New MAC representatives briefed on open meeting protocol – Sonoma West

Sonoma Coast and Russian River Municipal Advisory Committees meet for transparency training

Newly elected members of the lower Russian River and Sonoma Coast municipal advisory councils (MACs) gathered last week for counseling on how — and how not — to conduct the public’s business.

“You are all now a legislative body,” which comes with responsibilities for upholding transparency and public access, Deputy County Counsel Linda Schiltgen told the new MAC members at an orientation meeting in the Monte Rio Community Center.

Legislative status means all MAC’s official business must be “open and public” in accord with California’s Brown Act, the state open meeting law named for legislator Ralph M. Brown, Schiltgen said.

The nine-member MACs will start meeting in February and March to advise the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on issues and projects within the MACs’ represented areas.

About three dozen people attended last week’s orientation hosted by Fifth District Supervisor Lynda Hopkins’ Field Representative Amie Windsor. (Lynda Hopkins was absent on maternity leave and gave birth to a son, Linden, last Thursday.)

The river MAC’s first meeting is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 25, with the time and place to be announced, Windsor said. The coast MAC will start meeting on March 7, time and place also to be announced later this week. Both meetings will include a formal swearing-in of the new representatives.

The coast MAC comprises the Sonoma Coast communities of Valley Ford, Bodega, Bodega Bay, Jenner, Timber Cove, west Cazadero and the Sea Ranch. The Lower Russian River MAC area includes Forestville, Hacienda, Rio Nido, Pocket Canyon, Guerneville, Monte Rio and Cazadero.

The MACs will meet six times a year according to a schedule now being worked out, Windsor said. Both MACs have their own websites where agendas, schedules and other information will be available online.