CSDA Update on COVID 19 Governor’s Executive Order Suspending Certain Brown Act Rules

By Neil McCormick posted 03-12-2020 01:32 PM


Special District Leaders:

Today, Governor Newsom issued an executive order further enhancing State and Local Government’s Ability to respond to COVID-19. Among other items, the order “Allows local or state legislative bodies to hold meetings via teleconference and to make meetings accessible electronically.” The full executive order can be found here. Item #11 in the executive order also addresses suspension of certain Brown Act rules.

Last night, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued an updated policy for public gatherings in response to COVID-19. CSDA is following this policy and encourages all special districts to thoroughly review the policy and consider its application to your district’s operations and activities.

In times where the health and safety of our communities are at stake, it is important for public officials at all levels to inform ourselves of the best available facts and provide clear and accurate communication. We want to ensure that we are taking the appropriate steps and that our actions and communications do not lead to worse outcomes than necessary. This means following the guidance of health experts to demonstrate calm and thoughtful leadership.

Please read in full this new policy issued by CDPH, which answers questions such as:

- What will this achieve?

- How long will these limitations apply?

- What is social distancing and how is it achieved?

- What can be done to make a gathering safer if it is essential or small?

The CDPH policy also includes examples of essential events it does not apply to:

“The goal of this recommendation is to prevent people physically coming together unnecessarily, where people who have the infection can easily spread it to others. This guidance does not apply to activities such as attendance at regular school classes, work, or essential services.”

The policy goes on to state, “Certain activities are essential to the function of our state and must continue. Hence, this does not apply to essential public transportation, airport travel, or shopping at a store or mall.”

What CSDA is doing:

CSDA has established a COVID-19 Resources page, which includes links to pertinent state and federal resources where members can receive the most current information. Earlier this week, CSDA drafted a document outlining the parameters of the Brown Act with regard to special district board meetings. Governor Newsom’s executive order today offers additional flexibility and CSDA will be revising this document to reflect that new development. CSDA is also in regular communication with state officials and actively discussing the steps that may need to be taken under potential future scenarios.

Status of CSDA Sponsored Events:

- The upcoming SDRMA Spring Education Day scheduled for March 24, 2020 is cancelled as are in-person CSDA workshops through April 3, 2020.
- The Special District Leadership Academy Conference scheduled in April has been moved to November 15-18, 2020.

- The Prop. 218 workshop schedule on April 15, 2020 has been cancelled.
- VIRTUAL WORKSHOP on April 7, 2020: Supervisory Skills in the Public Sector

Currently, all other scheduled CSDA events and conferences are moving forward as planned, however, we will keep members advised of any further changes.

As conditions continue to evolve related to COVID-19, CSDA will continue to serve as a resource and a venue for members to communicate and coordinate with one another and with our state counterparts. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions, concerns, or requests you may have in this regard.

When your communities face challenges, be it drought, fire, flood, economic, or health, it is our first responders and local leaders, like you, that we all depend on. Thank you for being a public servant to your community.