Skip to Content

Human Resources Department

Commission on Human Rights

Ordinance 5870

Human rights banner 750

Ordinance Of The Board Of Supervisors Of The County Of Sonoma, State Of California, Amending Article XXII Of Chapter 2 Of The Sonoma County Code Relating To The Commission On Human Rights.

The Board of Supervisors of the County of Sonoma, State of California, ordains as follows:

Section I.

The Sonoma County Code, Chapter 2, Article XXII, Sections 2-322 through 2-326 be amended to read as follows. Make any other ordinance changes as needed to reflect these amendments.


The Commission on Human Rights

Section 2-322. Number and Diversity – Appointing Authority – Terms – Limitations –Attendance – Compensation and Reimbursement.

  1. Number and Diversity

    The Commission shall consist of fifteen (15) members, each of whom shall have a commitment to fostering better human relations in Sonoma County. The Commission shall reflect and represent the racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity of Sonoma County.

  2. Appointing Authority

    The Commissioners shall be appointed and confirmed by the Board of Supervisors of Sonoma County. Three (3) Commissioners shall be appointed by each district Supervisor to represent the five (5) supervisorial districts of the County.

  3. Appointments

    Of the initial fifteen (15) appointees to the Commission, eight (8) appointees shall serve terms of three (3) years while the remaining seven (7) Commissioners shall each serve two (2) year terms. All subsequent appointments by the Board shall be for two (2) year terms. The Commission may make recommendations on subsequent appointments and the filling of vacancies.

  4. Limitation on Terms

    There is no limitation upon the number of terms for which a Commissioner may be appointed.

  5. Attendance

    A report may be made to the appointing Supervisor whenever a Commissioner fails to attend at least two-thirds (2/3) of the regular meetings held during any twelve (12) month period. Furthermore, Commissioners shall give an Officer or the Commission’s staff prior notice if they cannot attend a regular meeting. The appointing Supervisor may remove the Commissioner for failure to comply with the attendance requirement.

  6. Compensation and Reimbursement

    Members of the Commission shall serve without compensation, but may be reimbursed for authorized, reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their official duties with prior approval by the Commission.

Section 2-323. Meetings – Brown Act – Quorum – Minutes

  1. Meetings

    The Commission shall provide for its regular, adjourned regular and special meetings. The dates upon which, and the hour and location at which any such meeting shall be held shall be fixed by the Commission.

  2. Brown Act

    All meetings of the Commission, including, without limitation, regular meetings, adjourned regular meetings and special meetings, shall be called, noticed, held and conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Ralph M. Brown Act (Government Code Sections 54950 et seq.).

  3. Quorum

    A majority of the duly appointed Commissioners shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.

  4. Minutes

    The Commission shall cause to be kept minutes of the meetings, including regular, adjourned regular and special meetings, and shall provide a copy of the minutes of said meetings to the Board of Supervisors and to each member of the Commission as soon as is practical after each meeting.

Section 2-324. Purpose – Powers and Duties

  1. The purpose of the Commission is to promote better human relations between all people in Sonoma County through education, advocacy, communication, and by initiation of action that fosters the recognition of and an appreciation for the diversity of our community.
  2. The powers and duties of the Commission shall be as follows:
    1. To study and research by means of meetings, conferences, public hearings or other appropriate means any conditions which represent prejudice or discrimination on the bases of race, ethnicity, national origin, creed or religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition in Sonoma County;
    2. To conduct surveys and other research on discrimination against each of the classes of persons or conditions defined in this section;
    3. To develop educational and instructional materials and programs to promote equal rights, tolerance, understanding and inclusiveness and to prevent or alleviate discrimination;
    4. To provide information and referral to resources addressing discrimination;
    5. To consult and cooperate with the Board of Supervisors, federal, state and other governmental authorities, and to refer to appropriate government agencies any matters, within their jurisdictions and powers;
    6. To advocate for policy at the local, state and federal levels that promotes equal rights, tolerance, understanding, inclusiveness and prohibits discrimination against each of the classes of persons or conditions defined in this section;
    7. To recommend to the Board of Supervisors necessary procedures, programs or policies that promote equal rights and the recognition and appreciation of human diversity;
    8. Subject to the approval of the County Administrator, to request from County departments information, services, facilities and any other assistance necessary for the purposes of promoting the objectives of this article;
    9. To provide to the Board of Supervisors minutes of all Commission meetings and, upon request, reports of its activities; and
    10. With the consent of the Board of Supervisors, to solicit and accept funding support as well as donations of funds and/or services from any source in order to carry out the powers and duties outlined herein, as permitted by law. The Commission shall use the standard County budget process.
    11. The Commission is authorized to enter into contracts for goods and/or services consistent with the Commission’s Work Plan and budget. The Commission shall use the standard County purchasing procedure(s), and the Director of Human Resources (or his/her designee) shall have the authority to sign such documents on behalf of the Commission.

Section 2-325. Staff – Volunteers, Consultants and Community Resources

  1. Staff

    Staff for the Commission shall be appointed by the Director of the Human Resources Department of the County.

  2. Volunteers, Consultants and Community Resources

    The Commission may engage such services of volunteer workers and consultants without salary as it finds necessary. The Commission may utilize community resources as it finds appropriate to its functions.

Section 2-326. Officers – Organization – Work Plan

  1. Officers

    The Commission shall select annually from its membership a Chair, Vice-Chair and Officer-at-Large.

  2. Organization

    The Commission may designate standing or ad hoc committees, individual Commissioner appointments (e.g., coordinators and liaisons) and task forces for the purpose of carrying out any of the functions and duties of the Commission.

  3. Work Plan

    At least biennially, the Commission shall draft a work plan for the purposes of conducting the business of the Commission, which shall be approved by the County Administrator and the Board of Supervisors.

Section II.

If any section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase of this Ordinance is for any reason held to be unconstitutional and invalid, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portion of this Ordinance. The Board of Supervisors hereby declares that it would have passed this Ordinance and every section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase thereof, irrespective of the fact that any one or more sections, subsections, sentences, clauses or phrases be declared unconstitutional or invalid.

Section III.

This Ordinance shall be and the same is hereby declared to be in full force and effect from and after thirty (30) days after the date of its passage and shall be published once before the expiration of 15 days after said passage with the names of the Supervisors voting for and against the same, in The Press Democrat, a newspaper of the general circulation in the County of Sonoma, State of California.

In regular session of the Board of Supervisors of the County of Sonoma, State of California, duly introduced on the 8th day of December, 2009 and approved on the 15th day of December, 2009 on regular roll call of the members of said Board by the following vote:


Whereupon, the Chair declared the above and foregoing Ordinance duly adopted and so ordered.

Efren Carrillo
Chair Pro Tem, Board of Supervisors
County of Sonoma

Chris Thomas
Acting Clerk of the Board of Supervisors