Members of the Ripon City Council are assigned each year to various commissions, committees, task forces and boards.
This organizational process occurs in January. Council members, per assignment, are provided with the opportunity to serve with elected officials from other organizations “to discuss important local and regional matters,” according to City Administrator Kevin Werner in his Jan. 11 report.
He and his staff received kudos from elected leaders, who approved back then the resolution that establishes the roles and responsibilities for Ripon City Council committees.
“It helps to formalize it and have a process in place,” said Vice Mayor Mike Restuccia.
His colleague, Leo Zuber, mentioned the need at the December meeting to have in place the resolution on committee roles and responsibilities for elected leaders and staff.
“What if one or two (council members) assigned to a committee and a third (council member) shows up at that same meeting,” he asked on avoiding any Brown Act violation.
The Brown Act is the open meetings law for local governments and applies to all legislative bodies – all subcommittees and commissions created via formal action of the legislative body, in this case, must consist, outside of ad hoc advisory committees, less than a quorum.
Three is the number for a quorum on the five-member Ripon City Council.
According to the resolution, regularly scheduled committee meetings should be planned in a timely matter to allow attendance by the appointed council member as well as the city administrator and staff, in necessary.
“In order to prevent inadvertent violations of the Brown Act, attendance by non-member Council members that will result in a quorum of the full City Council is discouraged, but not prohibited,” the new resolution said.
A non-member City Council member to the committee in attendance at that same meeting, resolution added: “should not participate actively in the committee meeting; rather, his / her role should be limited to gathering facts and information on matters considered by the committee.”