By Mary O’KEEFE
The Montrose Shopping Park Association will indeed be following the Brown Act.
There had been some confusion among the MSPA board as to whether it was a legislative body and therefore subject to the Brown Act provisions. After a visit from the Glendale City Attorney’s office during the February MSPA meeting it was clear that the Brown Act must be followed.
“If [the organization] is a legislative body created by or a private company where the legislative body is a member of the board those [organizations] are subject to the Brown Act,” said Jillian van Muyden, Glendale chief assistant city attorney. “They were established by the city of Glendale under the streets and highway code.”
The Brown Act was passed by California legislation in 1953. Its purpose was to safeguard the public’s right to access to information and participation in government meetings. An agenda of the meetings must be made available to the public before the meeting. The board meetings and standing committee meetings must be open to the public.
Originally the city was to appoint a nine-member advisory board however since the board was established in 1965, the bylaws have changed to allow members of the MSPA to nominate and vote for board members.
“There is no question that the MSPA board is a legislative body as defined by the Brown Act,” van Muyden said.
What this all means to the association is that they must have open meetings for both regular board meetings and the standing committee meetings.
MSPA president Ken Grayson said the board is going to comply with the Brown Act. He along with other members of the board are reviewing the provisions and looking at their committees that have been in place for years to see how this decision will affect them.
Grayson said they had had some indication that they were going to be under the Brown Act and had been attempting to follow the regulations.
“We have been reacting as if we were under the Brown Act,” he said.
At present the Association conducts their meetings on the first Thursday of each month. They are held in the basement of Citibank in the 2300 block of Honolulu Avenue. They are presently looking to move the meetings to the Professional Developement Center in the same block.
van Muyden recommended that the Association have a Parliamentarian on the board, or advising the board. A Parliamentarian is a person who is an expert knowledge on formal rules and procedures with formal meetings. She said that some organizations have a lawyer that specializes in parliamentary procedure and the Brown Act.
Grayson said he is concerned about the cost of a lawyer but has not ruled anything out.