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Supervisors dodge questions after private talk with Jerry Brown

September 26, 2011 |  6:47 pm

Photo: California Governor Jerry Brown. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times After a closed-door meeting with Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday, Los Angeles County supervisors held a brief open meeting before quickly leaving.

The hastily called meeting included Brown as well as Sheriff Lee Baca and lasted for about an hour. They were scheduled to discuss a controversial plan to shift responsibility for some parolees from state workers to county probation officers.

The state's Brown Act generally requires that local legislative bodies meet in the open so members of the public can attend and participate. Closed session is normally reserved for sensitive matters such as hiring, firing, public security, labor and property negotiations or pending lawsuits.

A county attorney cited "potential threats to the public services or facilities" as the reason to hold the meeting behind closed doors. Supervisors have been concerned that some parolees could have violent tendencies.

After holding a brief public meeting after the closed session, supervisors Michael D. Antonovich, Zev Zaroslavsky, Don Knabe and Gloria Molina quickly left the room without taking questions about the closed session. Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas was not present in open session.

Terry Francke, general counsel for Californians Aware, a group advocating open government, said that it appeared the state's open meetings law had been violated. "There is a strictly limited set of circumstances for a closed session, and this is not one of them," he said. 

Brown also did not take questions after the meeting. His staff said Brown did not ask for the meeting to be private.

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-- Jason Song at the County Hall of Administration

Photo: California Gov. Jerry Brown. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

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