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Current Council Agenda and Past Meeting Information

Meeting Date: May 24, 2005

Subject/Title: Adoption of Commissioner Handbook

Prepared by: Craig Bronzan, Director of Parks and Recreation
Karen Chew, Assistant City Manager
Howard Sword, Community Development Director

Submitted by: Donna Landeros, City Manager


Approve the City of Brentwood Commissioner Handbook for distribution to all current and future appointees to all City Commissions.


In the fall of 2004 a group of Department Directors began to meet and discuss the preparation of a Commissioner Handbook for use by all City Commissioners. It was felt that a standard handbook could be used as a part of general training for City Commissioners to help them understand their role, City expectations, and how they are a part of the “big picture” of all commissions. Sample handbooks were collected from various cities and after review by the Directors and other City staff, the City of Brentwood Commissioner Handbook was developed. We took what we felt was the “best of the best” information for inclusion into our Handbook and tailored it to fit our community.

This Handbook will be a useful resource and reference guide to both new and existing Commission members and will be a part of training that is established for all existing and new commissioners. Standard Operating Procedures and consistent decorum will help facilitate more productive and efficient meetings. This will also assist in achieving a common vision among the Commissions regarding how meetings are run and orientate the role of a Commissioner.




• City of Brentwood Commissioner Handbook


1. Introduction 1
2. Core Values 2
3. Organizational Chart 3
4. City Departments/Contacts 4
5. Individual Commission and Meeting Information 5
6. Roles 9
7. Commission Norms
a. Productive Norms 10
8. Responsibilities of Commissioners 11
9. Relationships
a. Committee Relationships
b. Basic Guidelines
c. Relationships with other Committee Members
d. Relationships with Council
e. Relationships with Staff Liaison
f. Relationships with the Public 12
10. Meeting Basics
a. Preparation for Meetings
b. Attendance 16
11. Rules of Debate
a. Chair
b. Advisory Body Members
c. Addressing the Advisory Body 17
12. Decorum in Meetings
a. Proceedings
b. Managing Difficult Meetings 19
13. Elective Office and Commission Positions on Legislation 22
14. Conflict of Interest 23
15. Ralph M. Brown Act 24
16. Conclusion 29

City at a Glance 30
Chairman’s Manual 31
Council Rules 40
Travel Policy 64

Congratulations on your recent appointment to one of Brentwood’s Commissions or Committees! Your appointment is an honor and reflects the City Council’s confidence in your ability and judgment. The City Council and Staff look forward to working with you and to receiving the benefit of your insight and guidance during the process of decision making. As a member of a City Commission or Committee, you have the opportunity to help mold Brentwood’s future.
This handbook has been prepared to help orient you concerning the functions and activities of the Commission or Committee to which you have been appointed. The handbook is designed to contribute to your general knowledge and understanding of public affairs, and to aid in identifying the scope and parameters of your duties and responsibilities. It is also part of an effort to make it as easy as possible for you to enjoy the experience of serving on a City commission, committee or board.

We hope that this handbook will provide you with the necessary information to understand the role of your commission, committee or board and your responsibilities as a member of same.
While participation on a City Commission or Committee is a major responsibility, we hope that it will prove to be a meaningful and rewarding experience for you. City service provides opportunities to gain a greater understanding of the issues facing municipal government and to become actively involved in resolving those issues in a manner that reflects the best interests of the community.
We hope that you will enjoy your tenure as a vital part of the City’s team and sincerely thank you for your willingness to devote your time and energy to serve your community.
Each description of a law or legal requirement in these materials is intentionally brief. Any questions regarding this information and requests for additional information should be directed to your Staff Liaison or the City Attorney.

Core Values
The City of Brentwood adopted the following Core Values and the “Brentwood Way” on September 14, 2004:
We hold these as our core values, and use them to measure everything we do.

The Brentwood Way
• “Good enough” is never good enough and we find a way to do it better.
• Striving to be the best. The best is never defined or constrained; it is never reached and we advance the standard every day.
• Taking the best of both business and government for the benefit of the community.

City Organizational Chart

City Departments/Contacts
Title Name Phone No. E-Mail
City Manager Donna Landeros 516-5440
Assistant City Manager Karen Chew 516-5440
City Attorney 516-5440
City Clerk 516-5440
Director of Community Development Howard Sword 516-5405
Director of Public Works Paul Zolfarelli 516-6000
Director of Finance and Information Systems Pam Ehler 516-5460
Police Chief Michael Davies 634-6911
Director of Parks & Recreation Craig Bronzan 516-5444
City Engineer Bailey Grewal 516-5420

Individual Commission and Meeting Information

The following is a list of the City Council, Commissions, and Committees:

Title No. of Members Meeting locations Meeting Times Length of Term
Arts Commission Up to 25 Tech Center 4th Wednesday of each month, 7 p.m. 3 years
Brentwood Advisory Neighborhood Committee (BANC) 8 Community Development Conference Room 7 p.m. n/a
Citizens Advisory Committee Regarding Community Facilities 9 Tech Center 3rd Monday of each month, 7:30 p.m. n/a
Parks & Recreation Commission 5 Council Chamber 4th Thursday of each month,
7 p.m. 3 years
Planning Commission 5 Council Chamber 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each month, 7 p.m. 2 years
Redevelopment Agency (RDA) Project Area Committee 5 Community Development Conference Room 3rd Wednesday of each month, 6 p.m. n/a
Youth Commission 13 Council Chamber 1st Wednesday of each month,
7 p.m. 2 years
• Tech Center – Brentwood Education and Technology Center, 101 B Sand Creek Road
• Council Chamber – 734 Third Street
• Community Development Conference Room – 104 Oak Street
Planning Commission
The Planning Commission recommends plans for the regulation of future growth, development and beautification of the City. They also carry out the provisions of the zoning ordinance.

2.20.080 of the Municipal Code states:
The planning commission shall have the following powers and duties:
A. To recommend to the proper officers of the city, plans for the regulation of the future growth and development and beautification of the city;
B. To carry out the provisions of the zoning ordinance of the city (Title 17 of this code) and to undertake the study for, preparation and recommendation of a master plan or amendments thereto covering a comprehensive, long-term general plan for the physical development of the city and of any land outside its boundaries which in the commission's judgment bears relation to the development of the city;
C. To do such other things as may be required by other ordinances of the city or by state law.

This five-member commission meets on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 7 p.m. Their Chairman and Vice Chairman are elected on an annual basis. Staff Liaison is Planning Manager Heidi Kline. She can be reached at (925) 516-5154.

Parks and Recreation Commission

The Parks and Recreation Commission provides recommendations to the City Council with reference to construction and use of City park and recreation facilities. The Commission reviews park designs and maintenance standards/policies for all landscaped facilities maintained by the City. They also provide feedback to staff in regards to recreation programming and general use of City facilities. Another responsibility they have is to make recommendations for the requests and suggestions they review from our citizens and user groups.

The authority for the Parks and Recreation Commission is granted via Title 2, Chapter 2.46 of the City of Brentwood Municipal Code.

Five members compose the Parks and Recreation Commission. The officers of this Commission are the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson, each of whom hold one-year terms. The Vice-Chairperson automatically ascends into the position of Chairperson at the conclusion of the chairperson’s term. Election of officers occurs at the regularly scheduled meeting in January.

All seats are nominated by the Mayor and appointed by the Council. Terms are staggered so that no more than two terms shall expire in any one-year. The maximum term for any one Commissioner is three consecutive three-year terms.

The Commission or the Chairperson may appoint several of its members to serve on special committee assignments.

Staff Liaison is Park Services Manager Ken De Silva. You may reach him at (925) 516-5375.

BANC Commission

The Brentwood Advisory Neighborhood Committee (BANC) includes residents from various neighborhoods throughout the City. The Committee serves on special task forces to study City issues and to work on projects such as “Home of the Month” program, Christmas tree lighting in November, and Christmas lighting contest in December to help draw the citizens of Brentwood together as a united community.

Sub-committee authorized by the City Council.

There are currently nine members on BANC, including a Chairperson and a Vice-Chairperson. The maximum membership is 20. Terms run in three year increments, however extensions may be granted by the City Manager and 2/3 vote by the Committee. Staff Liaison is Associate Engineer Brian Bornstein and you may reach him at (925) 516-5173.

Arts Commission

Vision Statement
Enriching our community through the arts.

Mission Statement
The mission of the Arts Commission is to promote, encourage and stimulate the development of and interest in the fine and performing arts, and to act in an advisory capacity to the City concerning its artistic and cultural development.

2.44.020 of the Municipal Code states:
The arts commission shall have the general powers and duties as follows:
A. Encourages, stimulates, promotes and fosters programs for the cultural enrichment of the city and thereby contributes to the quality of life in Brentwood and develops an awareness in the business community, in local government, and in the general public of the value of the arts in Brentwood:
• Publicize arts opportunities,
• Encourage talent,
• Interpreting the community’s diverse interests in arts and striving to meet those needs,
• Coordinating arts resources for the community and the artist,
• Commissioning and placing of public art,
• Promote art as a reflection of the historical nature of the community,
• Elevate the city’s commitment to the overall enhancement of its cultural life to co-equal status with recreation, planning, human services, youth, etc.
• Provide expertise in the area of public art and in-depth knowledge of the fine and performing arts,
• Work cooperatively with the organizational structure of the city and department of parks and recreation,
• Act as a resource in areas related to public art and the arts in general,
• Serve as a review board for requests for funding from arts-related city-sponsored grants programs,
• Oversee the development of a city cultural plan;
B. Perform other related functions, which may come before the commission;
C. Initiate, sponsor, or conduct alone or in cooperation with other public or private agencies and/or individuals, programs to further the development and public awareness of, and interest in, the fine and performing arts;
D. Solicit funding from private, state, and federal sources available for the fine and performing arts.

The Arts Commission consists of __ members, including a Chair, Vice-Chair and Past-Chair. Nominations are held in October, with elections running in November. Newly elected officers start their terms every January, as terms last one year. However, there is a renewal option for up to three total terms. Staff Liaison is Rebekah Burr-Siegel who can be contacted at (925) 516-5376.

Youth Commission

The Youth Commission’s purpose is to create a safe, youth oriented environment that promotes motivation, interaction, and unity within the community.

• To promote healthy living and positive decision making among youth
• To visibly and positively represent the youth of Brentwood
• To assist youth in better understanding the relationships between business and government
• To positively promote the Youth Commission through activities and promotions
• To generate a larger voice for the youth in the Brentwood Area
• To provide a forum for the youth to express their concerns and views
City Council established a Youth Commission on April 27, 1999 and passed Resolution No. 99-112.

This commission meets the first Wednesday of each month and consists of a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer, Immediate Past Chairperson and Adult Supervisors. Terms are two years for the Youth Commissioners and three years for the Adult Advisors. Staff Liaison is Recreation Services Supervisor Tom Burt. You may reach him at (925) 516-5351.

The Council’s Roles are as follows:
• Make policy
• Direct City Manager to carry out policy
• Solicit input from commissions on issues in their various functional areas unless there are legal or time constraints

The Commission’s Roles are as follows:
• Advise Council on policy that assists Council in carrying out their responsibilities
• Provide citizen input by being positive representatives of the Council and the community

The Staff’s Roles are as follows:
• Research and investigate issues, prepare alternatives and recommendations for commission and Council review, and to implement Council policy decisions
• Provide Staff Liaison and clerical support to the Commission under the guidance of the Department Head (and ultimately, the City Manager)

The Advisory Role

Ad hoc committees are formed for a specific purpose and dissolve after completing their mission. Blue ribbon committees are an example of this type. Others, such as planning commissions, become an integral part of the governmental structure.

Advisory boards also differ in their duties and responsibilities. Many are entirely advisory to the elected body. Others, such as licensing or library commissions are empowered to decide specific issues.

If the organization is to function effectively, there must be clarity, understanding and acceptance of the roles assigned to the elected body, commissions and staff. If advisory board members stray from their original charge and get into areas that rightfully belong to the staff or elected officials, confusion, inaction or destructive conflict can result.

Commission Norms

One of the first things members learn is that there are written and unwritten rules (norms) that a commission follows. These rules have been established over time and have an original basis that may or may not be valid today.

Some examples of commission norms are as follows:

A. Productive Norms:
• We do our homework
• We explain actions in concise thoughts
• We compliment colleagues and staff whenever an opportunity arises
• We try to involve residents in a solution
• We work for consensus on important issues
• Always be on time for meetings
• Be attentive
• We do not criticize staff in public
• We only speak on issues if we have something to add
• We avoid plotting actions before the meeting and/or voting with our friends

Responsibilities of Commissioners

While specific duties of each City commission, committee or board member vary widely with the purpose for which they are formed, there are certain responsibilities that are common to all members. The following is a summary of those responsibilities:
1. Understand the role and scope of responsibility - be informed of the individual commission, committee’s or board’s scope of responsibility and operating procedures.
2. Be careful to represent the majority views of your individual commission, committee or board. Individual “opinions” to the public and press are discouraged and, if given, should be identified as such.
3. Members should represent the public interest and not special interest groups.
4. Good communications - Members are in a unique position of serving as a liaison between the City and its citizens and can help to reconcile contradictory viewpoints and to build a consensus around common goals and objectives. Members serve as a communication link between the community, staff and City, presenting City programs and recommendations and providing a channel for citizen expression.
5. Do your homework and be thorough in recommendations - View situations under consideration prior to the meeting in order to be fully prepared to discuss, evaluate, and act on all matters scheduled for consideration. Conclusions based on same will strengthen the value of the group’s recommendations.
6. Supportive relationships with the City Council and City staff are essential for successful operation of any commission, committee or board. The proper channel to contact City personnel on items of consideration is through the designated City staff liaison providing staff support for your group.
7. Establish a good working relationship with fellow group members - Respect individual viewpoints, allow other members time to present their views fully before making comments, be open and honest, welcome new members, strive to minimize political action on issues.
8. Council appointments to commissions, committees and boards are made without regard to political party affiliation. Members are not restricted from participating in political activities. However, members may not use or involve their membership in the conduct of political activities.

A. Committee Relationships
Individual committee members should present views and recommendations representing the committee as a body -- not personal individual views. Members expressing views not approved by the majority of a committee should clearly express that their opinions reflect their personal perspective as a “private citizen.” Individual opinions must be identified as such. Public statements should not include promises that may be construed to be binding on the committee, City Council or staff. When making a public statement, members should indicate that committee actions are recommendations and that final action will be taken by the City Council. Committee members may be selected on the basis of representing defined groups; however, each member should represent the overall “public good”, not an exclusive group, or special interest.
B. Basic Guidelines

Work to establish a good relationship with other committee members. The success or failure of committee efforts may be dependent upon the degree of cooperation evident among the individual members of the body.

C. Relationships with Other Committee Members

Each member should keep in mind these important points:
The association with other committee members is very important as you serve on the committee. Before talking about relationships it may be well to point out a few facts about committee members. Committee members come from various backgrounds - education, occupational, religious, social, economic, physical, and cultural - and differences do exist. It is important to recognize that the reason for serving on a committee will vary and perhaps some will have a special interest. Each member will contribute in his/her own way and is an important part of the decision-making process. Do not expect every member to give of his/her time, talent and knowledge to the same degree. Some will give more and others will give less, but in the end the community will benefit. Bearing this in mind, the following relationships may serve as a guideline:

1. Always respect other individuals viewpoint even though it may be opposite of your own.
2. Allow the other individual to articulate his/her own views and then attempt to make an objective evaluation of those views.
3. Evaluation of our fellow member's viewpoint should be based on what is best for the total community and what is best for all concerned.
4. There will be times when political action among the committee is apparent; strive to minimize whenever possible.
5. Be open and honest at all times.
6. Each committee member has a responsibility to recognize new committee members and see that they are made welcome, become oriented, and receive training.

D. Relationships with Council

The purposes of Commissions and Committees are to expand the opportunity for citizen input and participation, study issues, and make recommendations to the City Council. As an advisor to the City Council, Commission and Committee members must be continually aware that the decisions formed by the Council, even after receiving and evaluating the recommendations from the various advisory bodies, are not easily made.
The Council possesses the ultimate political and legal responsibility for the conduct of local government and the overall welfare of the community. It is important to recognize that not all of the recommendations made by the various Commissions and Committees will be accepted by the City Council. Council actions which vary from Commission/Committee recommendations do not imply a lack of confidence or disinterest in the advisory bodies’ decisions. Council Members must weigh the advice provided by advisory bodies against a broader scope of considerations as they reach the decisions for which they are responsible.
Although a Commission or Committee may disagree with the final decision that Council makes on an issue, the Commission or Committee should not act in any manner contrary to the established policy adopted by the Council.
Committee members are expected to recognize the following items:

1. The committee should assist the City Council in developing public trust in the advisory committee system; and
2. The committee should be sensitive to city priorities and know when to take a stand.

E. Relationships with Staff and Staff Liaison

The Staff assigned to a Commission or Committee provides basic support and technical advice for the Commission or Committee. Staff handles administrative duties, prepares meeting agendas, staff reports, and records minutes. Commission and Committee members may not direct Staff to initiate programs, conduct major studies, or establish official policy without the approval of the City Council.

Committee members should feel free to contact the Staff Liaison for inquiries and/or support purposes. It should be understood, however, that committee members are responsible for all committee work. Staff Liaisons will provide direction, guidance, as well as clerical and/or organizational or administrative support to committees on an as needed basis.
F. Relationships with the Public
Commission and Committee members serve as a liaison between the City and the general public. Thus, each member functions as a communication link between the community and the City, explaining City programs and recommendations, as well as providing a channel for citizen expression.
Commission and Committee meetings should be conducted in a manner that is conducive to a productive exchange of ideas and perspectives. A non-threatening atmosphere should be prevalent and steps should be taken to ensure that members of the public are free to express their views without fear of ridicule or belittlement by anyone with an opposing viewpoint.
Commission and Committee members should conduct themselves in a manner that demonstrates fairness and professionalism. Members should be considerate of all interests and value differences of opinion. Additionally, members should remain open-minded, objective, and make no judgment or engage in any partisan position until all of the available evidence pertaining to an issue has been submitted. Common courtesy is expected from City representatives at all levels of the organization.
It is important to recognize that as a committee member your actions and comments are often interpreted to be that of the entire committee, the staff, or the City. A committee member's comments to the press or other public utterances are sometimes misinterpreted even though you state that you are speaking for yourself. They may be at odds with the committee’s goals, objectives or overall policy. It is very important that an individual be clear when stating opinion.
Members of the public are also expected to conform to an acceptable standard of conduct. Any person who willfully interrupts a public meeting or acts so as to render the orderly conduct of the meeting infeasible may be barred from further attendance at the meeting by the Commission or Committee or by the Chairperson. An individual so barred may not return for the remainder of the meeting unless permission is granted by a majority vote of the Commission or Committee.
The following guidelines are offered:

1. There should be no promises made to the public that are binding on the committee, staff, or City Council.
2. Comments to the public and the press must be factual.
3. The committee members have an obligation to listen to comments or complaints of the public.
City Commissions and Committees are not involved in the administration or operation of City departments. The City’s Staff reports to the Department Head, who in turn reports to the City Manager. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the Department Head and/or City Manager to allocate staff time and efforts and direct the priority of work.
Staff members are not considered members of a Commission or Committee and have no power to vote in Commission/Committee matters. Because of their support position, Staff does not respond to questions from the public at a meeting unless requested to do so by the Chairperson.
City Staff serves Commissions and Committees in an advisory capacity – much the same as the Commission or Committee serves the Council. Staff members are selected on the basis of their technical and professional abilities and are expected to provide Commissions and Committees with recommendations based upon their professional analysis of the situation, regardless of personal opinion or consideration of political consequence. It is not expected that every Staff recommendation will be followed; however, because of Staff’s technical expertise, full consideration should be given to its recommendation.
Commission and Committee members should be aware of Staff’s responsibility to also provide professional advice to the City Council. In instances where a Staff member disagrees with a Commission’s or Committee’s recommendation, he/she is obligated to advise the City Council, through the City Manager, of his/her technical recommendation. The City Council values both the opinion of the Commission/Committee as well as Staff since Staff expresses its opinion from a strictly technical perspective, while Commissions and Committees provide counsel and advice on the issue’s practical application.

Meeting Basics
A. Preparation for Meetings
 Be prepared. Thoroughly review the agenda packet, including agenda reports, and any other materials before the meeting. The issues that come before advisory bodies are important to the community as a whole and demand your consistent attention. In agreeing to serve on an advisory body, you make a commitment to put in the time required to prepare fully for each meeting.
 Understand what action you are being asked to take regarding each particular agenda item.
 If you have questions regarding the agenda or agenda report, contact the Chair or your Staff Liaison before the meeting to clarify questions or request further information.
 Know the responsibilities of your advisory body, as well as the limitations of your individual authority. As a member of an advisory body you will be asked to provide recommendations to the City Council about specific issues. Keep in mind that your appointment does not empower you to supervise City Staff.
 Keep an open mind. An objective, balanced, and receptive approach will help you assess the facets of a given issue and evaluate new ideas. When receiving written and oral public testimony it will be necessary to discern between fact and opinion, as well as between those concerns which are relevant and those which are secondary to the issue at hand. Keeping an open mind will make it easier for you to understand all sides of an issue before you make a judgment or take a position.
 Strive to appreciate differences in approach and point of view. Likewise, take care to articulate your own ideas; remember that your individual voice is a critical part of the whole dialogue. Again, furthering common goals takes cooperation, flexibility, and a broad-based view of the public interest. If in doubt, return to the foundational documents to guide your understanding of the complexities of an issue.
 If you are unsure about something during the meeting, ask for clarification. On behalf of the public, your understanding of issues is important. Each advisory body has a City Staff Liaison to provide information to assist the members throughout the decision-making process.
 E-mail Communications between Advisory Body Members: Because e-mail communications can ultimately lead to the exchange of information intended to or may create collective concurrence among a quorum of advisory body members, e-mail communications between advisory body members relative to advisory body business should be avoided. While less than a quorum, for example, may appropriately communicate with one another by way of e-mail, the “forwarding” of such an e-mail message on to an additional member would result in a Brown Act violation.
 The applicant has the right to an efficient process. Unreasonable delay or lack of action is unacceptable. If necessary, make a recommendation and move along.

B. Attendance

All commission, committee and board members are requested to contact their Staff Liaison prior to a meeting if they are unable to attend.
Rules of Debate
A. Chair
The Chair may debate and may make or second motions. The Chair is subject to the limitations of debate that are imposed on all members and shall not be deprived of any of the rights and privileges of a member.
B. Advisory Body Members
Every advisory body member desiring to speak shall address the Chair. Upon recognition by the Chair, the member shall confine comments to the question under debate, avoiding all undignified language and references to personalities and abiding by the following rules of civil debate. A member, once recognized, shall not be interrupted except according to rules of parliamentary procedure (e.g., for a point of order, parliamentary inquiry, question of privilege, or appeal of Chair’s procedural ruling).
Public meetings will proceed smoothly if all participants keep the following tenets in mind:
(1) We may disagree, but we will be respectful of one another.
(2) All comments will be directed to the issue at hand.
(3) Personal attacks shall be avoided. They are unacceptable and may result in termination from an appointed position.

C. Addressing the Advisory Body from the Floor

Securing Permission to Speak
Any person desiring to address the advisory body shall first secure permission from the Chair. Any advisory body member may also request of the Chair that a member of the public be recognized to speak.

Remarks should be directed to the matter being considered.
Persons addressing the advisory body are requested to give their name in an audible tone of voice for the record and sign on the sign-up sheet if provided. Any applicable time limit shall be as stated in the agenda, or as directed by the Chair.
All remarks shall be addressed to the advisory body as a whole and not to any individual member or to members of the audience. Without the permission of the Chair, only members and the person addressing the advisory body shall be permitted to enter into any discussion. However, while advisory body members may ask speakers questions, they should not debate matters with them.

All remarks shall be delivered in a respectful manner.

Addressing the Advisory Body after Motion Made
After a motion is made by the advisory body, no person shall address the advisory body in regard to that topic except upon the request of the Chair, or a member of the advisory body through the Chair.

Decorum in Meetings
A. Proceedings
 Start meetings on time. Keep the agenda in mind in order to give each item the appropriate time.
 Announce at the start of a meeting if the order of agenda items is to be rearranged for convenience, for response to those attending only for certain items, or for better pacing of the agenda.
 Let the Chair run the meeting.
 Be fair, impartial, and respectful of the public, staff, and each other.
 Give your full attention when others speak.
 Learn to trust your own good judgment on decisions.
 Remember that people may be attending a meeting for the first time, and may be unfamiliar with your procedures. In your discussion, either avoid or explain technical terms or verbal shorthand.
 Listen to audience concerns. Don’t engage in side conversations or otherwise be distracted during public testimony. The opportunity for public testimony is central to the strength of democracy, and is therefore encouraged. Active listening, however, does not mean engaging the public in debate. Your response is appropriately saved for after the public testimony is closed.
 Close the public testimony before you begin serious deliberation on an issue.
 Sometimes questions can most effectively focus discussion and direct decision-making. For example,
For staff:
 What is the history behind this item?
 What are the benefits and drawbacks?
 What other alternatives did you consider?
For other advisory body members:
 What do you think about this item?
 What have you heard from the residents?
 What would it take for you to support this?
For the public (at a hearing):
 What are your concerns?
 How will this proposal affect you?
 What specific, constructive, alternatives can you recommend?
 How does the public comment or question relate to the decision at hand?
 Is it within this body’s scope of responsibility? If not, would it be best referred to another commission, Council or staff?

For yourself:
 What are we trying to accomplish?
 What are the long-range interests of the community?
 What guidance can be found in our foundational documents?
 Often you must balance multiple views, neither favoring nor ignoring one individual or group over another. Your obligation is to represent a broad-based view of the community’s long-range interests.
 Remember that your advisory body exists to take actions. It is not simply a discussion group or debating society.
 Endeavor to end meetings at a reasonable hour. Short breaks may be helpful during long meetings. Extending the meeting beyond an appointed hour may be subjected to a vote when that hour nears.

B. Managing Difficult Meetings
From time to time, commissions are faced with conducting highly charged controversial meetings. These meetings may involve one unified group or two or more conflicting groups. The group demeanor may be characterized by aggressiveness and hostility. Such meetings really test the mettle of the commission and staff. Consider the following:
Before the Meeting
• Have the participants designate one or more spokespersons, if possible. This may help reduce redundancy and make sure that all sides of the issue will be heard.
• Make agendas and back-up reports easily available to participants.
• Make sure adequate seating is available. Consider moving to larger quarters if necessary.
• Make sure sound and recording equipment is adequate and operational, if applicable.
• Establish and announce rules before the meeting.
• Chairperson and staff should engage in contingency planning before the meeting.
During the Meeting
• Explain the issues, the possible actions and the procedures that will be followed at the meeting.
• Have speakers address the commission and not the audience. Some speakers are very adept at inciting audiences; especially if they are permitted to face the audience.
• Stop clapping and shouting early. Explain the reasons why such actions are disruptive and counterproductive.
• Don’t hesitate to use recesses to help diffuse hostility or aggressiveness.
• Consider limiting speakers to a set time such as three to five minutes. If such a procedure is used, make sure it is applied fairly and consistently.
• Consider using speaker cards. These can help identify how many people wish to speak and also whether they support or contest an issue. They also are invaluable too, in recording the names and addresses of speakers. Recognize, however, that if a person does not wish to fill out a card, they may still have the legal right to speak.
• Make sure commission members address colleagues and not the audience. Directly addressing the audience can result in loss of control of the meeting.
• Continue items that cannot be decided at the meeting. This does not preclude the commission from allowing anyone who wishes to speak on the issue, to do so.

Elective Office and Commission Positions on Legislation

Commission Members Running for Elective Office

Members of the City’s commissions, committees and boards shall be permitted to retain membership on such appointive bodies while seeking any elective office. Members of appointive bodies shall not, however, use the meetings, functions, or activities of such bodies for purposes of campaigning for elective office.

Commission Positions on Ballot Proposals and Legislation

Commissions, committees and boards may review and make recommendations to the City Council on ballot proposals and legislation. The City Council shall review all such recommendations.

Commission, committee and board members shall only represent the majority position of the City Council on such matters unless speaking as an individual or indicating a minority opinion.

Conflict of Interest

The City of Brentwood has adopted a Conflict of Interest Code, that states no person shall make or participate in a governmental decision which he or she knows or has reason to know will have a reasonably foreseeable material financial effect distinguishable from its effect on the public generally.

The City Attorney is available to help advisory body members decide if they should declare a disqualification on any issue. There may be instances where financial conflict of interest is not the issue, and again, the City Attorney will provide guidance in determining whether an advisory body member should disqualify him/herself from acting on the item. In these instances, members should recuse themselves from a vote using the phrase, “…to avoid the appearance of impropriety.”

In addition, advisory body members may be required by the City’s Conflict of Interest Code to declare personal financial information by filing a Statement of Economic Interest. Those advisory bodies whose members are required to do so are indicated by an asterisk after the advisory body title on the advisory body application. Upon appointment, the City Clerk shall provide the advisory body member with the documents necessary for filing.

Ralph M. Brown Act

The Ralph M. Brown Act, “Open Meeting Law,” more commonly referred to as The Brown Act, is California’s “sunshine” law for local government. It requires local government to conduct business in meetings that are open to the public. Chapter 9, Sections 54950 - 54962 of the California Government Code provides the complete text of The Brown Act. However, the following may be useful as a guide to understanding the basics of The Brown Act: GC §54950. Policy declaration.

In enacting this chapter [The Ralph M. Brown Act], the Legislature finds and declares that the public commissions, boards and councils and other public agencies in this State exist to aid in the conduct of the people's business. It is the intent of the law that their actions be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly. The people of this State do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which 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.

1. Who is subject to the Brown Act? [See GC §54952 & §54952.1]
All members of legislative bodies which include the City Council, Standing Advisory Committees, Planning Commission, Standing Subcommittees, as well as new members of these bodies who have been elected or appointed but who have not assumed duties of office.

2. Who is not subject to the Brown Act? [See GC §54952]
Non-standing ad hoc committees as well as ad hoc subcommittees composed of less than a quorum of the legislative body.

3. What is the difference between standing and ad hoc committees or subcommittees?
A standing committee is formed by ordinance or resolution with a continuing subject matter or meeting schedule fixed by ordinance, resolution, or other formal action.
An ad hoc committee is formed for a specific period of time for a particular purpose.
A standing subcommittee is composed of less than a quorum of members of a legislative body with a continuing subject matter or a fixed meeting schedule.
An ad hoc subcommittee is composed of less than a quorum of members of a legislative body existing for a specific period of time for a particular purpose.

4. What is a meeting? [See GC §54952.2]
Any congregation of a majority of members, in the same place, at the same time, to hear, discuss or deliberate on anything within the subject matter of the jurisdiction. Meetings include any communication through intermediaries or technological devices such as a telephone, fax machine, computer, etc. to develop a collective concurrence as to action to be taken.

5. What are not considered meetings? [See GC §54952.2]
Individual contacts between members; individual contacts between members and third parties; conferences that are open to the public and involve a discussion of matters of general interest to the public or public agencies as long as members attending do not discuss local business; attendance at a community meeting other than that of the local agency, provided the majority do not discuss business; attendance at a purely social occasion.

6. Can meetings be teleconferenced? [See GC §54953]
The legislative body of a local agency may use teleconferencing for the benefit of the public only if the following requirements are met: 1) All votes taken during the teleconferenced meeting shall be by roll call; 2) The agenda must be posted at all teleconference locations and the meeting must be conducted in a manner that protects the statutory and constitutional rights of the parties or the public appearing before the legislative body; 3) Each teleconference location must be identified in the notice and agenda of the meeting, and each teleconference location must be accessible to the public; 4) The agenda must provide an opportunity for members of the public to address the legislative body directly at each teleconference location.

7. What is a regular meeting? [See GC §54954; FCMC §2.36.160;EMIDC §2.28.160]
A regular meeting is a meeting held on a regular basis at a time and place established by resolution, ordinance, by-laws or other rule.

8. What is an adjourned meeting? [See GC §54955]
The legislative body of a local agency may adjourn any regular, adjourned regular, special or adjourned special meeting to a time and place specified in the order of adjournment. Less than a quorum may so adjourn from time to time. If all members are absent from any regular or adjourned regular meeting, the secretary may declare the meeting adjourned to a stated time and place and cause a written notice of the adjournment to be given in the same manner as provided for special meetings unless such notice is waived as provided for special meetings. A copy of the order or notice of adjournment shall be conspicuously posted on or near the door of the place where the regular, adjourned regular, special or adjourned special meeting was held within 24 hours after the time of the adjournment. When a regular or adjourned regular meeting is adjourned as provided, the resulting adjourned regular meeting is a regular meeting for all purposes. When an order of adjournment of any meeting fails to state the hour at which the adjourned meeting is to be held, it shall be held at the hour specified for regular meetings by ordinance, resolution, by-law, or other rule.

9. What is a special meeting? [See GC §54956; FCMC §2.36.170;EMIDC §2.28.170]
A special meeting is any meeting other than a regular meeting or adjourned regular meeting.

10. What are the requirements for holding a special meeting?[See GC §54956; FCMC §2.36.170; EMIDC §2.28.170]
A special meeting may be called at any time by the presiding officer (e.g., Committee Chair), or by a majority of the members of the committee, by delivering personally or by mail written notice to each member of the legislative body and to each local newspaper of general circulation, radio or television station requesting notice in writing. The notice shall be delivered personally or by mail and shall be received at least 24 hours before the time of the meeting as specified in the notice. The call and notice shall specify the time and place of the special meeting and the business to be transacted. No other business shall be considered at these meetings by the legislative body. The written notice may be dispensed with as to any member who at or prior to the time the meeting convenes files with the secretary of the committee a written waiver of notice. The waiver may be by telegram. The written notice may also be dispensed with as to any member who is actually present at the meeting at the time it convenes. Notice shall be required regardless of whether any action is taken at the special meeting. The call and notice shall be posted at least 24 hours prior to the special meeting in a location that is freely accessible to members of the public. The call and notice should be forwarded to the City Clerk for posting in the public notice board outside the Council Chambers at least 24 hours prior to the special meeting. Every notice for a special meeting at which action is proposed to be taken on an item shall provide an opportunity for members of the public to directly address the legislative body concerning that item prior to action on that item.

11. Where must meetings be held? [See GC §54954; FCMC §2.36.160; EMIDC §2.28.160]
Regular and Special Meetings must be held within the boundaries of the City of Brentwood with certain exceptions. These include:
a. Complying with State and Federal law;
b. Inspecting real or personal property;
c. Participating in a meeting that involves multiple agencies outside Brentwood;
d. Complying with a Court Order;
e. Meeting with State or Federal elected officials;
f. Visiting legal counsel for a closed session.

12. What type of facility can meetings be held in? [See GC §54961]
No legislative body of a local agency shall conduct any meeting in any facility that prohibits the admittance of any person, or persons, on the basis of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, or sex, or which is inaccessible to disabled persons, or where members of the public may not be present without making a payment or purchase.

13. What needs to be on an agenda? [See GC §54954.2]
An agenda must specify the time and location of the regular meeting and show a brief general description of each item of business to be transacted or discussed, not needing to exceed twenty (20) words per agenda item. See also FCMC §2.36.230 and EMIDC §2.28.230 regarding Order of Business for advisory committee agendas.

14. When does an agenda need to be posted? [See GC §54954.2]
An agenda for a regular meeting must be posted at least 72 hours before the meeting.

15. Where is the agenda posted? [See GC §54954.2; FCMC §2.36.160; EMIDC §2.28.160]
The agenda is posted by the City Clerk in the public notice board outside the Council Chambers and may be posted in other locations.

16. Can an item be discussed or acted upon if it is not on the agenda? [See GC §54954.2]
No action or discussion can be taken on any item not appearing on the posted agenda, except that members of the committee may briefly respond to statements made or questions posed by persons exercising their public testimony rights. In addition, on their own initiative, or in response to questions posed by the public, committee members may ask a question for clarification, provide a reference to staff or other resources for factual information, or request staff to report back to the body at a subsequent meeting concerning any matter. Furthermore, a committee member or the committee itself may take action to direct staff to place a matter of business on a future agenda.

17. When can an item not on the agenda be discussed or acted upon? [See GC §54954.2]
The committee may take action on items of business not appearing on the posted agenda under any of the conditions stated below. Prior to discussing any item, the committee shall publicly identify the item, and (1) upon a determination by a majority vote of the committee that an emergency situation exists which prompt action is necessary due to the disruption or threatened disruption of public facilities, as defined in Government Code §54956.5; or (2) upon a determination by a two-thirds vote of the committee, or, if less than two-thirds of the members are present, a unanimous vote of those members present, that there is a need to take immediate action and that the need for action came to the attention of the local agency subsequent to the agenda being posted; or (3) the item was posted on an agenda for a prior committee meeting occurring not more than 5 calendar days prior to the date action is taken on the item, and at the prior meeting the item was continued to the meeting at which action is being taken.

18. Is it required for an agenda to allow public comment? [See GC §54954.3; FCMC§2.36.180; EMIDC §2.28.180]
Yes. Every agenda for regular meetings shall provide an opportunity for members of the public to directly address the legislative body on any item of interest to the public, before or during the legislative body's consideration of the item. However, the agenda need not provide an opportunity for members of the public to address the legislative body on any item that has already been considered by a committee, composed exclusively of members of the legislative body, at a public meeting wherein all interested members of the public were afforded the opportunity to address the committee on the item, before or during the committee's consideration of the item, unless the item has been substantially changed since the committee heard the item, as determined by the legislative body. Every notice for a special meeting at which action is proposed to be taken on an item shall provide an opportunity for members of the public to directly address the legislative body concerning that item prior to action on that item.

19. Can the committee limit the total amount of time for public testimony? [See GC §54954.3]
The legislative body may adopt reasonable regulations limiting the total amount of time allocated for public testimony on particular issues and for each individual speaker.

20. Can the committee prohibit public criticism? [See GC §54954.3]
The legislative body shall not prohibit public criticism of the policies, procedures, programs, or services of the agency or the acts or omissions of the legislative body.

21. Are there any conditions of attendance for members of the public? [See GC §54953.3]
No. A member of the public shall not be required, as a condition to attend a meeting of a legislative body of a local agency, to register his or her name, to provide other information, to complete a questionnaire, or otherwise to fulfill any condition precedent to his or her attendance. If an attendance list, register, questionnaire, or other similar document is posted at or near the entrance to the room where the meeting is to be held, or is circulated to the persons present during the meeting, it shall state clearly that the signing, registering, or completion of the document is voluntary, and that all persons may attend the meeting regardless of whether a person signs, registers, or completes the document.

22. Can secret ballots be used? [See GC §54953; FCMC §2.36.110 & EMIDC §2.28.110 will be amended]
No action can be taken by secret ballot, whether it is for a preliminary or final vote.

23. Can the public tape record or use a video camera to record a meeting? [GC §54953.5]
Recording of a meeting by a member of the public can be done either by audio or visual means. Meetings may also be broadcast in either one of those mediums. The Brown Act allows the legislative body to disallow recording of the meetings only if it disrupts the meeting due to noise, illumination, or obstruction of view.

24. What materials, such as agendas, must be made available to the public? [See GC §54957.5]
Agendas of public meetings and any other writings, when distributed to all, or a majority of all of the members of a legislative body of a local agency by any person in connection with a matter subject to discussion or consideration at a public meeting of the body, are public records under the California Public Records Act and shall be made available to the public without delay. Writings which are public records and which are distributed during a public meeting shall be made available for public inspection at the meeting if prepared by the local agency or a member of its legislative body, or after the meeting if prepared by some other person.

25. What is the penalty for holding an unlawful meeting? [See GC §54959]
Each member of a legislative body who attends a meeting of that legislative body where action is taken in violation of any provision of the Brown Act, with wrongful intent to deprive the public of information to which it is entitled, is guilty of a misdemeanor.


There is no desire on the part of the City Council or City Staff to control a member’s independent thought or judgment. Council appoints only those persons who have knowledge, ability, and interest in the commission’s purposes so that their contributions will be of assistance. All suggestions and ideas are most welcome, whether presented as a citizen, a commissioner, or as a majority vote of a commission. However, commission membership limits a member’s freedom of advocacy before the city council or other commissions on those issues that are to be considered by the member’s commission; the corporate recommendation of the commission to the city council will include the positions of all members.

A commission is created as an advisory arm of the council as the result of a policy decision. Each has been charged with responsibilities in specified areas. It may be that a member may disagree with an established policy. This is part of the democratic process, as is the expression of that disagreement in a minority vote. In spite of conflicting viewpoints, however, it is the process of addressing the issues that is served by commission action.

The City is proud of its citizen participation and extends a hearty welcome to all commission appointees.


CITY AT A GLANCE as of 2005

Area (square miles)……………………………………………………..……….………………….14.83
Assessed Net Valuation $3,573,037,432
Developed Parks………………………………………………………………..…..………………......25
Schools: Elementary 6
Intermediate 2
High School 2
Parochial 3
Full-time City Employees 260
City Parks Open Space Acreage 148

Chairman’s Manual
Managing Conflict

You have been on a commission now for some time. Your fellow members have just elected you their chairman. You feel very honored and pleased to accept this new responsibility. But, you have certain concerns. You have not chaired many meetings, certainly none in the public eye and with the press looking over your shoulder. You want to do well; live up to the trust everyone has placed in you. It is easy to run a meeting when everyone agrees, but what do you do when there is disagreement/conflict? How have others found their way through the many traps awaiting the uninitiated? That is the purposed of this Manual, to point out what others have learned the hard way. Hopefully, you will have a better understanding of the nature of conflict in the public meeting and the role you as chairman, can play in managing conflict before it gets out of hand.

Why Manage Conflict?

Government is not doing well these days. Articles appearing in the news media point out the worst of government actions, but most people believe that these actions are the norm, not the exception. Most people have a very limited exposure to government. Rarely are they brought into contact with Federal or State government in action outside of what they see or read on the news. This is also true with local government, except by way of the public meeting. Citizens will attend a public meeting with there is a pending action in their town that will have some impact on them personally. What goes on in that meeting will affect their approval or disapproval of local government and, to some degree, their attitude toward democratic government in general.

Put yourself in their shoes. If the last public hearing you attended was your only exposure to City government outside of the news media, what would be your lasting impressions? Too often the public hearing is a minor disaster from the spectator’s point of view and, therefore, local government loses a little more credibility. Public perception is long lasting and not easily reversed. On the other hand, when a public meeting is run smoothly, with all points of view given fair consideration, the common negative myth is shaken. The chances of that meeting running smoothly and working toward a successful conclusion are enhanced by your ability as chairman to understand the dynamics of the meeting and to master the skills of conflict resolution.

What is Conflict?

A conflict exists whenever incompatible activities occur. The incompatible actions may originate in one person or in a group. An action that is incompatible with another action prevents, obstructs, interferes, injures, or in some way makes that action less likely or less effective. The idea of conflict has two general meanings. First is difference of opinion, view, belief, etc. The second is fight. If these differences lead to the enlargement of each party’s view, we call the outcome desirable. When differences lead to battle, the outcome is often undesirable for one or both parties. Conflict can occur in a cooperative or a competitive context. Competition implies an opposition in the goals of the parties so that the probability of goal attainment of one decreases as the probability of the other increases (a win-lose mode). Cooperation implies similar goals of the opposing parties and the opportunity of goal attainment increases for both parties (a win-win mode). We often find that conflict is over the wrong things, such as misinformation or personality clashes, rather than over the right things, such as the accomplishment of objectives or the health of the organization.

Meetings are a particular place where a wide variety of conflict-causing factors may be seen. Ongoing conflicts between individual personalities and decision-making styles are often compounded by the inappropriate use of power and by a lack of clarity of objectives. In addition to these factors, meetings frequently adopt a subconscious mind of their own which pushes them unwittingly into conflict. These subconscious group dynamics are a frequent and seemingly recurring source of conflict, both inside the organization and between the organization and its member organization.

Some Basic Philosophies of Conflict Management

We have seen that conflict results when forces stand in opposition. Five basic styles have been identified to handle conflict:

1. Forcing. This is where you say, “I’m the one who has the power here; this is my authority; this is the way things are going to be. Now we seem to have a difference of an opinion here. This is my opinion. Anybody have any problems with this? The conflict is hereby resolved. OK, the next item.” Now, notice what has happened. Has the conflict gone away? Not a chance.

2. Smoothing. This is when you say or imply, “Well, I know from time to time in an organization like this we are going to have differences of opinions, but I know you all care about the organization more than you care about your own petty needs and interests. And I know we all want the greater good in the long run, and so I know that we all will be willing to let go of our diverging needs here. Won’t we? It’s important that we maintain the sense of family we have developed over a long period of time. There’s no conflict here. Let’s just smooth it over.”

3. Withdrawing. “Well, no, really, I know I felt that way at one time, but I didn’t feel all that strongly about it. And I can see that your position is right and that is really the correct approach. I certainly think that the best man has won. I didn’t feel very strongly about that at all. No, really, you’re right. It’s really OK. I don’t mind.”

The three most common styles of approaching conflict are forcing it out of existence, smoothing it over, and withdrawing from it. Throughout history there have been great leaders who were leaders until they began to stifle conflict within their countries or organizations. Once they began to stifle conflict they became sheer wielders of power. Conflict is necessary and healthy. For the past twenty years psychologists have been saying that conflict is healthy, so we have developed another style of dealing with conflict. It is called compromise.

4. Compromise. “I’ll give up something if you will give up something. Now that is the way you’ve got to do this to be fair. What are you going to give up? You’ll give up that and you expect me to give up this? Are you kidding me? You call that fair? So we’re going to hassle for awhile about what you’re going to give up and what I’m going to give up.”

Compromise is a step forward, but compromise is still a lose-lose assumption.

5. Confronting and Integrating. This requires the courage and wisdom of true leadership. It’s rough. It has two parts:

A. You confront the conflict. You say, “We’ve got a problem. We have differences here. So far as I can tell, there are these differences.” The process is different from compromising in that it is a win-win assumption. You go into it with the assumption that there is some overall perspective that will integrate the divergent opinions. It assumes that if the person in the position of responsibility hears it all; works with it all; takes it all in; stays close to everybody; and backs off far away from the issues, there will be some overall perspective that puts it all together. It may be difficult to find and it may mean that we will end up compromising and giving up something, but our assumption is win-win.

B. Anytime people are involved in conflict they are behaving rationally from their point of view. It also means that if you are in conflict with someone, they think that you are a lunatic. You cannot imagine how anybody could hold the position they hold. They cannot imagine how you hold your position. As long as you operate on that assumption, there is no possibility of integrating. If you stop and say, “Wait a minute, there is some perspective from which that person is actually rational”, then it becomes possible to put them together.

Any conflict that surfaces can be managed. The conflict that comes up will allow for leadership. The conflict that is suppressed is the conflict that will do you in; it is the conflict that will result eventually in dissatisfaction and disloyalty.

Eight Suggested Conflict Maxims

1. Catch the conflict early before hardening of positions occurs.

2. Keep boundaries open. Keep information flowing. Silence or avoidance escalates paranoia and the struggle.

3. Involve as many related systems as possible. Open things up.

4. Try to modulate the context within which the conflict exists. Look at the assumed constraints, rethink the setting.

5. Don’t get into a battle if there is a chance you cannot win.

6. Don’t stake out ground (harden your position) unless you are prepared to defend to the finish. Be clear to yourself. Just what is your bottom line?

7. See if there is any other way to achieve your wishes.

8. What are you really after in the conflict? Is the issue really important to you or is it the thrill of the chase and the fight that turns you on?

Six Suggested Propositions for Conflict Resolution

1. Conflicts are generated and maintained by objective and subjective factors, and the subjective factors must be dealt with first in the process of resolution.

2. Conflict becomes more regulable as the threat factor is increasingly balanced with trust.

3. Conflict regulation ultimately requires moving a dispute from the status of a fight to that of a debate.

4. Conflict is often regulated by modifying the environment-giving rise to it.

5. In crisis situations, violence can be minimized or eliminated through proper training and control of those directly involved.

6. The development of commitments to more inclusive communities among members of conflicting groups can reduce a conflict.

The maxims and propositions are listed here to help define the parameters in conflict resolution. The basic ideas that appear to underline the management of conflict are trust, change from competition to cooperation, communication, understanding, desire, courage, and leadership.

The Chairman’s Understanding of the Group

As a commission member, you have spent most of your public life participating in public meetings. You receive your agenda, study the material, have a field trip or two, and then head off for the regular meeting. Up to now the preparation for the many meetings has been that of a group member; as chairman your role has changed considerably. You now have responsibility for interaction with the staff for agenda preparation, a responsibility for understanding the dynamics of your meeting and your commission, and how it operates. Let’s look at two roles found in most groups: the leader and the central person.

The Leadership Role. We are of two minds about leadership in our country. If a member of a new group suggests that another person would be a good leader, that person’s response typically is “Oh, no! Not me.” Despite such protests, nearly every member of every group would like to lead. Some people have more skills in the leadership area and become leaders in more groups. But never underestimate the desire of every member of any group to take over the leadership role.

The most satisfactory explanation of leadership is that it is a result of the individual’s traits (inherited characteristics plus training); the purpose of the group; the pressures put on the group from outside and the way the persons in the group talk, work, and relate with one another. The members of a group spend time on selecting leadership because it is so important to the success of the group. We are touchy about the people who boss us around. We do not like to take orders. If we have to, we prefer a leader who gives wise orders in a way we can tolerate.

Central Persons. Some people are so dominant in their verbal and nonverbal communications in a work group that they fascinate the others. They may be positive or negative people and are called central persons. A central person may be unusually capable and a potential asset to the group’s productivity or the central person may be exceptionally skillful at human relations and unusually charming. A central person may be one who seems extremely hostile to the group and its purposes, who downgrades the work, or who makes it plain he feels the other members are incapable. Such a person is a potential threat to the group.

A common threatening central person is the manipulator. He comes to the group with the intention of exploiting it for his own ends. He intends to take it over and run it. Manipulators tend to be either hard sell or soft sell. The hard-sell manipulator usually comes on strong. He talks a great deal and takes charge immediately with a strong hand. When the group resists his leadership, he tries to argue and browbeat the others into line. Sometimes the hard-sell manipulator is not immediately challenged. When he gives orders, however, they are not followed. Inevitably another contender emerges and becomes leader. The manipulator is now extremely frustrated. His self-image is badly dented. He came into the group confident of his superiority and his ability to run the group his way and the group has rejected him. Usually he turns on the group members. If he remains in the group, he is often a troublemaker. Finding him an acceptable role takes ingenuity.

The soft-sell manipulator is often much more successful. He often emerges for a long time as the leader. He has many tricks and formulas of human relations at his command. He is friendly and congenial. He seems less bossy and more democratic. He sizes up the group to see who can be conned and who will be troublesome. He is a politician. After several weeks of working with him, however, the others find him out. They discover that he is getting his way and that under his apparently congenial and democratic facade, he is using the group for his personal ends. When the soft-sell manipulator is found out, a challenger comes forward and the group reshuffles roles until a new leader emerges.

It is important to you as a new chairman to understand the nature of the central person.

Role-playing. A role is the part a person expects to play and the part other members expect him to play in the group. It includes the duties he specializes in and the way he socializes with others. People often assume different roles in different groups. The authoritarian bosses, meek and submissive at home, the sparkling receptionist, quiet and reserved with her church group. In one group you are the “take charge” member who gets things rolling; in another you are likable and fun loving; in another you are the quiet, steady and responsible worker. The group is partly responsible for the way each member acts because the role a member takes in a group is worked out (either consciously or subconsciously) by the member and the group together. A chairman who understands this will search for ways to change the role structure of his work group so that every member can contribute to the full extent of his ability. This should be a primary goal of the commission chairman.

By understanding the nature of role-playing in the group, the chairman will be able to better manage group conflict.

Conflict Within the Group Meeting

One of the important ways of resolving conflict in the group meeting is to listen to what is said and then to repeat, making sure that that is what the person or group has said. This requires listening to the other person, then letting him understand that you have heard him and that you understand his feelings and his point of view and really value him. Some behavior theorists have called this technique active listening. It could just as appropriately be called creative listening or sensitive listening or responsive listening. It embodies all of these qualities: sensitivity to what people are really saying, creative responsiveness in dealing with information, active feedback of what you understand the speaker to have said.

In verbal communication the speaker is usually sending two messages. One is articulated and is usually taken to be the subject of the statement or question; it is called the content message. The other message is not always so evident: it deals with what the speaker is likely to have most on his mind and covers matters such as whether his input or emotions are being accepted or rejected. This is the feeling message.

A great deal of misunderstanding can result from the manner in which we try to convey our own feelings, or explicate what we understand those of other people to be. Ineffective listening on the part of the chairman can lead to problems in the work group if he is not hearing and responding to people’s feeling messages in addition to acknowledging their content messages.

Frequently people attempt to convey they’re feeling messages by implication. These are like trial balloons. The speaker sends out a content message covering a little bit of his real feeling message, until the speaker is frustrated because he is not being understood. This frustration can lead to outburst of the true message: “Can’t you see that I have been trying to tell you how unhappy I am at the way this meeting is not dealing with my problem?” Listen carefully both for content and feeling messages.

Learning to accept people as they are -- sounds like a pat statement. But it is not meant in the traditional “charitable” sense. Instead -- don’t expect people to be rational, logical or objective, in your view, all the time. Especially because everyone is rational from his point of view. Assume that communication is very difficult and work at it.

A more important skill in dealing with conflict is to confront each little issue or irritation as soon as possible. This may mean lots of small confrontations, but eventually all those “little” things that you ignored or avoided facing tend to build up into a serious conflict that will be much harder to deal with. When you confront, be precise in your communications by describing what you see, hear, and feel. Also, avoid generalizing and talking in terms of personality traits.

The DESC communication tool is often helpful in-group settings.

D Describe the facts of the situation. “When you interrupt me in commission meetings...”

E - Express your feelings about the situation. “I feel annoyed and offended...”

Empathize -- “I know you often want to respond spontaneously to something I may be saying and don’t want to wait for fear of losing your thought...”

S - Specify what behavior change you would like, or can live with. “I would like you to wait until I complete my own thoughts and sentences before you begin to speak...”

C - Consequences of the requested behavior change -- “I will feel more comfortable in expressing my views and will be more willing to give you my attention while you are speaking...”

You will only be successful with the DESC method if you are speaking to someone who cares about you. This method depends on the necessity of the listener cooperating with you because of a personal regard, working commitment, and a need for gaining your cooperation on certain matters, etc. Another benefit of going through this exercise for you is that it forces you to clarify your own feelings and organize in your own mind the kind of situation you desire and the best manner to achieve it.

Troublemakers in the Group Meeting. Studies have shown that group members can be classified as 10% troublemakers, 70% unable to cope with troublemakers, and 20% not bothered by troublemakers. If you have a troublemaker in your group, try these ideas:

 The Hostile Aggressive Type. Stand up to him, but don’t fight. Smoke him out, ask for an explanation. Let him run his course. Don’t push. Hostile people escalate battles.

 The Complainer and the Whiner. Don’t agree or disagree. Paraphrase their complaint back to them so they know you understand it.

 The Indecisive Type. Give him a date and a deadline. Point out what is good for the organization. Don’t push and don’t enthuse.

 The Unresponsive Type. Out wait them. Don’t talk, but look expectantly at them.

 The Expert (real or phony). Don’t argue. Do your homework and ask analytical questions.

When dealing with the emotional situations, don’t try to settle them right away. Try to prevent the situation from blowing up. A few suggestions: An apology or statement from the chairman like, “I am really sorry what happened...”, may calm things down. It is helpful, even if the cause is not related to anything the chairman did. Don’t say anything at all. Letting the other person blow off steam may be all that is needed, but not in every situation. Agree whenever possible. If the charged-up person is right about some things, you can absorb some of his anger by agreeing immediately on those things. However, if he is uninformed or mistaken, then say so calmly. Exercise authority if things can be postponed until cooler heads prevail. State that you will talk about the issue at hand on a given date.

Four methods that do not work are:

 Joke or laugh about it.

 Attempt to avoid your own emotions.

 Cut in or try to shout down either side.

 Try to settle everything on the spot.

Conflict in the Public Hearing

The public hearing is often the most difficult for the new chairman. Most conflict within the group or organization exists between members who care about the group and one another. Therefore, it is within everyone’s interest that conflict be favorably resolved. This is not the situation in most public hearings. Often there are two or more sides to the issue at hand, and a win-win solution is not often attainable. Nevertheless, the basic ideas of group interaction expressed so far in this manual are generally applicable to the public hearing conflict.

The Agenda. When reviewing future agenda items, it is important to anticipate conflict possibilities. If you are mentally prepared for a conflict meeting, you have the battle half won. Make sure you do your basic homework, so when the meeting is underway you can concentrate on the dynamics of the meeting rather than learning about the subject at hand.

If in doubt, meet with staff beforehand so that you are prepared for any meeting surprises that might develop. A rule you might consider: “Never ask the staff a sensitive question at the public hearing to which you do not know the answer.”

Most all participants in the public hearing are usually highly motivated and often very nervous. When potential adversaries gather in one room, the possibility of uncontrolled conflict is very high. Your role is not to eliminate the conflict but rather guide the conflict to positive results. Look for cooperation and that win-win solution - even if it is unattainable. In any event, make sure that you treat all sides of the issue fairly. Set out the rules of the hearing early and make sure everyone, without exception, obeys them. Your insistence on “playing by the rules” is your best management tool for conflict management in the public hearing.

Rules of the Public Hearing

 Make sure the rules are known.

 Make sure that the rules are clear and understood.

 Make sure that rules are not perceived to be biased against one side or the other.

 Make sure that everyone adheres to the rules.

 Make sure that violations are quickly known, acknowledged, and stopped.

 Adherence to the rules will reward all participants.

The public hearing should begin with your clear recitation of the rules you intend to follow. You should explain carefully the purpose of the public hearing and what action is requested and possible at the conclusion of the hearing. All persons speaking should identify themselves, not only for the record, but also so you can speak to them by name. They must be recognized by you before speaking and an acceptable time limit may be set by you.

Whenever possible, place the most controversial agenda item on early in the evening. Be fresh and at your sharpest. Don’t let the participants in the public hearing wait until the wee hours of the morning. Don’t let weariness complicate the basic conflict. You control the meeting, using your power to make sure everyone is treated fairly. Make decisions as promptly as possible. Many commissions get so bogged down in procedural distractions, petty details, and endless searches for more information that matters brought before them never seem to get resolved. The commission should take action promptly enough to avoid holding over after the public hearing is over. The chairman should spur his colleagues to be decisive. Set time limits on the public hearing; don’t let it ramble on, causing many to leave before a decision is made.

The role of the chairman in the public hearing is not to compete with the members of your commission. The chairman must be careful not to give precedence to his own ideas at the expense of those of the commission.

Many inflammatory comments are made in public hearings. Be careful not to overreact. Try to understand the role the speaker is playing. He may be angry with government and you may be the manifestation of that government. Such comments as:

 “Who thinks up these ideas anyway?”

 “You must be in the developer’s pocket.”

 “What you are doing is illegal.”

 “In all my days as a government expert, I never heard such a ridiculous proposal.”

 “I demand that this item be voted on by all the people!”

 “You have not answered my question”, or “I have a number of questions I want to ask you (the commission).”

 “This whole thing stinks of politics to me.”

Try not to overreact to these types of comments. They do not require answers. Most are expressions of frustration. Try to turn their frustration to constructive avenues. Ask them questions about their view of the item before the commission. Be specific if you can. Refer to them by their name. Reinforce areas where you agree. If you feel that some comments must be responded to, be calm and informational. Do not return insult for insult. Your insults will have a devastating result on the public hearing. Often the audience will turn against the chairman for lack of control and unfairness. Be a pillar of understanding, forgiveness and strength. Many times members of the audience will come to the defense of the commission and will apologize for the past speaker’s loss of control.

At most public hearings you are trying to understand the citizen’s view of the proposal. Be careful not to prejudge the action of the commission. Take the long view. Use the hearing to gather necessary information about community, neighborhood and individual desires concerning the proposal. Do not get trapped in a dialogue with the speaker over trivial matters. Try to reinforce the speaker. Help him overcome his anxiousness and nervousness. You may want to repeat back to the speaker what you believe his position is. You may want to take notes as he speaks. If you do, make sure he is aware of your actions. This will also reinforce his presentation. Don’t look into space while he is speaking. Try to avoid speaker to audience conversation. The purpose of the hearing is to help your commission to act, not engage in debate with every individual’s differing view in the room. Each speaker should be given only one chance to speak. If many want to speak, everyone should have his turn. By letting one speaker speak twice, all must be able to speak twice. Set the rule at the first of the meeting and stick to it. If other commission members have questions of the speaker, only permit these questions during the speaker’s time at the podium. By opening up conversation with one side or the other after the hearing is closed, you open yourself to the perception of unfairness.

Your commission members should not express their views on the proposal until after the public hearing is closed. Their comments and questions should not suggest a position one-way or the other. After the public hearing is closed, then each commission member should be invited to discuss his views on the proposal. Comments made by the audience during the hearing are particularly helpful interwoven into the discussion as this reinforces the perception that the commission was listening to the speakers. In attempting to bring the subject to a vote, look for that win-win solution. Particularly look for that win-win solution among your commission members.

View the public hearing as an art form -- basic democracy in action at the City level. The building blocks of American democracy start with home rule and local government. Set your personal goal to make the public hearing work. This means that everyone will feel fairly treated and that the commission had all the facts. The commission was open in its deliberations and acted accordingly. No one person dominated the meeting and there was sufficient time for all to speak. No one left the meeting feeling disenfranchised.

City Council Meetings Rules and Procedures Policy No: 110-1 Date: 4/27/04
Resolution No: 2004-97 Page 1




The purpose of the Meeting Rules and Procedures is to establish protocol that will be convenient for the public and contribute to the orderly conduct of City business.




The following rules of order and procedures of the city shall apply to all regular, adjourned regular and special meetings of the city council.

Reference to “Mayor,” “Council,” “Councilmember,” and “City Clerk,” where appearing in this chapter, shall respectively mean “chairperson,” “planning commission,” “commissioner” and “secretary of the planning commission,” when applicable to planning commission meetings, etc. and as appropriate for other boards, commissions and agencies.



The term “meeting” means the gathering together of three or more members of the city council or a majority of the total members of any board, commission, or agency, each member within normal hearing distance of the other, at the time and place established by ordinance, resolution or motion, for regular or adjourned regular meetings or at such other time and place as authorized by law for special meetings, for the purpose of acting in their official capacity as the legislative body of the city in the case of the city council, and in their official capacity as a board, agency or commission, to make decisions, commitments or promises by a majority of the council, board, commission, or agency, or by actual vote by a majority of the vote of the council or a board, commission or agency when sitting as a body or entity upon a motion, proposal, resolution, order or ordinance.

Unless otherwise authorized by law to be held in closed session, all such meetings shall be open and public; provided, however, the city council may hold closed sessions from which the public may be excluded for the consideration of such matters as are specifically provided by the laws of the state.

Special meetings of the Council may be held at any time upon the call of the Mayor or in his/her absence or unwillingness or make such a call, upon the call of a majority of the Council. Notice of any such meeting shall be given in accordance with the Ralph M. Brown Act, Government Code Sections 55950, et. seq., as amended. The definition of a meeting in addition to that set forth above, shall include all legislative or final appellate court definitions.



Any meeting may either be terminated or continued to another time, place or date by adjournment, regardless of whether or not all matters on the agenda or under discussion have been completed, acted on or concluded. Notwithstanding the above, no meeting shall be terminated before closing all public hearings which were notified for such meeting, without first continuing such public hearings to another time, place and date. Subject to the above, a motion to adjourn shall always be in order and decided without debate.

No meeting shall be adjourned to a date beyond the next regular meeting. Where a meeting is continued to a future date, if either the time or place, or either of them is not stated in the order of adjournment, it shall be deemed to be at the hour and place specified for meetings of the council.

If less than a quorum of councilmembers appear at a meeting, any member or, if all members are absent, the City Clerk, shall adjourn the meeting to a stated day and hour. The City Clerk shall cause a written notice of the adjournment to be given in the same manner as provided for special meetings, unless such notice is waived by a member of council.

Once adjourned, the meeting may not be reconvened.



A majority of the total members of the council shall constitute a quorum and shall be sufficient to transact regular business. Such a quorum shall be required notwithstanding absences or vacancies. A councilmember present but abstaining shall be counted for purposes of constituting a quorum. A councilmember disqualified from voting by law shall not be counted for purposes of constituting a quorum. The foregoing shall not prevent less than a quorum, otherwise gathered at the time and place and for the purpose of conducting a meeting, from adjourning from time to time in accord with the law until a quorum is present.



Councilmembers are expected to attend all meetings of the city council. If a councilmember fails to attend without permission all regular, adjourned regular or special meetings for sixty days consecutively from the last meeting attended, that office becomes vacant and shall be filled as any other vacancy.

Every December in even number years, Council shall select a Vice-Mayor from the four councilmembers eligible.



A. The Mayor shall be the presiding officer of the Council. In the absence of the Mayor of the Council, the Vice-Mayor shall preside over the Council. In the absence of the Vice-Mayor, the City Manager shall preside over the election of a temporary chair, who will preside until the return of one of the officers. The Mayor shall have the power, authority, and discretion, without a vote of the majority of the council to:

1. Open all meetings of the Council at the appointed hour by taking the chair and calling the Council to order.
2. Maintain order and proper decorum.
3. Announce the business before the Council in the order prescribed by these rules.
4. Receive and submit all matters properly brought before the Council, to call for votes upon the same, and to announce the results.
5. Authenticate by signature all acts of the Council as may be required by law.
6. Make known all Rules of Protocol when so requested, and to decide all questions of order, subject to an appeal of the Council.
7. Except as otherwise provided by these Rules, to preside at all closed sessions of the Council.
8. Perform such other duties as may be required by law or as may pertain to such office.
9. Sign all instruments requiring execution or agreement by the Council.
10. Serve as the chief spokesperson and representative for the Council for matters concerning public policy.
11. Delegate by administrative directive any of the duties assigned to the Mayor to the City Manager.
12. Set time limits on council discussion on any matter, subject to Council’s approval.
13. Set time limits on any communications from members of the public to the council; in no event shall any individual public communication exceed five minutes without the consent of the Mayor and/or the City Council
14. Declare the opening of public hearings.
15. Rule any motion on a subject not on the agenda as being out of order, in which case the motion shall thereafter be void.
16. Continue or postpone any matter until the next regular, adjourned regular or special meeting whenever the city attorney advises that there is a question as to the validity or constitutionality of the particular proposed course of action which is the subject matter of such motion subject to Council’s approval.
17. Rule any speaker out of order, terminate any communication with the council from a member of the public and/or declare a recess in order to establish order at any meeting. Mayor may move, second and debate from the chair, subject only to such limitations of debate as are by these rules imposed upon all members. The Mayor shall not be deprived of any of the rights and privileges of a councilmember by reason of being Mayor or acting as the Mayor.

B. It shall be the duty of the Vice-Mayor:

1. In the absence of Mayor, the Vice-Mayor shall exercise the duties and powers of the Mayor.
2. To serve with the Mayor as spokesperson and representative for the Council.
3. To assist the Mayor in anticipating issues and problems deserving or in need of special meetings.



The City Clerk shall be appointed by the City Manager. The City Clerk shall have power and be required to:

A. Be responsible for the recording and maintaining of a full and true record of all the proceedings of the Council in books that shall bear appropriate titles and be devoted to such purpose, and attend all meetings of the Council either in person or by deputy;
B. Maintain separate books, in which shall be recorded respectively all ordinances and resolutions, with the certificate of the Clerk annexed to each thereof stating the same to be the original or a correct copy, and as to an ordinance requiring publication, stating that the same has been published in accordance with state law; keep all books properly indexed and open to public inspection when not in actual use.
C. Maintain separate files, with appropriate indexes thereto, of all contracts the execution of which was specifically authorized by Council action, and of all official bonds of the City.
D. Be the custodian of the Seal of the City.
E. Administer oaths or affirmations, take affidavits and depositions pertaining to the affairs and business of the City and certify copies of official records.
F. Maintain in appropriate books and files such other records, documents, instruments, and papers as the Council shall provide by ordinance.
G. Except as may be otherwise provided by ordinance or resolution of the Council the destruction or other disposition of City records, documents, instruments, books, and papers in the custody of the City Clerk shall be governed by the laws of the State regulating the destruction or disposition of the records of general law cities and procedures adopted by the City Council.



The City Attorney shall be appointed and serve at the pleasure of the Council.

1. The City Attorney shall have power and may be required to:

(a) Represent and advise the Council and all City officers in all matters of law pertaining to their offices;

(b) Represent and appear for the City in any or all actions or proceedings in which the City is concerned or is a party, including the prosecution of violations of this Charter and ordinances enacted by the Council, and represent and appear for any City Officer or employee, or former City Officer or employee, in any or all actions and proceedings in which any such officer or employee is concerned or is a party for any act arising out of his/her employment or by reason of his/her official capacity provided the interest of the City in such action or proceeding is not adversely affected;

(c) Attend all regular meetings of the Council and give his/her advice or opinion in writing whenever requested to do so by the Council or by any of the boards or officers of the City;

(d) Approve the form of all contracts made by and all bonds given to the City, endorsing his/her approval thereon in writing;

(e) Review any and all proposed ordinances or resolutions for the City and amendments thereto;

(f) Join in amicus briefs if there is no cost to the City;

(g) Surrender to his/her successor all books, papers, files and documents pertaining to the City’s affairs;

(h) The Council shall have control of all legal business and proceedings and City Attorney may employ other attorneys to take charge of any litigation or matter to assist the City Attorney therein;



Advisory committees may be created as needed with the concurrence of a majority of the Council.

Advisory committees shall assist in the resolution or study of issues arising from specific areas of concern resulting from the main subject matter assigned it by the Council.

All communications and advice from an advisory committee shall be made to the Council.

Advisory committees shall serve until discharged by a majority of the Council.



Every vote taken by the Council shall be by open ballot.

There shall be four methods of ascertaining the decision of the Council upon any matter:

First, by a voice vote;

Second, by a call of the roll of the members in alphabetical order, except the Mayor who shall be last and a record made by the City Clerk of the vote of each member;

Third, electronic vote; or

Fourth, by unanimous consent.

Upon the request of any member of the Council on any motion, the City Clerk shall call the roll. A member’s silence shall be recorded as an affirmative vote.

If a member does not vote in the affirmative or negative or does not respond in a manner permitted under this paragraph, the member shall be deemed to have voted in the affirmative.

The City Clerk shall record each vote and each abstention in the Minute Book. Whenever the ayes and noes are called, a Councilmember shall not be permitted to explain a vote or an abstention without the unanimous consent of the Council. After the announcement of the result, a Councilmember shall not be permitted to vote or to change a vote or an abstention, except in the case of a motion to reconsider as set forth in Rule No. 25.



As to conflict of interest issues, the Council shall comply with all rules, policies, and regulations approved by the Fair Political Practices Commission.



Failure to observe the rules set forth in this chapter shall not invalidate any action taken which is otherwise lawful but defective only for failure to follow the procedure outlined in this chapter.



The City Council shall hold regular meetings in the council chambers of the City Hall, or at such other place as may be determined by the council. The times and dates of regular City council meetings shall be determined by the city council resolutions.

When the day for any meeting falls on a holiday as provided in this chapter, no meeting shall be held on such holiday, but a meeting may be held at the same hour on the following business day that is not a holiday.

Special meetings may be called at any time by the Mayor or by a majority of the members of the city council by delivering personally or by mail written notice to each councilmember and to each local newspaper of general circulation, radio or television station requesting notice at least twenty-four hours before the time of such meeting as specified in the notice and by posting, at least twenty-four hours prior to the special meeting in a location that is freely accessible to members of the public.

A. The call and notice shall specify the time and place of the special meeting and the business to be transacted.
B. No other business shall be considered at such meetings.
C. Written notice may be waived by any councilmember who, at or prior to the time the meeting convenes, files with the city clerk a written waiver of notice.
D. Such waiver may be given by email or other written documentation.
E. Such written notice may also be dispensed with as to any councilmember who is actually present at the meeting at the time it convenes.



All reports, communications, ordinances, contract documents or other matters, including basic fact and matters pertinent thereto, to be submitted to the council, shall be delivered to the City Clerk not later than 9 a.m. on the Tuesday preceding the meeting. The City Clerk shall thereafter arrange a list of such matters according to the order of business, and furnish each member of the council with a copy of the list not later than five p.m. on the Thursday preceding the regular or adjourned regular meeting. Whenever feasible, each item on the agenda shall contain a staff recommendation and the specific action requested to be taken by the council. All material pertaining to and accompanying the agenda shall be made available to the public when made available to the city council.

No matters other than those listed on the agenda shall be finally acted upon by the council provided, however, that matters not on the agenda may be submitted for council consideration and action pursuant to state law or under any of the following conditions:

A. Upon a determination by a majority vote of council that an emergency situation exists, as defined in Government Code Section 54956.5;

B. Upon a determination by a two-thirds vote of council, or if less than two-thirds of the members are present, a unanimous vote of those members present, that the need to take action arose subsequent to the agenda being posted; and

C. The item was posted for a prior meeting of the council occurring not more than five calendar days prior to the date action is taken on the item, and at the prior meeting the item was continued to the meeting at which action is being taken.

The business of the council shall, except upon an affirmative vote of the city council or a determination by the Mayor, be taken up for consideration and disposition at its meeting.

The regular order of business may be changed or suspended for any purpose at any particular meeting by the Mayor with the consent of a majority of the councilmembers present.



Summary minutes for all minutes, including city boards, commissions, and agencies shall consist of a clear and concise statement of each and every council, board, commission, or agency action, including the motions made and the vote thereon. The city council shall determine the scope and format for all minutes including city boards, commissions and agencies. The City Clerk shall have exclusive responsibility for preparation of the City Council minutes. If a majority of the City Councilmembers approves a verbatim transcript, the City Clerk or his/her designate shall prepare the transcript.

Minutes may be approved without reading if the City Clerk has previously furnished each councilmember with a copy.



When any motion is in order for the question, a vote thereon shall be taken by voice, roll call, or voting device and entered in full upon the record.

A member’s vote may be changed only upon a timely request to do so immediately following the announcement of the vote by the city clerk and prior to the time that the next item in the order of business is taken up.

Ordinances, resolutions and other matters submitted to the council must be adopted by a majority vote of the total membership of the council unless a greater number of votes may be required by law. The word “majority” means three votes for the city council and all city boards, commissions and agencies with a total of five members. In instances where a majority vote cannot be obtained and no additional action is taken and one or more members of the council is absent, such matter shall automatically be added to a future agenda of the council to be considered at least once by the council with all members present.



The term “public hearing” includes all public hearings having specific notice requirements by state law or city ordinance, including employee disciplinary proceedings and proceedings for the revocation, suspension, or reinstatement of permits, licenses, and franchises.

Public hearings shall be conducted in the following order:

1. Staff Reports;

2. Hearing opened by Mayor;

3. Public testimony;

4. Close hearing by majority vote;

5. Discussion among city council; and

6. Action by majority vote.

On the date and at the time and place designated in the notice, the council shall afford any interested person or his or her authorized representative, or both, the opportunity to present witnesses, to present documentary evidence, to present statements, arguments or contentions orally and/or in writing, subject to the rules on addressing the council and rules stated in this chapter.

All oral statements, documents, exhibits, communications, petitions, maps, or displays submitted at the hearing may be considered by the council as evidence and in such event retained as part of the record. Whenever practicable, a written staff report shall be prepared and presented as part of the staff presentation. Evidence shall not be taken outside the council chambers and shall not be considered by the council, except when, during the hearing, the meeting is adjourned to a particular date, place and time for the purpose of taking visual or demonstrative evidence.

In the event a councilmember is absent at a meeting where a hearing is held which has been continued to a subsequent meeting, such member may participate in the matter at such subsequent meeting if otherwise qualified upon stating for the minutes that such councilmember has reviewed the written minutes of the prior portions of the hearing and is prepared to participate.

Any hearing being held or noticed or ordered to be held by the council may, by minute action, be continued to any subsequent regular or adjourned regular meeting of the council in compliance with the laws of the state.



Every councilmember desiring to speak shall address the chair, and upon recognition by the Mayor shall confine comments to the question under debate, avoiding personalities and indecorous language.

A member, once recognized, shall not be interrupted when speaking unless it is to call such member to order, or as herein otherwise provided. If called to order while speaking, a member shall cease speaking until the question of order to be determined, and, if in order, shall be permitted to proceed.

The councilmember moving the adoption of an ordinance, resolution or council action shall have the privilege of closing the debate.



No motion may be debated nor voted upon unless it has received a second. Only one motion may be before the council at any time.

A motion to table takes precedence over all other motions and shall be subject to debate. When a motion to table is passed, the matter shall not again be considered by the council unless such matter is taken from the table by a majority vote of the council.

A matter once tabled shall not be placed on the agenda nor discussed unless a member who had voted to table such matter requests the council to have such matter taken from the table, or requests the clerk to place such matter on the agenda for the purposes of determining whether or not such matter shall be taken from the table.



Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, proceedings of the council shall be governed by common sense and good taste. In the event of a dispute concerning procedural matters not specifically covered in this chapter, the majority vote of the council shall prevail.

Rules adopted to expedite the transaction of business of the council in an orderly fashion are deemed to be procedural only, and the failure to strictly observe such rules shall not affect the jurisdiction of the council or invalidate any action taken at a meeting that is otherwise held in conformity with the law.



Any person desiring to address the council shall first secure the permission of the Mayor to do so. Notwithstanding this provision, the majority of the City Council may vote to recognize any speaker and determine the length of time allowed to the speaker.. In addition, but unless the Mayor rules otherwise, any person shall have the right to address the council upon obtaining recognition by the Mayor to speak subject to the following:

A. Public Hearings. Interested persons or their authorized representatives may address the council orally or in writing relating to the matters which are then subject to a public hearing.

B. Non-“Hearing” Matters. Interested parties or their authorized representatives may address the council with regard to matters with which they are concerned and are then the subject of council discussion. When copies of such communications are furnished each councilmember present, such written communications shall not be read aloud at the meeting unless so ordered by a majority vote of the council. Written communications from the administrative staff shall not be read aloud unless requested by any councilmember.

C. Oral Communications. Any person may address the council under oral communications with regard to any matter with which they are concerned. The council shall not discuss any matter not on the agenda pursuant to state law and this chapter nor take any action except to refer such matter to a future agenda.

D. Addressing the Council. Each person addressing the council shall speak into the microphone at the speaker’s podium, and should state his or her name and address in an audible tone of voice for the record, and unless further time is granted by the Mayor shall limit the remarks to five minutes. All remarks shall be addressed to the council as a body, and not to any member thereof. No person other than the council and the person having the floor shall be permitted to enter into any discussion, either directly or through a member of the council, without the permission of the Mayor

E. Limitation to Agenda Item. Except under oral communications, the Mayor shall not permit any communication, written or oral, to be made or submitted unless such communication addresses the agenda item then under discussion.

F. Consent Required. No person shall address or question a councilmember, the staff or any other person without the prior consent of the Mayor. Notwithstanding this provision, a City Councilmember may address a question to staff or any other person without the consent of the Mayor if the majority of the City Council approves the request to speak to staff or person.

G. Permission to Speak. After a motion is made by a councilmember, no person shall address the council without first securing the permission of the council to do so.

H. Anonymous Communications. Anonymous communications shall not be considered nor placed on the agenda.

I. Group Communications. When any identifiable group of persons, as opposed to the general public at large, wishes to address the council on the same agenda item, the Mayor may request that a spokesperson be chosen by said group to address the council. If additional issues are to be presented at the hearing by any other member of such group, the Mayor may limit the time periods to address the council, so as to avoid unnecessary repetition of issues before the council.

J. Additional Opportunity to Address the Council. Subject to the needs of the council to expeditiously perform its business and to avoid repetitive testimony, any person may be permitted by the Mayor to address the council more than once on any particular item. No person shall be allowed to address the council more than once on an item until all persons present and wishing to address the council have been provided the opportunity to do so. The Mayor may limit the time period allowed any person to address the council on an item more than one time, and shall not permit repetitive testimony from any person.



While the council is in session, all persons shall preserve the order and decorum of the session; and a member shall neither by conversation or otherwise delay or interrupt the proceedings or the peace of the council nor disturb any member while speaking, or refuse to obey the orders of the council or its Mayor, except as otherwise herein provided.

Any person making personal, impertinent or slanderous remarks, or who becomes boisterous while addressing the council, which conduct delays or interrupts the due course of the meeting, shall be forthwith barred from further audience before that session of the council by the Mayor, unless permission to continue is granted by majority vote of the council.

While the council is in session, any person who acts in a disorderly, contemptuous or insolent manner towards the council or any councilmember thereof, or who becomes boisterous while addressing the council or any councilmember thereof, which conduct delays or interrupts the due course of the meeting, or any member of the public in attendance who fails, on demand of the Mayor, to comply with any order of the Mayor made in accord with the authority of this chapter, is subject to possible criminal penalties
No person, except city officials and their representatives, shall be permitted within the area beyond the rostrum which is reserved for staff and council without the express consent of the council.

The city manager may designate such appropriate person or persons to act as sergeant at arms to carry out all orders and instructions given by the Mayor for the purposes of maintaining order and decorum at the council meeting. Upon instructions of the Mayor, it shall be the duty of the sergeant at arms, or any of them present, to place any person who violates the order and decorum of the meeting under arrest, and cause such person to be prosecuted under provisions of this code, the complaint to be signed by the Mayor or other appropriate person present.



Action by the Council on requests by the Mayor for confirmation or approval of an appointee or nominee to a public office or position shall be taken by minute action confirming or not confirming the appointee or nominee.



Any person may petition the Council. Petitions and other matters shall be in writing, signed by the petitioners or persons presenting them. All petitions shall be made part of the official records kept by the City Clerk and referred to committee, as appropriate.



A motion to reconsider any action approved by the Council shall be made by a member of the majority no later than the end of the next public meeting of the Council. It may be either immediately during the same session, or at a recessed or adjourned session thereof. Such motion may be made at any time and have precedence over all other motions or while a member has the floor; it shall be debatable.


The majority of the entire membership of the Council may, by motion, designate any matter to be a special order of business, which shall take precedence over all other business. A special order of business action is limited to matters properly noticed and placed on the agenda under the Ralph M. Brown Act, Government Code Sections 54950 et. seq.

The Mayor or a majority of the Council shall decide all questions relating to the priority of business to be acted upon by the Council.

The order of business will be as follows:

Roll Call
Pledge of Allegiance
Awards, commendations, proclamations, and honorary resolutions.
(Council quorum not necessary.)
Approval of Agenda
Public Comment
Adopt Uncontested Consent Calendar Items & Minutes
Contested Consent Items
Proceed with Order of Agenda.
Closed Session (Can be conducted before the meeting or after all items of the
Agenda have been completed)

Consent calendar items will be enacted by one motion. There will be no separate discussion of such items unless requested by a Councilmember. Items pulled for discussion will be considered immediately after the uncontested consent items have been approved. A Councilmember may also pull a consent item simply to move an item or oppose an item without discussion. An item pulled to move or to oppose with no discussion may be voted upon during the Uncontested Consent Calendar section of the agenda.



A rule of the Council may be altered or rescinded and a new rule may be adopted by a resolution approved by an affirmative vote of a majority of the entire membership of the Council at an open meeting. Any amendments would have to be placed on the agenda before Council may take action to amend them.



A. Ceremonial Events.
Requests for a City representative at ceremonial events will be handled by City staff. The Mayor will serve as the designated City representative. If the Mayor is unavailable, then City staff will determine if event organizers would like another representative from the Council. If yes, then the Mayor will recommend which Councilmember should be asked to serve as a substitute. Invitations received at City Hall are presumed to be for official City representation. Invitations addressed to Councilmembers at their homes are presumed to be for unofficial, personal consideration.

B. Correspondence Signatures.
Councilmembers do not need to acknowledge the receipt of correspondence, or copies of correspondence, during Council meetings. City staff will prepare official letters in response to public inquiries and concerns. These letters will carry the signature of the Mayor unless the Mayor requests that they be signed by another Councilmember or City staff. If correspondence is addressed only to one Councilmember, that Councilmember should check with staff on the best way to respond to the sender.

C. Endorsement of Candidates.
Councilmembers have the right to endorse candidates for all Council seats or other elected offices. It is inappropriate to mention endorsements during Council meetings or other official City meetings.

D. Non-agenda Items.
During a designated time period on the agenda, citizens, Councilmembers and staff may bring forth issues or questions that are not on the meeting’s agenda. Topics should be legislative items requiring action by the Mayor or the Council, study issues for future consideration, and requests for information. Each speaker, citizen, or elected official will be limited to five minutes.

E. Public Announcements in Council Meetings.
Councilmembers are encouraged to report on their activities and other items of public interest. Councilmembers speak during the Council Comments portion of the Council meeting. Councilmembers who wish to recognize achievements or promote an event should place the matter on the agenda under “Proclamations, Presentation, Recognitions, Announcements and Appointments.”

F. Public Meeting Hearing Protocol.
After presentation of the matter by staff, if appropriate, the applicant or appellant shall have the right to speak first. The Chair will determine the length of time allowed for this presentation. Speakers representing either pro or con points of view will be allowed to follow. The Chair will determine how much time will be allowed for each speaker, with three to five minutes the standard time granted. The applicant or appellant will be allowed to make closing comments. The Chair has the responsibility to run an efficient public meeting and has the discretion to modify the public hearing process in order to make the meeting run smoothly. Councilmembers will not express opinions during the public hearing portion of the meeting except to ask pertinent questions of the speaker or staff. “I think” and “I feel” statements by Councilmembers are not appropriate until after the close of the public hearing. Councilmembers should refrain from arguing or debating with the public during a public hearing and shall always show respect for different points of view.

G. Travel Expenses.
The policies and procedures related to the reimbursement of travel expenses for official City business by Councilmembers are outlined in the City’s Travel Policy and Procedures. All Council travel in excess of the allowed budget, in which the Councilmember expects to officially represent the City and/or be reimbursed by the City for travel costs, must be approved in advance by the Council. The travel policy and budget for Council should be reviewed at each two-year budget cycle.

H. City Letterhead

City Councilmembers are prohibited from using City letterhead for personal use or when acting solely in the capacity as a councilmember . Any correspondence using City letterhead shall be used only by staff or when the Council has taken action at a regular or special City council meeting.



Councils are composed of individuals with a wide variety of backgrounds, personalities, values, opinions, and goals. Despite this diversity, all have chosen to serve in public office in order to preserve and protect the present and future of the community. In all cases, this common goal should be acknowledged even as Council may “agree to disagree” on contentious issues.

A. In Public Meetings.

(i) Use formal titles. The Council should refer to one another formally during public meetings as Mayor, Vice Mayor or Councilmember followed by the individual’s last name.

(ii) Practice civility and decorum in discussions and debate. Difficult questions, tough challenges to a particular point of view, and criticism of ideas and information are legitimate elements of a free democracy in action. This does not allow, however, Councilmembers to make belligerent, personal, impertinent, slanderous, threatening, abusive, or disparaging comments. No shouting or physical actions that could be construed as threatening will be tolerated.

(iii) Honor the role of the Chair in maintaining order. It is the responsibility of the Chair to keep the comments of Councilmembers on track during public meetings. Councilmembers should honor efforts by the Chair to focus discussion on current agenda items. If there is disagreement about the agenda or the Chair’s action, those objections should be voiced politely and with reason, following procedures outlined in parliamentary procedure.

(iv) Avoid personal comments that could offend other Councilmembers. If a Councilmember is personally offended by the remarks of another Councilmember, the offended Councilmember should make notes of the actual words used and call for a “point of personal privilege” that challenges the other Councilmember to justify or apologize for the language used. The Chair will maintain control of this discussion. If the Mayor is the offending party, the Vice Mayor shall act in the role of Mayor provided in the Council Administrative Policy.



(i) The City Council and its members shall deal with the administrative service solely through the City Manager and pursuant to Brentwood Municipal Code §2.36.070.



A. In Public Meetings.

Making the public feel welcome is an important part of the democratic process. No signs of partiality, prejudice or disrespect should be evident on the part of individual Councilmembers toward an individual participating in a public forum. Every effort should be made to be fair and impartial in listening to public testimony.

(i) Be welcoming to speakers and treat them with respect.

(ii) Be fair and equitable in allocating public hearing time to individual speakers. “The first thing the Mayor said to me was to be brief because the meeting was running late and the Council was eager to go home. That shouldn’t be my problem. I’m sorry my item was at the end of the agenda and that there were a lot of speakers, but it is critically important to me and I should be allowed to say what I have to say and believe that the Council is listening to me.”

The Chair will determine and announce limits on speakers at the start of the public hearing process. Generally, each speaker will be allocated five minutes, with applicants and appellants or their designated representatives allowed more time. If many speakers are anticipated, the Chair may shorten the time limit and/or ask speakers to limit themselves to new information and points of view not already covered by previous speakers.

No speaker will be turned away unless he or she exhibits inappropriate behavior. Each speaker may only speak once during the public hearing unless the Council requests additional clarification later in the process. After the close of the public hearing, no more public testimony will be accepted unless the Chair reopens the public hearing for a limited and specific purpose.

(iii) Give the appearance of active listening.

(iv) Ask for clarification, but avoid debate and argument with the public. Only the Chair – not individual Councilmembers – can interrupt a speaker during a presentation. However, a Councilmember can ask the Chair for a point of order if the speaker is off the topic or exhibiting behavior or language the Councilmember finds disturbing. If speakers become flustered or defensive by Council questions, it is the responsibility of the Chair to calm and focus the speaker and to maintain the order and decorum of the meeting. Questions by Councilmembers to members of the public testifying should seek to clarify or expand information. It is never appropriate to belligerently challenge or belittle the speaker. Councilmembers’ personal opinions or inclinations about upcoming votes should not be revealed until after the public hearing is closed.

(v) No personal attacks of any kind, under any circumstances. Councilmembers should be aware that their body language and tone of voice, as well as the words they use, could appear to be intimidating or aggressive.

(vi) Follow parliamentary procedure in conducting public meetings. The City Attorney is available to answer questions or interpret situations according to parliamentary procedures. The Chair, subject to the appeal of the full Council, makes final rulings on parliamentary procedure.


Be clear about representing the City or personal interests. If a Councilmember appears before another governmental agency or organization to give a statement on an issue, the Councilmember must clearly state: 1) if his or her statement reflects personal opinion or is the official stance of the City; and 2) whether this is the majority or minority opinion of the Council.

If the Councilmember is representing the City, the Councilmember must support and advocate the official City position on an issue, not a personal viewpoint. If the Council-member is representing another organization whose position is different from the City, the Councilmember should withdraw from voting on the issue if it significantly impacts or is detrimental to the City’s interest. Councilmembers should be clear about which organizations they represent and inform the Mayor and Council of their involvement.

Correspondence also should be equally clear about representation. City letterhead may be used when the Councilmember is representing the City and the City’s official position. A copy of official correspondence should be filed in the Council Office as part of the permanent public record.

City letterhead is not to be used for correspondence of Councilmembers representing a personal point of view, or a dissenting point of view from an official Council position. However, if a Councilmember uses City letterhead to express a personal opinion, the official City position must be stated clearly so the reader understands the difference between the official City position and the minor viewpoint of the Councilmember.



The City has established several Commissions as a means of gathering more community input. Citizens who serve on Commissions become more involved in government and serve as advisors to the City Council. They are a valuable resource to the City’s leadership and should be treated with appreciation and respect.

(i) If attending a Commission meeting, be careful to only express personal opinions. Councilmembers may attend any Commission meeting, which are always open to any member of the public; however, they should be sensitive that their participation – especially if it is on behalf of an individual, business or developer – could be viewed as unfairly affecting the process. Any public comments by a Councilmember at a Commission meeting should be clearly made as individual opinion and not a representation of the feelings of the entire City Council.

(ii) Limit contact with Commission members to questions of clarification. It is inappropriate for a Councilmember to contact a Commission member to lobby on behalf of an individual, business, or developer. It is acceptable for Councilmembers to contact Commission members in order to clarify a position taken by the Commission.

(iii) Remember that Commissions serve the community, not individual Councilmembers. The Mayor appoints, with City Council approval, individuals to serve on Commissions and it is the responsibility of Commissions to follow policy established by the Council. Commission members do not report to individual Councilmembers, nor should Councilmembers feel they have the power or right to threaten Commission members with removal if they disagree about an issue. Appointment and re-appointment to a Commission should be based on such criteria as expertise, ability to work with staff and the public, and commitment to fulfilling official duties. A Commission appointment should not be used as a political “reward.”

(iv) Be respectful of diverse opinions. A primary role of Commissions is to represent many points of view in the community and to provide the Council with advice based on a full spectrum of concerns and perspectives. Councilmembers may have a closer working relationship with some individuals serving on Commissions, but must be fair and respectful of all citizens serving on Commissions.

(v) Keep political support away from public forums. Commission members may offer political support to a Councilmember, but not in a public forum while conducting official duties. Conversely, Councilmembers may support Commission members who are running for office, but not in an official forum in their capacity as a Councilmember.

(vi) Inappropriate behavior can lead to removal. Inappropriate behavior by a Commission member should be noted to the Mayor, and the Mayor should counsel the offending member. If inappropriate behavior continues, the Mayor should bring the situation to the attention of the Council and the individual is subject to removal from the Commission.



Councilmembers are frequently contacted by the media for background and quotes.

(i) The best advice for dealing with the media is to never go “off the record.” Most members of the media represent the highest levels of journalistic integrity and ethics, and can be trusted to keep their word. But one bad experience can be catastrophic. Words that are not said cannot be quoted.

(ii) The Mayor is the official spokesperson for the Council on City policy. The Mayor is the designated representative of the Council to present and speak on the official City position. If the media contacts an individual Councilmember, the Councilmember should be clear about whether their comments represent the official City position or a personal viewpoint.

(iii) Choose words carefully and cautiously. Comments taken out of context can cause problems. Be especially cautious about humor, sardonic asides, sarcasm, or word play. It is never appropriate to use personal slurs or swear words when talking with the media.



Public Disruption
Members of the public who do not follow proper conduct after a warning in a public hearing may be barred from further testimony at that meeting or removed from the Council Chambers.

Councilmembers’ Behavior and Conduct
City Councilmembers who intentionally and repeatedly do not follow proper conduct may be reprimanded or formally censured by the Council, lose committee assignments (both within the City of Brentwood or with inter-governmental agencies) or have official travel restricted. Serious infractions of the Code of Ethics or Code of Conduct could lead to other sanctions as deemed appropriate by Council.



The City will pay actual and necessary expenses incurred by Councilmembers when on official duty on order of the City Council pursuant to the following guidelines:

A. Councilmembers’ attendance at conferences and meetings.

Attendance at conferences and meetings can be both beneficial and cost effective to the City. For those Councilmembers who choose to participate, attendance would be viewed as an extension of official City responsibilities. Councilmembers may choose to attend a conference for one or more of the following reasons:

1. Voting Delegate.

The City is usually requested to designate an official delegate from among the Council who will cast the City’s vote and represent the City’s position on business presented before the conference delegation.

2. Committee Membership.

Councilmembers may choose to serve on local, state and national committees which provide the opportunity to represent state or City interests in key policy and legislative areas. Meetings are often held in conjunction with annual conferences, as a means of saving cost and encouraging wider attendance.

3. Education.

Most conferences are workshops and seminars which are used to brief Councilmembers on key legislation, policies or programs impacting local government.

4. Advocacy.

A conference environment offers Councilmembers the opportunity to articulate the City’s position on key legislation and funding policies with key elected/appointed officials on both the state and federal levels.

5. Sharing of City’s Expertise.

Brentwood Councilmembers may, on occasion, be invited to present papers or presentations to a conference or workshop with the goal of improving the efficiency and performance of local government in general.

B. Affiliations.

Each year the Council will assess the benefit of City membership in the following organizations which have traditionally been identified as providing support and service to local governments:

 The National League of Cities (NLC)
 U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM)
 League of California Cities (LCC)

C. Conferences.

The following conferences and meetings are approved for inclusion by Councilmembers in the annual Council Travel Budget:

 Annual Meeting (National League of Cities)
 Local Government Commission
 Annual Conference (LCC)
 New Councilmembers Conference (LCC)
 Bi-Annual Legislative Conference (LCC)
 Contra Costa Mayors’ Conference
 Planners Institute (LCC)
 General Conference (GVC)
 National Association of Cities
 Brentwood Agricultural Trust

Attendance at one-day workshops not requiring air travel and which meet any of the purposes cited in Section A above may be included in the travel budget.

Councilmembers traveling at City expense to conferences and committee meetings of National League of Cities. U. S. Conference of Mayor, the League of California Cities, shall submit a written activity report to the entire Council. The written activity report shall be submitted at the same time the expense statement is submitted.

D. Budget.

The cost of the proposed travel must not exceed the fiscal year adopted budget. Beginning in fiscal year 2003-04, the annual appropriation for general travel shall be divided equally among the five members of the City Council. It is not always possible to anticipate all future plans of every organization or group. As such, the adopted travel budget can be amended during the fiscal year by approval of the City Council at a public meeting. The budget for Council travel should be reviewed at each two-year budget cycle.

E. Approval and Monitoring.

Specific Council authorization is not required for Councilmembers to attend conferences and meetings which fall under Section C of this policy, subject to the Councilmember’s budget limitations. In addition, Councilmembers may attend conferences and meetings that meet one or more of the following purposes, subject to individual budget limitations and prior Council approval to attend:

 Committee/board meetings of NLC and LCC
 Conferences that are of obvious benefit to the City
 Councilmember has been invited to present a City/State position
 Councilmember is lobbying on behalf of a City/State program
 Conferences that provide professional development for Councilmembers in carrying out official City responsibilities

Staff will work with each Councilmember to prepare an individual annual budget, based upon the Councilmember’s travel plans relating to appointments to organizations and individual interests. This will be amended as necessary. The purpose of this budget is to provide a monitoring tool for each Councilmember’s travel budget. This budget does not need Council approval, as it is subject to the overall guidelines of this policy. In the event that a Councilmember’s travel budget, as amended, will result in the individual allocation being exceeded, the budget must go to Council for approval. As Councilmembers request authorization to attend any conference requiring Council approval above, the effect of that travel on the individual Councilmember’s budget will be provided to Council at that time.

Each Councilmember will be provided with an update of his/her travel expenses compared to budget as expenses are paid. In addition, the City Manager (who authorizes payment of expenses) will receive current information on each Councilmember’s expenditures in a timely manner.

F. Expense Reimbursed.

Expenses will be paid by the City for conferences, conventions, meetings, workshops, seminars, activities and the like in accordance with the City’s Travel Policy and Procedures.

G. Reporting of Expenses.

1. Statements of expense shall be submitted to the City Manager on forms provided for such purpose. The statement shall show all expenses incurred which are chargeable to the City.

2. Documentation. Written receipts shall be required to show expenses incurred.

3. Statements of expenses for conferences, which include all expenses incurred, shall be submitted no later than 10 calendar days after return from a conference or meeting. Statements of expenses incurred for local meetings or activities should be submitted within 10 calendar days of the time such expense was incurred; provided, however, that statements of expense for local mileage should be submitted monthly. Statements submitted after the dates specified shall be received and claims based thereon be paid if in order.

4. The City Manager shall review and approve statements of expense for all Councilmembers.

5. Any Councilmember who believes that the City Manager has denied approval of an expense may appeal the decision to the entire City Council.

TRAVEL / EXPENSE POLICY Policy No: 20-4 Date: 7/22/03
Resolution No: 2933 Page 1


The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines for the expenditure of public funds for authorizing attendance, travel, and reimbursement of expenses for City employees, Council members and Commissioners attending conferences, training, meetings and other City related business. Contract employees and consultants are not covered under this policy.

It is the intent of the City of Brentwood to assure compliance with IRS regulations. Reimbursement of business-related expenses paid to employees is generally tax-free; however, employees must substantiate the expenses with original receipts.

This policy supersedes all previous policies.
2.1 Pre-Travel Authorization: City employees must complete the Pre-Travel Authorization Form and secure approval from their department director and/or City Manager prior to attendance of any non-local conference, seminar or meeting. “Non-Local” shall be defined as travel requiring an overnight stay.

2.2 Post Travel Expense Reconciliation: Within 10 calendar days of return to the work place, the Post Travel Expense Reconciliation Form must be completed for non-local travel, approved by the department director and/or City Manager and submitted to the Finance Department wherein actual travel expenses, including amounts advanced, must be reconciled. If actual costs, within the limits prescribed below are greater than the amount advanced, the difference when authorized by the employee’s department director and/or City Manager will be refunded to the traveler. If the amounts advanced are greater than the actual expenses, the employee must return the funds to the City with the Pre-Travel Authorization Post Travel Expense Reconciliation Form.

2.3 Local Travel Advance/Reimbursement Form: City employees must complete the Local Travel Advance/Reimbursement Form within 10 calendar days of event or date of purchase requiring reimbursement. “Local” shall be defined as travel not requiring an overnight stay.

2.4 Brentwood Police Department Training Expense and Course Control Form: The Police Department must complete this form prior to registration for approved training.

2.5 Employee Responsibility: City employees are required to have proper regard for economy in the conduct of City business.

2.6 Registration: All registration fees for approved conferences, seminars or meetings shall be paid directly by the City whenever possible, either by City check or City credit card. If registration is paid directly by the employee, reimbursement will be made with proper documentation after attendance at the conference, seminar or meeting. Employees should register at the earliest time possible to avoid late registration charges. If a conference needs to be cancelled, cancellation should be before the deadline to avoid a penalty.

2.7 Lodging: The cost of lodging accommodations for approved conferences; seminars or meetings will be paid directly by the City, either by check or City credit card, or employee personal credit card for reimbursement after return from travel.

Hotel and motel charges shall be based on single occupancy rates. The City will not reimburse employees for lodging expenses incurred for additional guests. In instances where conference hotels are filled, the employee should attempt to secure comparable rates at the nearest hotel.

Pre-conference lodging will be allowed for travel requiring extensive travel time and must be identified in the travel request, supported by a copy of the conference schedule and approved by the Department Head and/or City Manager. Note: Starting time is for actual conference, not registration or optional tours or conference sponsored events unless related to professional development as approved by Department Head and/or City Manager.

Lodging will be allowed for travel if the following conditions are met:

• The length of the conference is more than one day, extensive travel time is required or the distance is more than 100 miles from City Hall or the employee’s residence, whichever is more or,

• If the employee’s presence is required for activities before or after the regular conference hours.

2.8 Transportation: Use of air, train, private car or bus shall be selected on the basis of the most reasonable and appropriate method, taking into consideration distance, time and total costs to the City.

2.9 Air Travel: City officials and employees shall endeavor to book air travel to take advantage of discounts and non-refundable ticket fares where practical. All flights shall be booked at coach class or equivalent level.

2.9.1 Mileage reimbursements shall be limited to the equivalent of the most economical fare. When approved, mileage will be reimbursed at the current rate set by the Internal Revenue Service.

2.9.2 Airline tickets shall be paid directly by the City, either by City check or City credit card, or personal credit card for reimbursement. If an employee has been issued a City credit card but chooses to use his or her personal credit card, reimbursement will be made with proper documentation after attendance at the conference, seminar or meeting. If an employee does not have a City issued credit card and uses their personal credit card for the purchase of airline tickets they may receive payment with proper documentation prior to the attendance of the conference. If the airline tickets are not used, it is the employee’s responsibility to reimburse the City within five calendar days of notification of cancellation.

2.9.3 Mileage shall be reimbursed when traveling to and from the airport, at the current mileage rate set by the Internal Revenue Service. When available, courtesy shuttle services should be utilized between airports and meeting locations. Parking at the airport is reimbursable with the original receipt.

2.10 Rental Vehicles: When rental vehicles are used, the least expensive vehicle practical will be used.

2.11 Mileage Reimbursement: No City employee shall be authorized mileage reimbursement for the use of his or her privately owned vehicle in the performance of City business if a City-owned vehicle is available and suitable for such use.

2.11.1 If the distance from the employee’s home to the conference site is less than the distance from the work site, use of personal vehicle may be used and the employee will be reimbursed as set forth in this policy.

2.11.2 When authorized, private vehicle usage will be reimbursed at the current rate set by the Internal Revenue Service. Mileage reimbursement will be based on actual miles traveled for City business, via the most direct route.

2.11.3 In cases where more than one employee is attending the same event, employees will normally be expected to travel together when feasible and mileage reimbursement will be for one vehicle only.

2.11.4 Employees receiving monthly auto allowances may not receive mileage reimbursement in addition to the monthly allowance.

2.12 Unauthorized expenses: Items of a personal nature are not reimbursable including: movies, entertainment, premium television services, alcoholic beverages, dry-cleaning, spas, gyms, barber, magazines, shoe shines, travel insurance, purchase of clothing or toiletries, loss of tickets, fines or traffic violations, excess baggage costs, spouse and/or guest expenses, repairs to personal vehicles, office equipment and other items of a personal nature. Optional tours, banquets or other activities not related towards professional development offered through the conference, but as an additional cost to registration, are solely at the discretion of the employee and will be considered as a personal expense. The department head and/or City Manager shall determine what constitutes professional development.

2.12.1 A local elected official purchasing meals for third parties, such as constituents, legislators, and private business owners at meetings held to conduct City related business is an unauthorized expense (Attorney General Opinion No. 02-711).

2.12.2 The use of a City credit card to pay for unauthorized or personal expenses is discouraged. If unauthorized expenses have been paid by the City, the employee will be responsible for reimbursement to the City within five days. If unauthorized charge was on a City credit card, the employee should submit to Finance a check made payable to the credit card company.

2.13 Family Members or Guests: Travel arrangements and payment of costs for family members or guests are not eligible for payment by the City. Travel arrangements and payment of costs for family members or guests are to be handled directly by the employee.

2.14 Phone Calls: Two five-minute personal phone calls a day will be reimbursed by the City. Employees must use discretion when calling home. Use the most economical method. City business related calls made by the employee will be reimbursed.

2.15 Internet Usage: When traveling on City business, employees must use the most economical method possible when accessing the Internet, such as a local Internet provider. Internet use is reimbursed by the City up to a maximum of two five-minute calls a day when a local provider is not available.

2.16 Meal Allowance: Receipts are not required if you stay within current IRS per diem regulations. Receipts are required to substantiate expenses over the current IRS per diem regulation. Notwithstanding, employees may receive a meal allowance in excess of IRS per diem regulations, but the meal allowance shall not exceed $60 per day, which includes taxes and reasonable tips. The following amounts represent the per meal breakdown of the current $60 per day allowance.

Breakfast - $12 Lunch - $18 Dinner - $30

Meals provided by the conference or included in the registration fee will not be eligible for per diem and will only be eligible for reimbursement with a receipt. A continental breakfast is not considered a meal for purposes of calculating meal allowance.

In calculating the meal allowance for partial days, the following guidelines should be used:

2.17 Departure

2.17.1 If you depart after 7:00 a.m., you may not claim meal expenses for breakfast for that day.

2.17.2 If you depart after 1:00 p.m., you may not claim meal expenses for breakfast and lunch for that day.

2.17.3 If you depart after 7:00 p.m., you may not claim meal expenses for that day.

2.18 Return

2.18.1 If you return after 8:00 a.m., you may claim the breakfast allowance.

2.18.2 If you return after 1:00 p.m., you may claim the breakfast and lunch allowances.

2.18.3 If you return after 7:00 p.m., you may claim expenses for the full day.

2.18.4 Meals and food charged to a motel/hotel room via room service shall be counted on the final reconciliation of the Post Travel Expense Reconciliation Form as part of the daily meal allowance.

2.19 Travel Advance: The only payment that will be made to employees in “advance” will be for the IRS per diem, bridge toll and mileage, when documentation in writing is attached to the form. Payments in advance must be submitted to Finance no sooner than one month prior to departure.

2.20 Discretion: This policy does not claim to have addressed all contingencies and conditions. Any necessary and reasonable expense that may from time-to-time be justified due to circumstances or opportunities for the City will be honored upon authorization by the department director and approval of the City Manager or Finance Director. Those expenses will be reimbursed to the traveler with adequate documentation and justification.


3.1 Non-Local Travel/Expense Reimbursement (requiring an overnight stay)

3.1.1 Complete the Pre-Travel Authorization Form. Backup must be attached to the form including flight itinerary, car rental and hotel information. A complete schedule of the conference, seminar, meeting, etc. must also be attached to the form. Department Director and/or City Manager approval is required. Submit the form to the Finance Department for the processing of checks for travel advance payments.

It shall be customary that conference registration, lodging and travel shall be paid by a City check or City credit card or personal credit card for reimbursement.

3.1.2 Upon return to work, within 10 calendar days, complete the Post Travel Expense Reconciliation Form. Submit to the Department Director and/or City Manager for approval and then submit to Accounts Payable, whether or not any reimbursement is due.

3.2 Local Travel Advance/Reimbursement (not requiring an overnight stay)

3.2.1 Upon return to work, within 10 calendar days, complete the Local Travel Advance/Reimbursement Form. All receipts including a complete schedule of the conference, seminar, meeting, etc. must also be attached to the form. Department Director and/or City Manager approval is required. Submit the form to Accounts Payable for the processing of checks.

It shall be customary that conference registration shall be paid by a City check or City credit card or personal credit card for reimbursement.

3.3 Brentwood Police Department Training Expense and Course Control Form: Must be completed by the Police Department prior to registration for approved training.

3.4 A maximum travel or training reimbursement of $20 may be paid from petty cash if the only cost associated with the training or travel is parking or bridge toll. Original receipts and copies of the conference schedule will be required to substantiate ALL expenses. No reimbursement will be granted without a receipt or outside the 10 calendar day submittal restriction without City Manager or Finance Director approval.

City Administration
City of Brentwood City Council
150 City Park Way
Brentwood, CA 94513
(925) 516-5440
Fax (925) 516-5441