City Council members will respond tonight to allegations that they violated the state's open meeting laws.

In February, the California First Amendment Coalition alleged that the city violated the Ralph M. Brown Act, a law that regulates open meetings for local governments, during a closed session in January to interview applicants for an empty council seat.

Terry Francke, general counsel for the coalition, said the watchdog group wants the City Council to formally admit to the alleged violation, take measures to prevent it from happening in the future and open any new closed sessions if requested by community members.

The coalition could resort to legal action if it does not receive a response, Francke added.

City Atty. Richard D. Jones has said it was never the city's intention to violate the Brown Act.

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