (Specify position title of employee being reviewed)
PUBLIC EMPLOYEE DISCIPLINE/DISMISSAL/RELEASE
(No additional information is required in connection with a closed
session to consider discipline, dismissal, or release of a public
employee. Discipline includes potential reduction of compensation.)"

So if the position is already filled then the agenda MUST specify either PUBLIC EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE EVALUATION or PUBLIC EMPLOYEE DISCIPLINE/DISMISSAL/RELEASE.

If it is PUBLIC EMPLOYEE DISCIPLINE/DISMISSAL/RELEASE then the employee must be given prior notice and the right to appear and be represented.


Here is the League of Cities guidance on this matter:

"The Brown Act authorizes a closed session “to consider the appointment,
employment, evaluation of performance, discipline, or dismissal of a public
employee or to hear complaints or charges brought against the employee.”17 The
purpose of this exception – commonly referred to as the “personnel exception”
– is to avoid undue publicity or embarrassment for an employee or applicant for
employment and to allow full and candid discussion by the legislative body; thus,
it is restricted to discussing individuals, not general personnel policies. The body
must possess the power to appoint, evaluate, or dismiss the employee to hold
a closed session under this exception.That authority may be delegated to a
subsidiary appointed body.
An employee must be given at least 24 hours notice of any closed session
convened to hear specific complaints or charges against him or her. This occurs when the legislative body is reviewing evidence, which could include live testimony, and adjudicating conflicting testimony offered as evidence. The employee has the right to have the specific complaints and charges discussed in a public session rather than closed session. If the employee is not given notice, any disciplinary action is null and void."


Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jun 9, 2014 at 12:27 pm

I wonder what the rules are for discussing a reorganization, or promotion, or for significantly changing someone's job description/title/duties? Those don't clearly fall into the categories of Appointment, Employment, Performance Evaluation, or Discipline, especially for someone already employed. More detail is definitely needed to properly inform the public. But the district had been notoriously vague in the past.


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 9, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"I wonder what the rules are for discussing a reorganization, or promotion, or for significantly changing someone's job description/title/duties? "

IF the Board wishes to discuss those issues it MUST do so in Open Session.

Here is the League of Cities guidance:

"The personnel exception specifically prohibits discussion or action on proposed compensation in closed session, except for a disciplinary reduction in pay. Among other things, that means there can be no personnel closed sessions on a salary change (other than a disciplinary reduction) between any unrepresented individual and the legislative body. However, a legislative body may address the compensation of an unrepresented individual, such as a city manager, in a closed session as part of a labor negotiation (discussed later in this chapter), yet another example of the importance of using correct agenda descriptions. Reclassification of a job must be public, but an employee’s ability to fill that job may be considered in closed session."


Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jun 9, 2014 at 4:35 pm

I believe both the Human Resources Manager and the Director of Facilities and Operations would be unrepresented. The League of Cities guidance is unclear: "there can be no personnel closed sessions on salary change... between any unrepresented individual and the legislative body." However, "compensation of an unrepresented individual" can be discussed in closed session "as part of a labor negotiation?" Hence, the board CAN discuss certain things regarding these individuals and their roles/compensation in closed session, yes? As long as it's considered part of "a labor negotiation?" All the more reason for the agenda to be more descriptive so that it is clear what is being discussed and the appropriateness is transparent!


Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 9, 2014 at 4:43 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Again here is the guidance from the League of Cities re closed session labor negotiations:
" Labor negotiations—school and comm unity college districts
Employee relations for school districts and community college districts are governed by the Rodda Act, where different meeting and special notice provisions apply. The entire board, for example, may negotiate in closed sessions.
Four types of meetings are exempted from compliance with the Act:
(1) a negotiating session with a recognized or certified employee organization;
(2) a meeting of a mediator with either side;
(3) a hearing or meeting held by a fact finder or arbitrator; and
(4) a session between the board and its bargaining agent, or the board alone, to discuss its position regarding employee working conditions and instruct its agent.

Public participation under the Rodda Act also takes another form. All initial proposals of both sides must be presented at public meetings and are public records. The public must be given reasonable time to inform itself and to express its views before the district may adopt its initial proposal. In addition, new topics of negotiations must be made public within 24 hours. Any votes on such a topic must be followed within 24 hours by public disclosure of the vote of each member. The final vote must be in public."


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda

on Sep 27, 2017 at 8:09 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


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