Hearing Process

The following information is designed to inform you about:
Preparing for a board meeting
What goes on during a board meeting

After the meeting

The following information is made available to encourage citizens' participation in local County government. The primary responsibility of the Clerk of the Board's office is to facilitate management of the Board's agenda and meetings schedule. The goal of the Clerk of the Board in developing the agenda is to make the best use of hearing time and provide a fair opportunity for the public to express views and participate in the process. Some frequently asked questions are addressed below:

Before the Hearing

Who prepares the agenda for the Board?
The County Board of Supervisors'  agenda is prepared by the Office of the Clerk of the Board.

Who can place an item on the agenda?
All items on the agenda must be submitted by Board members or County Department representatives. 

Who makes the final decision on the agenda?
Clerk of the Board staff in conjunction with the Chair of the Board of Supervisors and County Administrator produces the final agenda.

When can I speak?
The Public may comment on any item appearing on the Administrative Agenda by submitting a speaker slip at the beginning of the meeting and addressing specific agenda items prior to the Board's vote on the Administrative Agenda. In addition, the public is allotted opportunity to comment on matters not appearing on the agenda during the Public Comment Period following the Administrative Agenda. Furthermore, the public may also comment on items being considered on the Departmental Agenda as Public Hearings at the time specified for each item and at the discretion of the Chair

How can I find out what is on the agenda?
The Clerk of the Board publishes and posts the  agenda for public view on bulletin boards located near the entrace to the County Administration Building and in front of the Fourth Floor Board Hearing Room, located at 105 East Anapamu Street in Santa Barbara and at the Betteravia Government Center in Santa Maria
The agendas and action summaries of the Board of Supervisors are also available on the Clerk of the Board internet site at  http://santabarbara.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx.> The Clerk of the Board provides public notice in local newspapers as required by law for individual items on the Board's agenda. The office of the Clerk of the Board maintains all records of  current agendas and prior actions of the Board of Supervisors.

During the Meeting

How is the agenda organized?
The agenda is divided into five sections:

  • Approval of Minutes
  • Closed Session
  • Administrative Agenda
  • Public Comment
  • Departmental Agenda

The first order of business of the Board may be a Closed Session.
Board of Supervisors meetings must adhere to the California Open Meeting Law, or "Brown Act" which is the statute governing the conduct of public business by local government. The core of the Brown Act is the requirement that "All meetings of the legislative body of local agencies be open and public."
As allowed by law, the Closed Session portion of the Board meeting is the only part of the meeting that is not public. However, the Board is limited to discussing matters of pending litigation, real property transactions and County personnel issues.

Customarily, all Administrative Agenda items are approved on one vote, except on items that individual members of the Board wish to vote separately. Individual Administrative items may be addressed if a Board member requests a discussion or when a member of the public submits a speaker slip and is recognized by the Chair.
The Public Comment period is the public's opportunity to address issues that do not appear on the agenda - completion of a speaker slip is required.

The Departmental Agenda is made up of items that require Board discussion or Public Hearing. During this time, the Board accepts comment on the respective departmental item prior to taking a vote.

What time will particular items be addressed?

The agenda does not indicate specific times for each departmental item because of the unpredictable nature of these items. Some items, placed on the agenda prior to the "2:00PM" heading will take place in the morning as time allows, while those placed after the "2:00PM" heading will be addressed in the afternoon. The estimated time listed for each item is a good guideline in determining when items will be addressed, however, this estimate does not always determine the amount of time to be spent on individual items.

After the Meeting

The Clerk's office circulates Unofficial Minutes on Thursday following the meeting, which summarizes the actions of the Board and produces Minute Orders for each individual item. The Board approves the minutes at the subsequent meeting. All current agendas and prior action summaries are available on the internet as well as at the Office of the Clerk of the Board.
We hope this information helps clarify the Board of Supervisors' Hearing process and the role of the Clerk of the Board. We encourage your participation in County Government.