DA won't prosecute on Brown Act violation

Menlo Park Councilwoman Kelly Fergusson solicited support to be selected mayor

Menlo Park Councilwoman Kelly Fergusson will not face criminal charges for a Brown Act violation, the district attorney's office announced Tuesday (Feb. 1).

In a written statement, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe and Deputy District Attorney Albert Serrato said that since Fergusson's serial meeting didn't result in any action taken by the council, her violation didn't violate the criminal provision of the Brown Act.

Although the investigation confirmed the serial meeting, Serrato said no collective decision or commitment was reached.

"Mr. Ohtaki did not vote for Ms. Fergusson, but more relevant here, he did not agree or commit to voting for her in his discussions with her," Serrato said.

Rescinding the original vote that made Fergusson mayor of Menlo Park provided a sufficient civil remedy, according to the statement.

The Almanac broke the story of the violation in December. The councilwoman solicited support to be chosen as mayor in one-on-one conversations with fellow council members Rich Cline and Peter Ohtaki. Both said they were unaware that she had spoken to a majority of the council.

After the city attorney confirmed the violation, Fergusson stepped down as mayor on Dec. 10 and the council held another vote, this time choosing Cline.

More details will be posted as they become available.

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