Voices of Elk Grove - Mayor, city council told Brown Act allows engagement of speakers during comments on non-agenda items

During the Wednesday, June 28 Elk Grove City Council meeting Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen and the city council were urged to engage people speaking on non-agenda items.

The urging came from Mr. Mark Graham, who has frequently appeared by the city council in the last several years. Graham, not coincidentally, gave his remarks during the public comment section of the meeting on non-agenda items.

As has been the practice, the five-member Elk Grove Council typically does not engage with speakers. Their reasoning is based on California's Ralph E. Brown Act which governs public meetings.

Generally speaking, California legislative bodies cannot discuss at length or make policy decisions on items not published on the agenda. There are, as Graham said during his commentary, exceptions.

Graham cited California Code, Government Code - GOV § 54954.2, which says:  

"No action or discussion shall be undertaken on any item not appearing on the posted agenda, except that members of a legislative body or its staff may briefly respond to statements made or questions posed by persons exercising their public testimony rights under Section 54954.3."
See the video for Graham's entire commentary.

Graham also noted a presentation earlier in the meeting on the city's Civic Summer program for area high school students, and all city council members urged the participants to be civically engaged. 

Although the city council does not generally comment on non-agenda public comments, moments after Graham spoke, Singh-Allen found it necessary to reply to remarks from Mr. Kirk Thomson.

After Thomson made scurrilous accusations against the Elk Grove Unified School District and chastised Singh-Allen for not using her political power to protect Elk Grove children, the mayor responded. Interestingly, Singh-Allen defended herself while implying Thomson was lying. 

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