On Monday I wrote about the scheduled Santa Ana City Council Committee meeting regarding the review of the City Code of Ethics and Conduct (Three Months After Crisis Santa Ana Code of Ethics Gets Review). Since my post, the meeting date, time, and agenda have changed, twice. It is now scheduled for December 6th at 5:30 pm.
The agenda for the meeting originally scheduled for today at 6 pm, was posted on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. On Tuesday morning the City Clerk sent out a revised agenda, with a new meeting date of Monday, December 5th at 3:30 pm. By 3:15 pm Tuesday afternoon the date and time had been changed again. In an email announcing the change City Clerk Maria Huizar wrote: “In an effort to provide a more convenient time for members of the public to attend, the Committee has rescheduled the Code of Conduct and Ethics Meeting to Tuesday, December 6th at 5:30 p.m.”
Before I got the email from Huizar with the final date and time, I asked Public Information Officer Jose Gonzalez what was up with the change. I had heard a bit of an uproar over the time the meeting was scheduled for and asked if there was a way for people to comment on the matter if they couldn’t make the 3:30 time. He responded after I got the Huizar’s second change notification but here is what he said:
The meeting was changed due to a scheduling conflict with one of the City Council members. The reason the new date and time was selected was because it falls on a day when the Councilmembers are already scheduled to be here at the city for a City Council meeting. However, due to several concerns about the new time, it has been rescheduled for Tuesday, December 6, 2011, at 5:30 pm, here on the 8th floor of City Hall. If individuals wish to submit comments for the committee to consider please have them e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gonzalez didn’t address why the Agenda changed but I think that the change in its content may indicate a more realistic reason for the meeting being rescheduled.
The discussion item for the committee agenda originally read; 2. Review of Code of Conduct and Ethics
In my post on Monday I pointed out that the Brown Act requires that the Agenda disclose what they intend to do. Since no action other than review was on the agenda, it appeared like they only intended to look at the Code of Ethics and Conduct (COEC), and then say “Okay our job’s done here,” and adjourn the meeting. In order to even consider a revision to the COEC, they would have to add the following to Agenda Item #2: … and consider any changes for recommendation to the City Council.
On the revised agenda posted on Tuesday morning the discussion item #2 read a bit differently; “Review of Code of Conduct and Ethics and recommend amendments, if any, to the City Council.”
Maybe it’s just a coincidence that this is virtually the same language I noted in my commentary Monday morning. But such a change is required to be posted 72 hours prior to a meeting. Since the meeting was scheduled to occur in less than that time, the meeting date would need to be changed.
So at this point I will credit Council members Sarmiento and Tinajero for having the sense to correct the original error, and for being responsive to the concerns raised by residents over the 3:30 proposed meeting time. Whether the date was changed due to a sudden scheduling conflict, or the need to revise the agenda, at least the public will have a chance to address their concerns to the committee and urge changes to the Code of Ethics and Conduct if they so choose at a time that is less difficult for the general public to make it to..
Just so we’re all on the same page, as of now, the meeting to review the Santa Ana Code of Ethics and Conduct is scheduled for:
Tuesday, December 6, 2011 at 5:30 P.M.
Santa Ana City Hall
20 Civic Center Plaza, 8th Floor, Room 831