(DISCUSSION) Committee Reports
a. Program Committee meeting of Feb. 25, 2003
Comm. Hale said he understood there was a problem with this meeting taking place. A joint meeting of the Program and Finance comm. was arranged for LCR. That was canceled because it would have violated the Sunshine Ordinance. Whenever there is a quorum of the Commission, it has to be noted as a Commission meeting. This meeting would have potentially violated the Ordinance. The question of a committee meeting which dealt specifically with a topic such as Log Cabin Ranch could be held at Log Cabin Ranch. Rosa Sanchez said there were exceptions to the city limit rules for meetings. Just to have a regular committee there would not be possible. This would restrict the public’s ability to attend. Comm. Hale said the other issue was that LCR poses a security risk for the public.
Comm. Bonilla asked if 2-3 Commissioners wanted to go to LCR, tour and talk to residents, would they have to post that as a meeting. R. Sanchez said that if they were on the same committee, they would be a quorum and could not go there together. If they were not on the same committees, then it would be alright. The ad hoc committee is included in this. If less than a quorum of that committee went down, at different times, that would be okay. Then the meeting could be held here within the city and county.
Comm. Hale said that we risk a claim before the Sunshine Task Force, if we don’t follow the letter of the law.
Comm. Hale said that he laid this out as background, because there was another meeting scheduled at Milton Meyer Gym in the Bayview.
Comm. Richard said the meeting was canceled because the Dept had told the providers that the meeting was canceled.
Comm. Ricci asked who has the authority to cancel a meeting if it was posted.
Comm. Hale said that unless there were some extraordinary emergency a meeting wouldn’t be canceled. And this meeting wasn’t canceled. The only meeting that was canceled was the joint meeting. That was the crux of the confusion because the Dept received that notice and assumed that the meeting was canceled.
Comm. Ricci asked if it was posted, how could there be confusion?
The Chief commented that the Dept originally received a notice that there was going to be Program Committee meeting. Then they received a notice that there was going to be a Program and Finance Committee meeting on the same day, at Log Cabin Ranch. Their assumption at that time was that regular Program Committee meeting had now become the Program and Finance Committee, and that the site and location had been changed from Milton Meyers to Log Cabin Ranch. Then they subsequently received an email that said please disregard that announcement, the meeting has been canceled. His assumption was that the original Program Committee that was originally scheduled which transformed into a Program/Finance committee was subsequently canceled, therefore there was no meeting. He got calls in his office from his staff who were also confused about whether or not there was a Program Committee meeting scheduled that evening and he said was looking at a notice that said it was canceled. There’s no meeting. Then they got a call later saying there were people at the location, that in fact Comm. Richard had shown up. That there were people there expecting a meeting was supposed to happen. So the confusion was around whether or not the Program Committee and the Program/Finance Committee were the same meeting, and that subsequent to the cancellation of the Program/Finance Committee meeting, that in fact, there was no meeting. That was their understanding, that was his interpretation and in the absence of any other clarification that’s why he wasn’t there and why he articulated to his staff that the meeting had been canceled. Clearly there is no authority to cancel any Commission meeting outside of the Commission. That is not the point of confusion. The confusion was what meeting was scheduled, when by whom, what the intent was and whether there was or was not a meeting. “We’ve consistently attended every meeting the Commission has scheduled. That’s our job, that’s what we do and there was no intent on the part of the Dept to supercede or otherwise conflict with the direction and rightful authority of the Commission and its committees. There was a great deal of confusion. We can avoid that kind of confusion. This is not the first time that confusion has arisen around scheduling.”
Comm. Ricci said that in the future to avoid any kind of confusion there should be a protocol followed as to who would be the person to clarify whether meetings were canceled.
Comm. Hale said his understanding was the confusion came when Commissioners wanted to go down to Log Cabin Ranch and talk to the residents there, and posted a meeting for this. That meeting was canceled and notice speaking to that joint meeting was sent. That was the only meeting that was canceled. This was just a “situation.”
Comm. Richard asked who authorized the meeting to be canceled.
The Chief said that his understanding was that the Commission Secretary canceled it. Or that it was canceled through him on the Commission’s authority. He communicated when requested whether or not there was a meeting, he read from the memo that was emailed by the Commission Secretary. That was the source of the information. That was the authority for the cancellation. The communication he had in his hand, emailed from the Commission Secretary.
Comm. Richard said that the canceled meeting was the one at Log Cabin Ranch. He had communicated this to the Secretary once the City Attorney advised against it. But he never canceled the one scheduled in Bayview Hunters Point. That one was still scheduled.
The Chief said he would have been there this time if it had been clear that the meeting was in fact continuing. It was a lack of clarity, it was confusion, with no attempt on the part of the Dept to supercede the Commission’s authority. The basis for the communication was the Chief’s understanding of what the communication said. The communication clearly says “this meeting has been canceled.” It was in reference to the wrong meeting. He takes responsibility for that interpretation but he also thinks that even though this is something that isn’t necessarily broken (in reference to Comm. Hale’s comments) that there is some room for improvement. He welcomes the opportunity to have a dialog with the Commission on how to improve the general communications between the Dept and the Commission about scheduling of meetings and other issues as well. This is symptomatic of a larger issue.
Comm. Richard commented that he was still trying to figure out where the confusion came, when there were two separate meetings noticed.
The Chief said that both meetings were on the 25th, and that’s where the confusion came.
Comm. Richard said that there were two meetings posted. One at Milton Meyers and one at Log Cabin, and only the latter was canceled.
The Chief replied that this is a topic that deserves further discussion and clarification because as an example there’s sometimes meetings noticed, meetings posted, and that information doesn’t come to his office directly, They have to go out and hunt for it. That should never happen but it does. This issue and the fall out from the experience is symptomatic of other issues that need resolving.
Comm. Ricci suggested moving this item to a personnel committee meeting.
(public comments) There was none.