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2180 Milvia Street, Berkeley, CA 94704 
Tel: (510) 981-6900, TDD: (510) 981-6903
Office Hours: Monday - Friday  8 a.m. - 5 p.m., E-mail: clerk@ci.berkeley.ca.us

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Public Hearings     |     City Council Agendas & Summaries


April 20, 2004 Public Hearing:

  1. Regulation of Ex Parte Contacts in Quasi-Judicial Hearings Before the Council or City Boards or Commissions

A public hearing to consider how to regulate contacts between members of the public and council members or members of boards or commissions (known as "ex parte contacts”) when the Council or such boards and commission are conducting quasi-judicial hearings. 

A quasi-judicial hearing is one in which the Council, board or commission, applies existing legal ordinance standards, such as the Zoning, Subdivision or Landmarks Preservation ordinances to individual cases, usually in the context of a permit application.  The hearings are referred to as quasi-judicial hearings because the role of the Council, board or commission is akin to that of a judge, taking evidence, hearing speakers, resolving factual and legal disputes and making findings. Case law requires that such hearings afford the parties a fair hearing which includes the ability to be apprised of all information and comments made to the decision-making body and its members and an opportunity to respond to any such comments.

The Council's current rules prohibit such ex parte contacts outside the hearing. The purpose of the Council's current rule is to protect fairness in such hearings by ensuring that all such discussions take place in public at the public hearing thereby guaranteeing that that all parties can hear and respond to all comments made and all council members can benefit from the same facts and discussions.  The City Attorney has also advised boards and commissions to avoid ex parte contacts and to disclose any made at the beginning of the hearing. The Council will be considering whether to modify its rule to allow such ex parte contacts only if the substance and nature of such contacts are contemporaneously recorded at the time they are made and later publicly disclosed at the beginning of the quasi-judicial hearing.  The Council will be considering applying the rule across the board to all boards and commissions engaged in quasi-judicial procedures so as to ensure fairness in all City quasi-judicial hearings.

For further information, contact Manuela Albuquerque, City Attorney, (510) 981-6950.


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City of Berkeley Logo

City Clerk Department
2180 Milvia Street, Berkeley, California  94704
Telephone (510) 981-6900; TDD (510) 981-6903; Fax (510) 981-6901
Office Hours: Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
E-mail:
clerk@ci.berkeley.ca.us
Graphic: New Information Note: Some City buildings and services will be closed to the public on holidays and reduced services days. Access the City's Holiday and Reduced Service Days Schedule.