AD HOC Committees (Workgroups)

Guidelines for AD HOC committees (workgroups)


  1. Serves only a limited or single purpose.
  2. Is time limited and is dissolved when it’s specific task is completed. *
  3. Contains less than a quorum of board/commission members.
  4. Is exempt from complying with the Brown Act if all of the above conditions are met.

 * Reminder: Ad Hocs are time-limited (usually 1-5 meetings until their purpose is served). An AD HOC which continues regularly in its frequency and purpose is subject to becoming a standing committee and therefore subject to the Brown Act.


The job of the AD HOC can vary. Generally, the AD HOC is considered a workgroup created (by the Board or Committee Chair) to study and/or resolve special and specific problems or issues which are facing that Board or Committee. An AD HOC Committee’s duties may include but may not be limited to:

  1. Conduct research,
  2. Compile and analyze information,
  3. Evaluate process and procedure,
  4. Develop proposed tools and resources,
  5. Study recommendations,
  6. Prepare and make reports (in writing and/or verbally) to the board/committee which created it.



The following are suggested steps. Board or Committee  Chair may use a less formal process, provided that the ad hoc created is exempt from complying with the Brown Act (meets criteria in the definition above).

  1. Members of ad hoc committees may be appointed by the Chair, on behalf of the entire Board or Committee, or by action of the entire Board or Committee, depending upon the rules (Charter, bylaws) under which the Board or Committee operates. 
  2. Although, as noted above, the ad hoc committee itself is not subject to the Act, if the Board or Committee desires to create an ad hoc committee, then the action to create the committee should be done at a publicly noticed meeting under the Act and the item should be placed on an agenda for that purpose. 
  3. The need for an AD HOC may be raised by staff, the Board or Committee, or the Chair.

 There is one exception to subcommittees being subject to the Brown Act: ad hoc advisory committees consisting of less than a quorum of members of the legislative body. The following rules apply: (1) the committee must be purely an advisory committee with no decision making authority; (2) the committee must be composed solely of less than a quorum of members of the legislative body (two members for a five-member body, three members for a seven[1]member body); (3) the committee must not have continuing subject matter jurisdiction; and (4) the committee must not have a meeting schedule fixed by formal action of the legislative body.