Regular Meeting Minutes

January 10, 2003 at 9:30 A. M.



2425 Bristol Ct SW

First Floor Conference Room 148




A. Preliminary Business
The meeting was called to order at 9:50 a.m.
  1. Roll Call - Present were Chair Jim Vaché, Vice-Chair Marilee Scarbrough, and Member Laquita Fields. Also in attendance: Executive Director, Brian Malarky; Board Counsel, Jean Wilkinson; Board Staff Counsel, Linda Dalton; Board Staff, Sue Jones; Board Staff, Sally Pearson.
  2. Approval of Agenda – Mr. Malarky asked that the executive and closed sessions occur during the lunch hour. Motion was made, seconded and passed to approve the agenda as amended.
  3. Approval of November 8, 2002 Regular Meeting Minutes - Member Scarbrough asked for the minutes to reflect on agenda item number 6 that Board staff needed to get a response from the agency before issuing the non-binding analysis. Motion was made, seconded and passed to approve the November 8, 2003 minutes as amended.

B. Quasi-Judicial Board Actions or Motions

1. Motion for Default in EEB Case # 00-06 (Beck) - Linda Dalton, Senior Assistant Attorney General, argued this motion for default and requested that the Board continue the hearing assessment until the time that the respondent, Sylvia Beck, may appeal the order of default. Staff will then set a hearing for final motions, include findings in the case and assessing an appropriate penalty. Motion was made, seconded and passed to grant the Board staff’s motion for default and the Board signed an order to that effect.

C. Proposed Stipulations and Orders

1. Proposed Stipulation and Order in EEB Case # 01-22 (Brooks-Worrell) - Ms. Jones briefed the Board members regarding this complaint and referral from the State Auditor’s Office (SAO), which alleges that the respondent used email and Internet access for personal matters and to conduct an outside business. The proposed stipulation and order imposes a civil penalty of seven thousand five hundred dollars ($7,500.00) with two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500.00) suspended.

Results: After considering the matter in closed session, the Board accepted the stipulation and order as proposed.

2. Proposed Stipulation and Order in EEB Case # 01-51 (Long) - Ms. Jones briefed the Board members regarding this complaint referred from the SAO alleging that the respondent purchased tickets to sporting events and a sold out concert from an agency vendor. Respondent paid the face value of these tickets to the vendor. In response to the SAO’s investigation, the agency issued a notice to its employees that they were no longer allowed to purchase tickets from vendors. The proposed stipulation and order issues a Letter of Instruction to the respondent.

Results: After considering the matter in closed session, the Board accepted the stipulation and order as proposed.

3., 4., and 5. Proposed Stipulation and Order in EEB Case #01-58 (McLuen); Proposed Stipulation and Order in EEB Case #01-66 (Waybright); and Proposed Stipulation and Order in EEB Case #01-75 (Aldrich) - The complaint alleges that twenty-one faculty members of the Community Colleges of Spokane used state provided computers or state provided Internet access to send an email message regarding community college faculty salaries and retirement plan funding to at least thirty State representatives. The subject of the email was also the subject of several bills under active consideration by the Legislature at that time. The proposed stipulation and orders impose a civil penalty in the amount of fifty dollars ($50.00) in EEB Case #01-58; a civil penalty of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) in EEB Case #01-75; and a Letter of Instruction in EEB Case #01-66.

Results: After considering the matter in closed session, the Board accepted the stipulation and orders as proposed.

D. Requests for Advice

1. Advice Request # 01-2-1221-248, Use of State Facilities, Including the Internet, to Access State Benefits - The Executive Director presented a revised, draft opinion in light of WAC 292-110-010 guidelines regarding "organizational effectiveness". In addition, the draft opinion more clearly distinguishes between a private personal gain and a state provided benefit. Motion was made, seconded and passed to approve this opinion as presented.

2. Advice Request # 02-2-0611-144, Use of State Resources to Draft Voters’ Pamphlet Statements - The Executive Director presented this opinion regarding whether the Governor may use state resources to draft a statement supporting or opposing the passage of a ballot proposition that will be published in the statewide voters’ pamphlet. At the November meeting, Board members asked that the opinion be written in a shorter format limiting the authorization to the "voters’ pamphlet" statute. Motion was made, seconded and passed to approve this opinion, with proposed changes, as presented.

The Executive Director asked the Board to defer items D 3, 4, and 5 until Board Counsel, Jean Wilkinson, arrives. The Board approved the change and began discussion of policy reviews E-1 and E-2.

E. Policy Reviews (taken out of order)

1. Policy Review Request # 02-6-0812-12, School for the Blind -"Internet Use" -

Motion was made seconded and passed to approve this policy as amended.

2. Policy Review Request # 02-6-0917-160, Rainer School – "Adult Training Programs Thrift Stores" - The Board expressed concern as to why this policy needed an approval because it appears to be a procedural issue rather than a policy. The Board asked Board staff to send a letter indicating that the Board commends Rainier School for establishing clear guidelines that help employees meet the standards of the Ethics in Public Service Act. The members stated that the procedural guidelines are a great idea and believe that they will meet the agency’s goals. The Board members, however, feel these guidelines are procedural in nature. Since the Executive Ethics Board does not have the authority to approve state agency procedures, they did not take formal action on this request.

Discussion resumed regarding advice requests.

D. Requests for Advice

3. Advice Request # 02-2-0624-98, Guidance to the WUTC (Review Memo from Board Counsel) - The Executive Director informed the Board that the WUTC withdrew their request. The Executive Director recommended issuing the opinion, despite the withdrawal, as the issue may come up with other agencies. After discussion, the Board instructed staff to draft a letter to the WUTC stating that the Board will not issue an opinion and they do not concur with the WUTC’s analysis. The Chair will sign the letter. If the question comes up again, the Board will address it on a case by case basis.

4. Advice Request # 02-2-1115-213, Frequent Flyer Miles - The Board’s Executive Director and Wendy Jarrett with the Office of Financial Management (OFM) briefed the Board on this matter. Ms. Jarrett indicated that OFM surveyed companies and decided it was not worth the time to monitor frequent flyer miles. It would be too costly to govern the miles. Ms. Jarrett also pointed out that the policy was silent on frequent flyer miles. The Board asked the Executive Director to redraft the opinion so that it answers all three questions raised. The Board also asked for short answers regarding a gift to the agency and seeking reimbursement for the use of frequent flyer benefits.

5. Advice Request # 02-2-1023-194, Conflicts of Interest Between a Current State Officer and His or Her Former Employer - The Executive Director indicated that Kristopher Tefft would be present for the discussion of this request. The Board agreed to move discussion of this request to a later time. By 12:00 p.m., Mr. Tefft was still not available. Motion was made, seconded and passed to have the Board staff send a letter to Mr. Tefft indicating that the Board concurred with the Board staff analysis based on the facts presented. If Mr. Tefft knew of a different set of facts, then the Board would review the analysis.

Discussion resumed regarding policy reviews.

E. Policy Reviews (Policy Review item 1 and 2 discussed earlier)

3. Policy Review Request # 02-6-0923-166, PLIA – "Use of State Resources" - This policy was previously presented at the November meeting. The Board members asked that PLIA qualify the 15-minute per day use of the computer/Internet and change "per day" to "on an infrequent basis" and reduce the time allowed. PLIA modified the sentence to now read "For the purposes of this section "de minimis" shall mean 5-10 minutes on an infrequent basis". Motion was made, seconded and passed to approve this policy as now presented.

4. Policy Review Request # 02-6-1001-172, Historical Society – "Use of State Resources" - Motion was made, seconded, and passed to approve the policy as presented.

5. Policy Review Request # 02-6-0905-193, ESD – "Use of Agency Telecommunications Technology Systems" - Gail Swanson from ESD presented this policy. Motion was made, seconded and passed to approve the policy as presented.

6. Policy Review Request # 02-6-1122-204, Lower Columbia College – "Internet Use Policy" - The Board indicated that LCC needed to update the FAQ’s and that a disclaimer regarding the interpretation of the policy solely by LCC may lead to violations of the Ethics in Public Service Act. The policy was tabled until further discussion with LCC.

F. Executive and Closed Session

At 12:01 p.m., the Board moved into executive session to consider complaints against public officials. The Board, Board Counsel, and Board staff attended the executive session. At 1:00 p.m. the Board moved into closed session to deliberate quasi-judicial matters. The Board and Board Counsel attended the closed session. The Board indicated that it would reconvene in its public session at 1:15 p.m. The public session reconvened at 1:15 p.m. The Board announced that, in closed session, the Board members accepted, in their entirety, proposed stipulations and orders in EEB Case Nos. 01-22, 01-51, 01-58, 01-66, and 01-75.

G. Staff Report

  1. Budget update - The Executive Director presented a budget update. He also suggested a phone meeting every other month to save costs. The Board would like to revisit this suggestion when the full Board is present. The Executive Director also indicated that training materials are being emailed to save costs and that staff is researching charging for the training. Legal costs are of concern due to ongoing litigation. The Board’s budget will be moved to the revolving fund and we will be able to roll over any savings. Reduction of travel costs was also discussed. The attorney representing the respondent in EEB # 01-23 (Oertli) has asked for a continuance to March. The Board is also checking for availability for April and May.
  2. Strategic Plan Update - The Executive Director discussed the status of the Memorandum Of Understanding with the State Auditor, Train the Trainer program, the Ethics Advisor’s Program, and indicated that the updated website will be delayed as the software has not arrived yet.
  3. Case status update and review - The Executive Director provided the Board with listings of 2002 case Stipulations and Dismissals. A suggestion was made to add another column to the dismissal report indicating why we dismissed the case.
  4. Planning for 2003 Board/Staff Retreat (Subjects, Location, Time) - This item was deferred until the full board could be present.
  5. Non-binding staff analysis - The Board asked several questions regarding the NeSmith non-binding staff analysis. Board staff will brief the Board about the process used to screen Ms. NeSmith’s husband from cases referred to his spouse.
  6. Letter regarding Statewide Ethics Conference

H. Public Comment/Board Member Comments

There were no public or Board comments

I. Miscellaneous Matters/Adjournment
The meeting was adjourned at 2:10 p.m.







James M. Vaché, Chair