Home Brentwood Brentwood Vice Mayor Accused of Sharing Closed Session Information

Brentwood Vice Mayor Accused of Sharing Closed Session Information

by ECT

On Tuesday, the Brentwood City Council will discuss taking action against Vice Mayor Johnny Rodriquez after Councilmember Karen Rarey has accused him of a city policy violation.

Rarey has alleged that Rodriguez shared “confidential closed session information or documentation with a third party.” She made the request for this item during the Nov. 8 council meeting.

“I would like a future agenda item to discuss censure or reprimand of councilmember Rodriquez for sharing confidential closed session information or documentation with a third party,” stated Rarey.

Staff acknowledged the request and City Attorney Damian Brower stated he would look into it as it relates to the policy.

This was allowed after the council agreed to change its Ethics and Conduct Policy in an effort to prevent a Brown Act Violation and allow an item two councilmembers discussed previously to be placed on an agenda by allowing them to bypass the mayor, in this case Joel Bryant, and go directly to the City Manager at least a week before a council meeting.

According to the staff report:

Council Member Rarey provided further detail about the allegation to the City Manager. Specifically, she alleges that in the summer of 2021, the handwriting on the evaluation forms that the Vice Mayor completed for the City Manager and City Attorney was that of a female, and not the Vice Mayor’s. As the completed forms were later used as part of the City Manager’s and City Attorney’s closed session evaluation process, Council Member Rarey alleges that the Vice Mayor shared what would later become confidential closed session information or documentation with a third party (i.e. the person who completed the forms) before it was presented in a closed session.

The allegation pertains to the sharing of “confidential closed session information or documentation with a third party”, and prohibitions and remedies for such actions are included in State Government Code section 54963. Given this, the Council may wish to consider the Policy’s applicability, as it specifically does not apply to “violations of State or Federal laws”.

Conversely, the Policy’s Integrity Core Value section references Council Members refraining from disclosing confidential information. Given this, if the allegations are sustained, the Council may wish to consider whether a Council Member not meeting an expression of a Core Value has violated a City policy; or whether the Policy’s express inapplicability to violations of State and Federal laws take precedence in this instance.

The council will discuss whether or not to first taken action or opt for an admonition or sanction. Staff said a third option, a censure, would require a hearing by December 13, but there is not enough time to complete the censure process before Rodriquez council term comes to an end.

Tuesday will be the fifth meeting in which actions by Vice Mayor Rodriquez has come up to the council.

  • Sept. 13 – councilmember Jovita Mendoza called for censure of Rodriquez while attempting to make changes to the Ethics and Conduct Policy.
  • Sept. 27 – Council agreed in a 5-0 vote to move forward with a future agenda item to discuss Council Ethics and Conduct Policy.
  • Oct. 11 – tweaked policy to allow members who have discussed an item to bypass the Mayor and go to the city manager to place an item on the agenda—the goal was to prevent a Brown Act Violation. The council also agreed to a future community forum to discuss councils ethics and conduct policy.
  • Nov. 8 – future agenda item request made by Rarey stating the allegations against Rodriquez.
  • Nov. 15 – item to be heard.

Potential Council Actions

The Policy provides three possible actions that a Council may impose in response to a violation of a City Policy – admonition, sanction, or censure. Admonitions and sanctions are not considered punishments and there are no penalties associated with them, while a censure is considered a punishment, and may include penalties. The following provides a brief description of the three actions

  • Admonition: The least severe of the three actions, an admonition is typically a statement by theCouncil reminding its members that a particular type of behavior could be found toviolate a City policy, and further actions could result. Admonitions can be viewed as awarning or reminder to all members of the Council, and not just one member
  • Sanction: The next most severe form of action, sanctions are directed at a specific member of the Council, for a specific act (or set of actions) that is determined to be a violation of a policy, but not sufficiently serious to require censure. A sanction, unlike a censure, is not a punishment, but does permit the member accused of a violation an opportunity to provide a written or verbal response. It does not require a separate hearing.
  • Censure: This is the most severe form of action the Council may take, and is an official statement of reprimand by the Council against one of its members. A censure is punitive, may impose penalties, and should only be used in situations where the Council determines the policy violation to be a serious offense. A censure shall not be imposed on members for the exercise of their First Amendment rights, no matter how distasteful a particular expression may be to the Council and City.

Brentwood City Council Meeting
Nov. 15, 2022
7:00 pm
For full staff report and a look at the City of Brentwood Ethics and Conduct Policy, click here.

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4 comments

Jim Simmons Nov 15, 2022 - 6:54 am

No one should be sharing closed session information. Go get em ladies!

Dear Antioch: PLEASE PAY ATTENTION. You are telling me you will not take action against Mayor Thorpe for everything he has done????

Reply
Kevin Mitchell Nov 15, 2022 - 6:56 am

This will be the 5th meeting? Does this classify as a witch hunt? Maybe one of Brentwood’s councilmembers will come out and call this a “witch hunt” like Monica Wilson did when people were coming after Thorpe in Antioch.

Reply
Brentwood Bob Nov 15, 2022 - 8:59 am

So he has someone fill a form out before it was used in a confidential meeting. Keyword BEFORE.

Looks like karen doesn’t like brown people.

Absolutely nothing to see here

Reply
Brentwood Bob Nov 15, 2022 - 9:01 am

So he has someone fill a form out before it was used in a confidential meeting. Keyword BEFORE.
Looks like karen doesn’t like brown people.
Absolutely nothing to see here

Reply

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