Guadalupe councilman hit with Brown Act violation

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Guadalupe councilman hit with Brown Act violation By Elizabeth Rodriguez / Times Staff Writer May 8, 2003 The release of documents related to the dismissal of a former city attorney has landed a Guadalupe councilman in legal hot water. The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s office has filed a preliminary injunction against Councilman Herb Sanchez, saying he violated the Brown Act when he gave reporters the documents, which were handed out during a closed session meeting in January. The Brown Act regulates local agency meetings and prohibits board members from disclosing closed session information to a person who is not entitled to receive it without prior authorization from the board. Senior Deputy District Attorney Allan Kaplan said the injunction seeks to stop Sanchez from further violating the Brown Act. The office also seeks to recover any costs incurred from the proceedings. Kaplan would not comment on how the office learned of the alleged violation, saying that is not the issue. The District Attorney’s Office alleges, in documents filed May 2 with the Santa Barbara County Superior Court, that Sanchez gave copies of a letter requesting Alex Simas to resign as city attorney to the Santa Maria Times and KCOY-TV. The letter was a draft written by interim City Administrator Carolyn Galloway-Cooper, which was amended after the council voted on the matter. “We’re asserting that the documents that were distributed contained confidential information,” Kaplan said. Dave Saunders, chief investigator for the District Attorney’s Office, said in a written declaration that Sanchez gave the letter to the media to prove his suspicions that members of the council secretly agreed to terminate the city attorney’s contract. Sanchez would not comment on the matter, but said he will look at each allegation and file a response a few weeks before going to court. The hearing has been scheduled for 8:30 a.m. July 8 at Judge Rodney Melville’s court in Santa Maria. * Staff writer Elizabeth Rodriguez can be reached at 347-4580 or by e-mail at May 8, 2003 :nav Source:

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