School District In Violation of Brown Act
"Lack of Transparency" Cited by Grand Jury
The Alameda County Grand Jury released its 2014-2015 report today implicating the Citizens' Oversight Committee (COC) of the Emeryville Measure K school parcel tax initiative of violations of California's Brown Act, the so called 'sunshine law'. The COC is tasked by Sacramento with overseeing taxpayer money spent by the Emery Unified School District in regard to the voter approved Measure K school parcel tax last November. The Grand Jury found the Committee "has not followed" the Brown Act but cleared the District of a more serious charge filed that the District had engaged in improper expenditure of funds related to Measure K.
The Grand Jury report concluded "notices and minutes of the oversight committee meetings were not provided to the public". Further, the report chastised Emery, "...without notice, the public does not have the opportunity to attend" and therefore limits the public to have input on how the public funds are spent. The Grand Jury "believes this creates a lack of transparency". In effect, the School District has been conducting what amounts to closed door meetings as public funds are dispersed by the Committee.
The Brown Act was set up to ensure transparency for these kinds of meetings and provides criminal misdemeanor penalties where committee member(s) "deprive the public of information to which the member knows or has reason to know the public is entitled".
The Grand Jury provided no remedy for transparency transgressions at Emery beyond that which the Brown Act provides.
The whole report can be viewed HERE (Emery Unified School District on page 105)