OAKLAND CITY COUNCILMEMBER SHENG THAO INTRODUCES CHANGES TO RULES AND PROCEDURES TO BETTER EXPAND TRANSPARENCY OF THE OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL DURING THE COVID-19 CRISIS
Oakland – In an effort to increase transparency and accountability, Oakland City Councilmember and Rules & Legislation Committee Chair Sheng Thao has introduced changes to the Council’s Emergency Rules and Procedures. These amendments to the Rules and Procedures will allow more time for Oakland residents to see proposed legislation and provide feedback as well as allow the City Council more time to craft legislation that benefits all Oaklanders. If approved this proposal would reinstate 10 day noticing requirements, 3 day noticing for supplementals, and a return to scheduling all items through the Rules & Legislation Committee.
“We have received hundreds of emails and comments asking for greater accountability in our local government,” explained Councilmember Thao, “we saw firsthand how a lack of transparency and proper noticing impacts our legislative process last month during mid-cycle budget discussions. Neither the Council nor the public had time to review and weigh in on mid-cycle budget amendments before they were passed. We are a democracy and if we want to represent the people of Oakland we must give the people of Oakland the chance to participate in the legislative process.”
Shortly after shelter in place was called, Governor Gavin Newsom enacted an emergency executive order that allowed local governments greater flexibility around noticing requirements as set forth by the Bagley-Keene Act and the Brown Act. This order allowed the Oakland City Council to operate with minimal noticing requirements.
“While this executive order empowered the Oakland City Council to act quickly to protect our Oakland residents from the COVID-19 virus, however as the Council started getting back into a normal routine it became clearer that we needed to establish better rules and procedures,” explained Councilmember Thao.
Councilmember Thao worked closely with the City Clerk’s Office, Council President Rebecca Kaplan, and the League of Women Voters to draft these changes. This proposal will be heard at the full City Council meeting next Tuesday, July 28th at 12:00pm, if passed by a majority vote of the Council, the amended Emergency Rules and Procedures will go into effect immediately. This is the last City Council meeting before summer recess.
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