2425 Bristol Court SW – 1st Floor Conference Room 148 – Olympia, WA



January 12, 2007

Regular Meeting Minutes



A.     Preliminary Business

1.      Roll Call

The regular meeting of the Washington State Executive Ethics Board (EEB) was called to order by Chair Evelyn Yenson at 9:00 a.m. In attendance were Vice Chair Judy Golberg and Members Trish Akana, Neil Gorrell and Kyle Usrey. Board staff in attendance included:  Executive Director Susan Harris, Senior Assistant Attorney General Nancy Krier, Assistant Attorney General Michael Tribble, Administrative Officer Ruthann Bryant and Investigator Sue Jones.


2.      Approval of Agenda


Motion 07-031 Moved by Member Gorrell, seconded by Vice Chair Golberg:


The Board approves the January 12, 2007 agenda as presented.


The motion passed unanimously.


3.      Approval of November 17, 2006 Meeting Minutes

Senior Counsel Nancy Krier requested that under Enforcement Matters, in the case of Larry Brookes, it be noted that Mrs. Brady Brookes testified on behalf of Larry Brookes. Member Akana noted that the hearing was concluded at 11:45 a.m. instead of 11:45 p.m. Member Akana also requested that a sentence be added under the Rule-Making Public Hearing to reflect that Chair Akana presided over the hearing. She noted that “clarifies” should read “clarify” on page 3 following WAC 292-100-160 and on page 4 Ms. Harris’ draft letter should clarify that the letter was an informal advisory opinion.


Motion 07-031 Moved by Vice Chair Golberg, seconded by Member Gorrell:


The Board approves the November 17, 2006 minutes as amended.


The motion passed unanimously.


B.  Enforcement Matters

EEB Case 05-030 Teresa Knudsen

Administrative Law Judge Brian Watkins presided over the enforcement hearing of Teresa Knudsen, EEB Case No. 05-030, for alleged violations of RCW 42.52.160 when she used state resources to send an email to college faculty regarding a political matter.


Judge Watkins introduced Board staff Assistant Attorney General Mike Tribble and Teresa Knudsen. He also introduced Board members and staff and briefly discussed the enforcement hearing process. Member Gorrell noted that he is an Administrative Law Judge with the Office of Administrative Hearings, that the office has a screening process in place and he has been excluded from all matters regarding this issue.


Mike Tribble summarized the case against Teresa Knudsen in his opening statement and called Ms. Knudsen to testify. Ms. Knudsen admitted to sending the email and testified that she was exercising her First Amendment rights and organizational effectiveness. She added that the email was for informational purposes and meets the de minimis standard.


Ms. Knudsen also made an opening statement summarizing her teaching background, history and her case. She did not call witnesses to testify.


Member Usrey noted for the record that he is the Dean of Global Commerce and Management at Whitworth College. He added that he has never met Ms. Knudsen and that he will make a fair and impartial decision in this case.


Member Golberg also noted that her son teaches at a community college in Eastern Washington.


Ms. Knudsen stated that she has every confidence that all Board members will fairly hear her case and did not request for either member to recuse him or herself from the hearing.


Following closing argument, Judge Watkins concluded the hearing at 11:12 a.m.


C.  Staff Reports

4.      Executive Director’s Report

Susan Harris introduced Chief of Staff Mike Bigelow. Mr. Bigelow briefly discussed his background and expressed his support for Ms. Harris and staff.





D.  Policy Reviews

Ms. Harris introduced Assistant Attorney General Cindy Evans and provided a draft policy submitted by the Citizen Commission for Performance Measurement of Tax Preferences regarding Conflict of Interest.


Motion 07-032 Moved by Member Gorrell, seconded by Vice Chair Golberg:


The Board approves Citizen Commission for Performance Measurement of Tax Preferences policy on Conflict of Interest as presented.


The motion passed unanimously.


E.  Staff Reports (cont.)

1.   Executive Director’s Report

Ms. Harris summarized training conducted by staff, including the first Train-the-Trainer session.  She provided an update on cases and discussed legislation that may have an impact on the Ethics Law. She noted that HB 1157 removes the $50 limit in RCW 42.52.150.


Terry Springer previewed the website highlighting new features and ease of navigation. Ms. Harris added that the new website is expected to be released at the end of January.  Chair Yenson asked staff to explore the possibility of translating some of the materials into another language, such as Spanish.


5.      AAG Report

Senior Counsel Nancy Krier noted that her report would be given during Closed Session.


6.      Other Staff Reports

No other staff reports were given.


F.  Advisory Opinion Request

Department of Health – Can a DOH committee member enter into a contract with the agency to provide expert witness services?

Susan Harris reported on a request for an advisory opinion from the Department of Health (DOH) asking whether members of the Washington state mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, and social worker advisory committee (committee) can be retained on a contract with DOH to serve as expert witnesses on disciplinary cases involving counselors who are credentialed by the DOH. She noted that a committee member contracting with DOH to provide expert witness services would be in violation of RCW 42.52.120 and 42.52.020 since the members’ responsibilities include advising DOH on disciplinary matters.


The Board agreed and directed Ms. Harris to write a letter to DOH referencing RCW 42.52.120(1)(b) which states that an employee may receive compensation for outside activities provided that: “the performance or administration of the contract or grant is not within the course of the officer’s or employee’s official duties, or is not under the officer’s or employee’s official supervision.” In addition, Advisory Opinion 96-07, which allowed for accepting employment as an expert witness, contains a different set of facts since the potential expert witness in the opinion does not already work for the agency seeking to hire him.


G.  Policy Reviews (cont.)

Columbia Basin College – Code of Ethics

Susan Harris provided an updated policy submitted by Columbia Basin College regarding its Code of Ethics. She noted that the updated version incorporates the changes she requested to the prior version.  Member Akana requested that the date on the first page be changed to January 2007 and that the periods be changed to dashes in the reference to WAC 292-110-010 on page 3 in 3.0 “Personal Use of College Resources.”


Motion 07-033 Moved by Member Akana, seconded by Member Usrey:


The Board approves Columbia Basin College policy on Code of Ethics as amended.


The motion passed unanimously.



H.  Public Comment/Board Member Comments

Harvey Gertson with the Department of Transportation thanked the Board for the opportunity to comment and requested that the agenda clearly reflect when an enforcement hearing is being held for scheduling purposes. 


I.   Executive or Closed Session

At 12:00 p.m. the Board moved into Closed Session to discuss potential litigation, deliberate and to receive and evaluate complaints against state employees and officers. The Board returned to open session at 1:20 p.m.


J.  Miscellaneous Matters/Adjournment

There being no miscellaneous matters, the meeting was adjourned at 1:21 p.m.


Approved by the Board 2/9/07