Will Shawn Nelson Get Spanked Tonight

Councilman Shawn NelsonThe Fullerton City Council has placed on its agenda for tonight’s meeting a discussion of collective bargening and Brown Act rules. The discussion is being held because Councilman Shawn Nelson apparently violated those rules relating to the negotiation of employee contract agreements.

The Register has speculated that Nelson will be censured for his conduct. Fullerton is one of those cities in Orange County that broadcasts its meetings on the web. So you can watch the meeting tonight and see what happens, as it happens.

Click Here to watch the meeting at 6:30 pm.

  9 comments for “Will Shawn Nelson Get Spanked Tonight

  1. August 19, 2008 at 9:09 am

    So when were they going to let us know about the pension increase? 72 hours before the vote?

  2. August 19, 2008 at 10:57 am


    The Brown Act states that 72 hours notice is required for all items on the agenda of a public agency meeting. But since the City of Fullerton posts their Agenda on the Thursday before the meeting, you get about 120 hours notice.

    This is not new and it doesn’t relate to only employment contracts, including pension benefits. The same law applies to everything.

  3. Jubal
    August 19, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    Chris, leaving aside the whole issue of Shawn Nelson, don’t you think that the City Council, in proposing to a significant increase in employee pensions, ought to seek a higher level of public input, not just give resident 120 hours notice?

    This is a significant financial obligation in perpetuity. Fullertonians ought to be given more time to digest it, in the interest of more informed discussion.

    What’s the rush?

  4. August 19, 2008 at 1:29 pm


    You forget the purpose and intent of the Brown Act. The purpose is to require that the public be notified in advance of consideration of a matter by a public agency for decision so that stakeholders may comment on the matter.

    We have a representative democracy, not a direct democracy. We elect Councilmembers, Supervisors, Water Board members, etc. to make decisions. 72 hours is suffucient time for public notice of an agenda item. 120 is more than sufficient. The purpose is to allow public comment, no solicit a public vote.

    We have our say when we elect people to make complex and/or simple decisions. We should expect our elected representatives to represent us. If they do not, we have the right to vote them out of office either through regular election or recall.

    It is niether practical or advisable for every decision to be made by the public as a whole. And once we start cherrypicking we go down a road called a dead end.

  5. Jubal
    August 19, 2008 at 1:39 pm


    Did I call for a public vote? No.

    There’s no slippery slope here. Cities have multiple public hearings all the time on big issues.

    This is a big issue. What objection do you have for allowing the public more time to consider the issue?

    The Brown Act requires AT LEAST 72 hours notice. It doesn’t preclude more than 72 hours — or 120 hours, for that matter — for the public to consider and have input on this or any other issue.

  6. August 19, 2008 at 2:21 pm


    No you did not call for a public vote, but I may have confused the support of others on your blog for Moorlach’s ballot measure requiring a pubic vote on pension changes with this since they involve the same thing.

    You mentioned Public Hearings. These also only require at least 72 hours notice, so I’m not sure where you are going here. If the three people other than Darryl Nolta want to know what a local agency is going to talk about, they can look it up. Adding a month for people to stew about it isn’t going to add anything to the discussion.

    You and I have both attended meetings with 72 hours notice to comment on a matter before a public agency. If people care they will show up, plain and simple.

  7. just...asking?
    August 19, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    Labor negotiations have been on the Fullerton agenda for several months. The public has the opportunity to comment and give input prior to any of these publicly noticed meetings. While the council cannot disclose details, they can and should always consider public input.

  8. jdoug6
    August 20, 2008 at 8:33 am

    Brown Act machinations notwithstanding, any retroactivity of public employee pensions (‘spiking’) is unacceptable, is virtually unheard of in the private sector. It is yet another example of a patent conflict of interest between council members who serve as fiduciaries of the taxpayer (‘management’) and their full-time staffs (‘labor’) who both advise them and who stand to benefit from any enhancement of pension benefits. This collective bargaining dynamic is skewed and must be remedied. In the meantime, the Brown Act needs to be re-visited in order to preclude elected officials, and the public employee unions that bankroll them, from using the Brown Act to shield them from accountability before the long-term financial obligation is imposed on the taxpayer, not after.

  9. August 20, 2008 at 11:00 am

    I missed it. Did Shawn get spanked?

Comments are closed.