North Westwood Neighborhood Council to undergo 3-month probationary period
The North Westwood Neighborhood Council, which serves UCLA and residents in its surrounding areas, was placed on probationary status Oct. 7. (Daily Bruin file photo)
By Justin Jung
Oct. 12, 2021 4:32 p.m.
The city of Los Angeles placed the North Westwood Neighborhood Council on probationary status Oct. 7 for noncompliance with an agenda-posting policy.
The Department of Neighborhood Empowerment notified the NWWNC that it was in Exhaustive Efforts – the first step in decertifying a neighborhood council – for three months beginning Oct. 7.
During the Exhaustive Efforts period, the neighborhood empowerment office will be responsible for overseeing the council’s agenda-setting and organizing board member training, according to records obtained by the Daily Bruin. Additionally, all NWWNC committee meetings will be suspended during the period, the letter from neighborhood empowerment officials added.
According to the letter, the NWWNC was placed in Exhaustive Efforts because of repeated noncompliance with a policy requiring neighborhood council agendas to be posted to their respective websites at least three days in advance of council meetings.
During the Exhaustive Efforts period, the neighborhood empowerment office may consider adjusting the probationary period, according to the letter. If the neighborhood council fails to comply with policies after Exhaustive Efforts, the office may petition for the council to be decertified, according to the neighborhood empowerment office’s grievance policy.
Local officials disagreed on whether the NWWNC had repeatedly failed to comply with the policy.
The Oct. 6 NWWNC meeting was the only council meeting that did not comply with the agenda policy, said NWWNC President Furkan Yalcin in an emailed statement. The council decided to hold the Oct. 6 meeting despite a recommendation from neighborhood empowerment office representative Mario Hernandez to cancel the meeting, Yalcin added.
Hernandez had originally recommended canceling the meeting because the agenda had only been indirectly posted to the website, Yalcin said. Instead of directly uploading the agenda to the NWWNC website, the council had posted a link to a Facebook post with the agenda information.
“Although I believe this punishment is a highly disproportionate response to the council’s infractions, the NWWNC will be complying with all DONE requests in order to end the Exhaustive Effort situation,” Yalcin’s statement read.
However, Westwood Neighborhood Council President Lisa Chapman said the NWWNC had repeatedly violated agenda policy over the past three years. Chapman said she had frequently emailed neighborhood empowerment officials with complaints against the NWWNC.
“This is just a matter of playing by the rules. Everybody has to play by the rules,” Chapman said. “When you have stakeholders that aren’t able to participate in their meetings, that’s not OK. That’s not allowing the public to participate.”
Hernandez did not immediately respond to a request for comment.