Brown Act Scandal Smoking Gun
Affeldt Caught Contradicting Himself
Conscious Violation, Not a "Mistake"
A smoking gun video recording of an Emery School Board 'retreat' last summer has surfaced showing the school district's attorney teaching the Board members about the Brown Act open-meetings law that directly contradicts the Board President's and the Superintendent's recent claims of ignorance of the law after a colleague caught three Board members privately meeting behind closed doors before a regular Board meeting November 18th, 2015. The video of the September 13th 2014 Board retreat makes it clear the Board understands that a private meeting with three of them in attendance would be illegal, exactly what they did this last November and then denied under questioning from a fellow Board member that the meeting was illegal.
|Emery School Board President|
After the Tattler first broke the story and the greater Bay Area press helped turn it into a major public scandal, Board President John Affeldt and Schools Superintendent John Rubio have consequently admitted that, yes they had indeed violated the Brown Act with the private meeting, a "technical" violation but it was a "mistake" based on them not knowing the law. Mr Affeldt had originally claimed the fact that one of the three Board members in attendance at the private meeting didn't participate in the discussions, in effect made the meeting legal, something the 2014 video (below) shows he knew to be false when he made that statement.
After Board member Christian Patz made a complaint about the private closed door meeting he witnessed at the November 18th public Board meeting, Mr Affeldt, an attorney, attacked him and strenuously denied that a quorum of three Board members meeting in private where Board business is being discussed behind closed doors constitutes a Brown Act violation, instead he said it's "completely within the Brown Act and appropriate".
However, the 2014 video shows the entire Board listening to Mr Affeldt agreeing with and reiterating what the District's attorney stated about how it's illegal for three Board members to even be in a private room together when District business is being discussed. Immediately following that, Superintendent Rubio says that to have meetings with three Board members in private would be unfair to the public because they wouldn't have the ability to participate.
Relevant attendance at the 2014 Board retreat besides Superintendent John Rubio included Board members John Affeldt, Melodi Dice, and Christian Patz.
Smoking Gun Video Table of Contents:
10:55 - 13:57 The District's attorney tells the Board "collective concurrence", or action taken by the Board based on an illegal quorum meeting, is not needed for a Brown Act violation to have occurred, simply a private quorum meeting where Board business is being discussed is a Brown Act violation.
13:57 - 14:14 The Smoking Gun: Board President Affeldt reiterates and explains to the rest of the Board it's illegal for more than two of them to meet privately where District business is being discussed.
14:14 - 14:27 Superintendent Rubio adds his view that if more than two Board members were to meet privately to discuss District business, it would be unfair to the public because they would not have an opportunity to participate.
Video courtesy of the Emeryville Property Owners Association