Once a month, Hesperia's three government agencies meet to coordinate activities and keep their counterparts in the loop.
Each of the agencies -- the City of Hesperia, the Hesperia Recreation and Park District and the Hesperia Unified School District -- sends a mix of elected representatives and staff to the meetings, which are held in a conference room at Hesperia City Hall.
At Wednesday's "Tri-Agency" meeting, the park district was represented by both Administrative Operations Manager Lindsay Woods, who will be taking over as the district's general manager on July 1, and a total of three board members.
Board members Bob Chandler and Rebekah Swanson were listed on the official agenda as the district's representatives, but board member Kelly Gregg was there as well, sitting off to the side and silently listening in.
Under California's Ralph M. Brown Act, a majority of an elected body -- enough to discuss and decide on direction for the body, in other words -- can only gather when the public has been notified that there will be a meeting, so that members of the public can be there for their deliberations. (There are some narrow exceptions, where the body can meet in private, such as personnel matters or on matters of litigation, but even then, the public has to be notified that such a meeting will be taking place.)
Only two city council members and two school board members were present at the meeting.
The park board is not violating the state's open governance law, according to its new head.
"Mr. Gregg is the alternate [representative], if he's there, and he doesn't participate, then there is no violation," Woods said Friday. "All three agencies, at various times, have had various others in the room, same type of thing."
The district cited a 1998 ruling by the office of Attorney General Dan Lungren, which said that members of a legislative body can attend committee meetings as observers only. Such observers cannot speak and cannot sit with the official representatives.
This isn't the first time the issue has come up in Hesperia:
In 2007, three city council members -- Mike Leonard, Rita Vogler, Mayor Pro Tem and Thurston "Smitty" Smith -- were criticized when they took an Alaskan cruise together. The three insisted that no council business was conducted on the trip, although Leonard said he took some notes about an upcoming meeting with him.
Smith, who attended Wednesday's meeting along with Leonard, will be returning to Alaska later this year. But this time, he noted, he'll be the only city council member on the ship.
Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 760-956-7108 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.