UPDATED: Typos lead to alleged Brown Act violation

When you’re sending an email, make sure to check that the addresses you’re sending it to are valid. Especially if you’re sending a board meeting agenda for, say, the Tulare Local Healthcare District.

The Visalia Times-Delta has alleged that the Tulare Local Healthcare District violated the Brown Act when it incorrectly typed out the email addresses of multiple newspapers, including the Visalia daily, The Fresno Bee, and one Valley Voice reporter.

That email contained a “special board meeting” agenda for January 31 — such agendas are required to be sent out at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.

The text of the law requires a “written notice to each member of the legislative body and to each local newspaper of general circulation and radio or television station requesting notice in writing.”

The Voice is not considered a “newspaper of general circulation” because it is not printed inside Tulare County; it still receives notifications from the district, along with other local news outlets.

A meeting agenda email sent out on January 30.

At 3:59pm on January 30, that agenda was sent to multiple reporters whose email addresses were spelled correctly, including:

  • Jim Houck, a former Times-Delta reporter,
  • Joseph Oldenbourg, the Voice’s editor,
  • Christina Fan and Brian Johnson, ABC30 reporters,
  • P.K. Whitmire, a K-TIP radio reporter,

Multiple reporters’ addresses were spelled incorrectly:

This reporter later received a corrected email on January 30 at 8:12pm.

At the hospital’s January 25 meeting, the district’s board of directors voted to bring its website and public relations in-house; still, a staff member at the hospital sent out the agenda for the January 31 special meeting.

Rick Elkins, the district’s public relations volunteer, was unavailable to send out the January 31 meeting agenda.

“I sent staff the notice list I’ve been using since July 2017. If cut and pasted, [there] shouldn’t be any typos,” Kevin Northcraft, the district’s chairman, said in a text message. “We strive to exceed public notice and open meetings requirements, given former management didn’t follow the rules. To avoid any question, we will ratify the actions of 1/31 at the meeting today.”

Larry Blitz, the hospital’s interim CEO, confirmed that Northcraft had provided his staff with a media list.

“We talked to Kevin last week — we did notify all of the people that Kevin gave us; his list of people on public notice,” Blitz said. “That we did, and we actually have documentation – we also called all the board directors or left a message with them.”

Blitz said that any potential Brown Act violations were news to him when the Times-Delta‘s reporter called him.

“I said, I don’t know what you’re talking about – he said, this person didn’t get this, and that person didn’t get that,” Blitz said.

“As far as we’re concerned there were no Brown Act violations. It surely wasn’t intended,” he added. “If there was a mistake, we surely want to know about it and correct it.”

Northcraft sent out an agenda for the district’s February 6 special meeting. Blitz anticipated that volunteers would continue to send out agendas until the hospital is able to hire administrative staff for board matters.

Elkins the district’s public relations volunteer, sent out a second email after Northcraft’s to local media outlets.

“Just want to be sure everyone received this,” it read, with an attached agenda.

In Depth: Tulare Regional Medical Center

6 thoughts on “UPDATED: Typos lead to alleged Brown Act violation

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  1. Carlton has again proved to me that he is just an *******. He is a big disappointment to our city and proves it more and more every time he opens his mouth.

    • Amen Grandma. But isn’t he a fine one to call someone a liar? Wouldn’t know the truth if it bit him in the ass!

  2. This hospital board needs an experienced Administrative Assistant to make sure that all i’s are dotted and all t’s are crossed. The incorrect email addresses would have been caught right off the bat with the right person overseeing the boards office management. As far as Carlton Jones is concerned he is just a negative person always looking to make everyone else the underdog. He needs to go……not a team player!

    • I really believe that this board an the staffing at the hospital needs to take people up on volunteering. Lots of great retired admin people out there. Utilize them until things are turned around. Missing your chance.
      Jones just wants to jump on any negative bandwagon. Hope he is preparing for the next election! Ha ha ha.

      • My thoughts exactly Linda. There are many retired professionals in our city that could volunteer for that position and other positions as well.

        • Maybe the people hired working at the hospital right now should be volunteers. How is the District paying for staff without an open hospital?? I don’t see this hospital opening again. Just go to Kaweah.

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