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File #: 2022-2033   
Type: Consent Calendar Item
Body: City Council
On agenda: 6/7/2022
Title: Recommendation to Approve Findings to Allow City Meetings to be Conducted via Teleconference. (City Clerk 10022020)

Title

 

Recommendation to Approve Findings to Allow City Meetings to be Conducted via Teleconference. (City Clerk 10022020)

 

Body

 

To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

Every 30 days, the City Council must make certain findings to allow members of the City Council, Boards, and Commissions to continue to participate in City of Alameda (City) meetings via teleconference without meeting certain Brown Act requirements. 

 

BACKGROUND/DISCUSSION

 

The City has been allowing City Council, Board, and Commission members to participate in meetings via teleconference since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  On September 16, 2021, the Governor signed Assembly Bill No. 361 - Open Meetings: State and Local Agencies (AB 361), taking effect immediately, authorizing local agencies to conduct meetings via teleconference without complying with certain requirements imposed by the Brown Act.  The Bill does not address whether members of the public attend the meetings in person or via teleconference.  On October 5, 2021, the City Council adopted an urgency ordinance suspending certain provisions of the Sunshine Ordinance and made the findings required by AB 361.  On November 2 and 16, 2021, December 7, 2021, January 4, 2022, February 1, 2022, March 1 and 15, 2022, April 5, 2022, and May 3 and 17, 2022 the City Council made the required findings. 

 

This agenda report is being presented again so City Council, Board members, and Commissioners can continue to participate via teleconference, notwithstanding certain provisions of the Brown Act and the City’s Sunshine Ordinance.  The matter will return on July 5, 2022.

 

AB 361 requires the City Council to make findings (set forth below) every 30 days to continue allowing members to participate in meetings via teleconference without complying with certain requirements imposed by the Brown Act, such as the agenda listing teleconference locations that are each required to be accessible to the public for in-person attendance.

 

Due to the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic, staff recommends that the City Council consider the circumstances of the state of emergency and find that the state of emergency continues to directly impact the ability of the members, the public, and staff to meet safely in person and because State and local officials, including the City, continue to recommend measures to promote social distancing.

 

Accordingly, pursuant to Government Code Section 54953(e)(3), staff recommends that the City Council make the following findings by motion:

 

1.                     The state of emergency, as declared by the Governor of the State of California, continues to directly impact the ability of the members to meet safely in person; and

 

2.                     State and local officials, including the City Council of the City of Alameda, continue to recommend measures to promote social distancing.

 

If the City Council approves the requisite findings, meetings members may continue to participate via teleconference without meeting certain Brown Act requirements.

 

If the findings are not approved, the City Council needs to decide whether or not Board and Commission members would be required to be vaccinated when in-person meetings resume.  In addition, the City Council may want to determine whether to direct staff to put together a vaccination verification program for public attendees.

 

ALTERNATIVES

 

                     Approve the findings to allow teleconferencing to continue in the same fashion.

                     If the City Council elects not to approve the findings, meetings via teleconference would have to comply with Government Code Section 54953(b)(3), which states: “If the legislative body of a local agency elects to use teleconferencing, it shall post agendas at all teleconference locations and conduct teleconference meetings in a manner that protects the statutory and constitutional rights of the parties or the public appearing before the legislative body of a local agency.  Each teleconference location shall be identified in the notice and agenda of the meeting or proceeding, and each teleconference location shall be accessible to the public.  During the teleconference, at least a quorum of the members of the legislative body shall participate from locations within the boundaries of the territory over which the local agency exercises jurisdiction, except as provided in subdivisions (d) and (e).  The agenda shall provide an opportunity for members of the public to address the legislative body directly pursuant to Section 54954.3 at each teleconference location.”  The City Council would also need to decide about member vaccine requirements.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

There is no direct financial impact from the City Council continuing to approve the findings to allow members to participate via teleconference. 

 

MUNICIPAL CODE/POLICY DOCUMENT CROSS-REFERENCE

 

Alameda Municipal Code Section 2-91.3, Meetings to be Open and Public; Application of Brown Act.

 

CLIMATE IMPACTS

 

There are no identifiable climate impacts or climate action opportunities associated with the subject of this report.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW

This activity is not a project and is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pursuant to CEQA Guidelines, Section 15378(b)(2), because it involves general policy and procedure making, which does not involve any commitment to any specific project which may result in a potentially significant physical impact on the environment.

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

Approve findings to allow City meetings to be conducted via teleconference.

 

By:

Lara Weisiger, City Clerk

 

Financial Impact section reviewed,

Margaret O’Brien, Finance Director

 

cc:                       Dirk Brazil, Interim City Manager