Filed Complaints Allege Brown Act Violated in EGCC's Trigg Appointment

Two separate complaints were filed this week with the City of Elk Grove alleging that the recent appointment of Robert Trigg to the Elk...

Two separate complaints were filed this week with the City of Elk Grove alleging that the recent appointment of Robert Trigg to the Elk Grove City Council was done in violation of California's open government law, the Brown Act. Trigg's appointment was approved at the city council's Jan. 23 meeting following a protracted council battle to fill the vacancy when Gary Davis vacated the city's District Four seat after being elected mayor.

Each of the two complaints claim that once Trigg's name was placed into nomination, the public was not given an opportunity to comment on the nomination. One of the complaints also allege that three unnamed council members engaged in pre-meeting communications with regards to the possible appointment of Trigg.

The complaint filed by Elk Grove resident Connie Conley says that once Trigg's name was put into nomination the matter should have been continued to a future meeting so the public could comment or the public comment should have been reopened at the Jan. 23 meeting. Conley also says three unnamed council members engaged in pre-meeting communications regarding Trigg.

In the second complaint filed by Elk Grove resident Linda Ford, her document states the "Elk Grove City Council has displayed a complete lack of transparency and apparent ongoing disregard for the Ralph M. Brown Act." Ford said that "by denying public comment on the nomination of Mr. Trigg, a violation of the Brown Act occurred, which guarantees the public's right to attend and participate in meetings related to local government.

Ford also alleges that "the Elk Grove City Council violated the Brown Act when it engaged in communication regarding Mr. Trigg's nomination prior to the council meeting on January 23, 2013."

Responding to an Email inquiry, Elk Grove City Attorney Jonathon Hobbs wrote "the City is not legally required to respond to the complaints." Hobbs declined to answer on what the procedure is for answering complaints saying he cannot offer legal advise.

However he did direct the inquiry to California Government Code section 54950 et seq., and specifically Government Code section 54960.1.

The lede of section 54960.1 reads "The district attorney or any interested person may commence an action by mandamus or injunction for the purpose of obtaining a judicial determination that an action taken by a legislative body of a local agency in violation of Section 54953, 54954.2, 54954.5, 54954.6, 54956, or 54956.5 is null and void under this section.

The entire Brown Act is available here.

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Anonymous said...

Hobbs is a contract attorney paid by the hour, so he wins, even if EG loses. Remember Downtown Ford?

Anonymous said...

Connie Conley and Linda Ford have been trouble makers for years. They're not doing this in the interest of Elk Grove, they're doing this just to cause more problems. Connie has ALWAYS had it out for Pat Hume. Too bad they can't just fade away.

Anonymous said...

To the poster above. That is the best you can come up with. Can't change history. It was Connie Conley who talked Pat Hume into moving and running for city council.

This is the about following the lawful process, nothing more!

Moving on . . .

Anonymous said...

Once again bad legal advice from Jonathan Hobbs.

According to the Brown Act, Section 54960.1 Violation of The Act: The Elk Grove City Council must “Within 30 days of receipt of the demand, the legislative body shall cure or correct the challenged action and inform the demanding party in writing of its actions to cure or correct or inform the demanding party in writing of its decision not to cure or correct the challenged action.”

But hey, as with the Downtown Ford lawsuit, Hobbs gives bad legal advice; and then his law firm turns around and bills the city of Elk Grove $30K to bail us out of that legal mess that started with Hobbs' own advice.

Nice gig Hobbs has going for him!

Anonymous said...

it is beyound me that these two ladies were all in favor of Gary, Steve, and Pat, now all they want is to get rid of them. Why?? maybe they won' listen to them any more.(Remenber the Binder they all recived from them when they were elected) They like having their puppets runing our city.

Connie Conley said...

I just love it when people bring up that binder. You can ask Gary Davis and Pat Hume what was in that binder; but I will tell you since I put it together.

It contained:
• The Proposal for the Big Box Ordinance
• The Proposal for the Youth Commission
• The Proposal for the School Safety Ordinance
• The Proposal for the Tobacco Ordinance
• The Proposal for the Arts Program

WOW, pretty dangerous stuff since four of the five proposals we brought forward have been passed by the entire Elk Grove City Council since Pat and Gary were elected, and implemented quite effectively; ergo The City of Elk Grove Youth Commission.

Anonymous said...

Sacramento Bee
City to create youth panel
September 5, 2008
Loretta Kalb

“Mayor Gary Davis and Councilman Pat Hume praised Miller and community members who have worked with the city in pursuit of the commission.

"When I was first elected, the Elk Grove Community Connection handed me a binder with a whole bunch of ideas," Davis said. "I believe this was one of them, and I want to applaud the leaders of that organization."

Hume cited Community Connection's Constance Conley and resident Davies Ononiwu, a candidate for the Florin Resource Conservation District, as deserving of recognition.

"There are programs and activities for our kids to get involved with," Hume said. "And to the extent they don't, and we don't encourage them, our problems are going to worsen."

Anonymous said...

Connie, why don't you admit your real reason for your you attack on the city counsel (Really Pat Hume)? Did he break your heart?

Anonymous said...

Thank you Ms. Conley and Ms. Ford for your efforts regarding the need for public comment on Triggs appointment. I remember the "Elk Grove for Cityhood" signs plastered all over his front lawn and yet in all the years that I have attended city council meetings I never saw him attend one meeting.

He was on the board of directors of Saint Hope Academy
during the federal investigation for the misuse of funds. He resigned under a cloud of controversy. The public certainly should have had an opportunity to comment on his appointment.

Hayseed Plowboy said...

While some of the comments here are directed at Ms. Conley and Ms. Ford, regardless of what people's opinions are of town criers, they are merely conveying a message.

A review of that Jan. 23. meeting video does in fact reveal that Mayor Davis never reopened public comment once Mr. Trigg's name was placed into nomination. This does appear to violate parts of the Brown Act.

Was this done with malice intent or not is perhaps the question we might kindly want to ask.

Anonymous said...

When I read the headline of the article, I was concerned that our Elk Grove City Council may have done something wrong.

Now I see that this is a "JOKE" with the people that filed this. They have filed hundreds of complaints with Elk Grove, the County and State agencies. None of these have ever been more than a slap on the hand.

These people have no accountability! There is no filing fee for these bogus alligations and when there is no violation found, there is no consequence to these people for all these bogus complaints filed.

The City of Elk Grove, Sacramento County and the State of California have spent 10's of thousands of dollars on research and investigations because of these people for their bogus allegations.

These people never have been anything and never will be!

It is time for the citizens of Elk Grove to stand-up to these citizen bullies and put a stop to this non-sense that has cost us 10's of thousands of dollars of our hard earned tax paying money that could be used for the good of our community and beyond.

Anonymous said...

Actually poster above, the record will show that Tom Waltman's complaint against Steve Detrick regarding the Catholic Church cost the City of Elk Grove $5000. Also, Mr. Hume's screw up regarding Downtown Ford cost the City of Elk Grove $30K. Hmmmm

Hayseed Plowboy said...

If our society were to start trying to shut people up based on the co$t, where do we stop - eliminate criminal jury trials because it is to expensive or say those pesky elections are to costly so let's make a back room deal and just appoint all our officials?

Whoops, we actually have started down that road of appointing our officials recently here in Elk Grove!

Anonymous said...

To the poster two above: Let's not forget that former Mayor Sophia Scherman is the one who authorized that $5,000 investigation on then Vice Mayor Steve Detrick with the attorney finding Detrick to be "dishonest."

And so there is plenty of precedent as to why citizens need to be ever vigilant regarding our elected officials as they profess to do everything with "honesty, integrity, accountability and morality, following the Rotary Four-Way Test." Blah, blah, blah!

Anonymous said...

I would like to see these folks put up a $2500 deposit that they get back if what they file is correct and lose if there are no findings. I bet none of them would file a single complaint if they knew they would be held accountable!

Anonymous said...

Above poster - That makes sense.

As the saying goes -

"Put your money where your mouth is"

Hayseed Plowboy said...

To the poster who would like to see citizen's post the fees for a lawsuit - I suppose you would be in support of SLAPP lawsuits too.

What is a SLAPP, you ask - it is strategic lawsuit against public participation. A favorite tool of large corporations to strike fear in the heart and wallets of the small, disaffected parties.

Let's remember that even though our Constitution was written by landed white men, they had the wisdom and foresight to write it to protect the minority view. If you are to suggest that only the majority deserved to be heard, sir or madam, I might suggest you re-think what you have written.

Anonymous said...

I am bit taken aback the poster who says that citizens should be charged for questioning their government. We have service men and women who are dying today so that we can speak openly and freely. Government is always better when citizens hold it accountable.

Government belongs to the governed, not to the governing. We may not always agree with outspoken citizens or defend what they say, but we must all defend with all our might, their right to say it – even in open public meetings

When citizens question the antics of the Elk Grove City Council, they are doing what they should do as responsible citizens. Those who are elected to office are not merely elected to represent the people who agree with them.

When citizens speak, they should have every expectation of being truly listened to and being respected. If officials are dismissive, ridicule, or even laugh at them, that is not only disrespectful, it is poor public service. Public service is about serving the public.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous poster that wants to charge citizens $2500 to file complaints.......I sure hope you're not an elected official. If so, you're not fit to be one as you just described an oppresive form of government. Iran, Syria, China anyone?

Anonymous said...

To the poster about the Binder. It appears that Connie and Linda are trying to run the city. Yes they got 2 or 3 out of 4 and because of that the are still attacking the councile. Who is runing the show Them?? why are they always the ones who mostly run to the state and waist all of our money.

Anonymous said...

You cannot charge people to file a complaint who feel their government has committed a wrong. On the other hand, you, the public, get to determine the worthiness of the people who bring forth such complaints. Part of our governement is the ability of the "checks and balancing" process to ensure good government. When the government goes astray, they must be held accountable. However, not every action the council takes that you don't agree with is "actionable". Did the council follow the exact letter of the law? Perhaps. Maybe not. If you watch the tape, it is very apparent (to many) that their actions were done without malice...but with an eye to avoid a costly election. Was this lack of malice right or wrong? My feeling is that people who continuously file grivences have an alternative agenda. This seems to be the case once again. Unfortunatley, this is their right to file grivences...and so they will, time and time and time again. It is our job as residents to give proper and appropriate weight to these grivences. And perhaps, no weight at all.

Anonymous said...

To the poster who wants to charge residents for demanding accountability from our local city council: Would you rather us wait until the City of Elk Grove becomes another City of Bell?

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