Despite that it is suspending mandated portions of the Brown Act, requiring Cities and other agencies to publish materials such as meeting agendas, minutes and reports from closed sessions, the City of Foster City is saying - we don't care.
Members of the City Council say, in essence, transparency is important to them, and they will continue to publish everything they have always published, despite the suspension.
"We at Foster City are very serious about transparency - so serious, that we have codified the requirement to post despite the State's mandate," said Councilmember Steve Okamoto. "The only thing that is changed, is that we will no longer be reimbursed for our costs."
The decision by the state essentially boiled down to one thing - money. Because the state made the publishing of such materials mandatory, the state had previously been reimbursing cities and agencies for the costs incurred.
Councilmember Pam Frisella estimates the City was receiving a considerable amount per month in reimbursements from the state.
"I think the City will seemingly now NOT receive the approximate $4,000 we received in the past for delivering this service," she said in an e-mail to Patch Tuesday morning.
She added, "We still think it is important for us to continue and I, for one, continue to be amazed at how the State is continuing to dig into local government monies that we have been so diligent to save to balance OUR budget - and how we have little choice but to comply with their demands."
San Mateo City Clerk Patrice Olive told Patch she found the suspension rather interesting because, in her experience, the state has been rather famously behind in its reimbursements.
Olive, who clerked for the City of Walnut Creek before coming on board in San Mateo seven months ago, said the state was "years behind" in its payments to Walnut Creek.
Regardless of whether the City of Foster City gets reimbursed, members of the City Council say they are committed to the City's transparency.
"I believe in government tranparency and would continue to support it, regardless of the state's action," said Councilmember Charlie Bronitsky in a comment on . "It is interesting to note, however, that the Brown Act does not apply to the state and state officials, it only applies to local officials. Perhaps transparency in state government would be a welcome addition!"
Councilmember Herb Perez also agreed.
"I have been consistent in my position and support of the Brown Act and its importance," he said in a comment on the same article. "I believe the public must be afforded the protections of the Act, and we as a City must continue to act accordingly. We must maintain the our high standards regardless of the lack of an unfunded State mandate."
For the latest local news like this wherever you go: