California Attorney General Says “No Compensation” Means “No Compensation”

October 24, 2014

Under the redevelopment dissolution legislation, each successor agency is required to have a seven-member oversight board composed of representatives of local agencies, school districts, the public, and public employees. The California Attorney General’s office has published an opinion on Health & Safety Code Section 34179(c), which states that oversight board “members shall serve without compensation or reimbursement of expenses.” This seemingly straight-forward provision of the redevelopment dissolution legislation has led to confusion. Some interpreted it to mean that oversight board members are volunteers that cannot receive any compensation. Others have interpreted this to mean that while the oversight board and the successor agency are prohibited from compensating board members, other entities (in particular, the agency that appointed a particular member to the oversight board) could provide compensation.

 

 

After applying the “settled principles” of statutory interpretation, the Attorney General concluded that no entity may compensate oversight board members. The Attorney General did note that if an entity appoints its own employee to serve as a board member, as one of the employee’s duties, then that individual can still receive his or her usual compensation—even if the compensation covers time the individual spends as a board member. As further evidence that nothing in the redevelopment dissolution legislation is easy, it took five and a half pages and twenty-two footnotes to interpret one sentence in Health & Safety Code Section 34179(c). To read Attorney General Opinion No. 12-902, click here.