Recently, California’s Contra Costa County, Board of Supervisors, agreed to include in its meeting agendas a summary of all settlement agreements that are reached during closed sessions. Previously, the final settlements were only made public if someone made specific requests for the details.
In an article entitled “Settlements with County Now to be Public” in The Mercury News, dated February 11, 2011, by Lisa Vorderbrueggen, Contra Costa Times, this action is the result of an unpublicized settlement regarding alleged sexual assault charges made by a former County employee. The settlement was approved by the Board of Supervisors and never publicly reported. Under the new policy, the County Counsel’s Office will periodically place on the Board of Supervisor’s meeting agendas, summaries of all final settlements, thereby making the settlement information available to the public.
If you have questions about your County’s policy regarding similar actions or if you’d just like to stay informed about the issues being handled by your County Board of Supervisors or County Commissioners, most counties provide online access to its meeting agendas and meeting minutes. You can review your specific County for any existing links by using “Free Public Records Search Directory.” You can search “Meeting Minutes and Agendas” by state, county and city. Along with meeting links, you can also access codes, ordinances and other laws related to state, county and city government through “Laws and Codes Resources.” See our April 11, 2011, article, “Research Laws and Codes Online” for more information about the types of laws and codes available.
In case you’d like to follow the actions of the Contra Costa County, Board of Supervisors, here is the “Meeting Agendas” link. You can view past and future meetings including videos of most meetings.