City Council Regular Meeting
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Approve first reading of an ordinance to amend Pacific Grove Municipal Code Chapter 2.04, Council, to adopt rules and procedures to govern ex
contacts and disclosure requirements.
Constituents and members of the public reasonably expect they may engage elected officials on the wide variety of matters of community concern. At the same time, interested persons want to know factors a Council Member may consider related to making adjudicatory decisions. The attached draft ordinance would clarify the nature and extent of rules, procedures and limits that apply to communications that occur on matters are pending before, or are likely to come before, the City Council.
The ordinance defines the concept of ex parte contacts, meaning communications made by one person or “party” without notice or knowledge of other persons or parties who may have an interest in the same matter. The ordinance differentiates communications related to adjudicatory decisions, where the City Council acts in a judicial capacity, from legislative decisions where the City Council acts to make rules or policies, and from general communications that are included in the public record.
The ordinance allows Council Members to meet with the public to discuss pending adjudicative decisions but requires all Council Members make complete disclosures for each such contact or communication. An ex parte contact does not cause disqualification unless the Council Member is then unable to reach an impartial decision on the item.
If ex parte contacts or communications require disclosure, the ordinance creates a process whereby all members of Council, parties and the public is apprised of the 1) nature of the contact, 2) identity of the person(s) making the contact, 3) a brief summary of substantive information conveyed, and 4) copies of significant written materials conveyed. The disclosure becomes part of the administrative record.
The ordinance does not limit any procedural protection a party or member of the public may otherwise have under the law.
Provide alternative direction.
Do not approve the first reading of the draft ordinance.
There is no fiscal impact related to enactment of the ordinance.
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