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



February 9, 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, Administrative Officer Ruthann Bryant and Investigators Sue Jones and Nancy Lewin.


2.      Approval of Agenda


Motion 07-034 Moved by Member Gorrell, seconded by Member Usrey:


The Board approves the February 9, 2007 agenda as presented.


The motion passed unanimously.


3.      Approval of January 12, 2007 Meeting Minutes

Vice Chair Golberg requested clarification on which member seconded Motion 07-032. Chair Yenson noted that a discussion regarding the new website included reviewing other agency websites providing content in other languages such as Spanish. She requested that that discussion be reflected in the minutes under Staff Reports. Chair Yenson also noted that the next to last paragraph on page 2 under Enforcement Matters should be more clearly written.


Motion 07-035 Moved by Vice Chair Golberg, seconded by Member Gorrell:


The Board approves the January 12, 2007 minutes as amended.


The motion passed unanimously.


Assistant Attorney General Mike Tribble arrived at 9:05 a.m.


B. Advisory Opinion Request

Fire Training Academy – continuation of discussion 

Susan Harris introduced Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Brown and Washington Federation of State Employees Attorney Anita Hunter. Ms. Harris updated the Board on a request for an advisory opinion on whether Washington State Patrol (WSP) employees can use facilities of the WSP Fire Training Academy (FTA) in North Bend to stay overnight and avoid a long commute home. Ms. Harris noted that this item was discussed at three previous meetings and further information was requested.


Staff met with representatives of the FTA (WSP), the Labor Relations Office, the Washington Federation of State Employees, as well as Assistant Attorneys General. Senior Counsel Nancy Krier provided legislative history of RCW 43.18.010, which was passed in 1985.


Ms. Harris added that an advisory opinion has been drafted however, on February 1, 2007, staff received an email from Ms. Brown stating that the parties to the request for the written opinion have entered into an agreement that entails withdrawal of the request. Ms. Hunter added that as of February 2, 2007, employees are no longer staying overnight at the facility.


Motion 07-036 Moved by Member Gorrell, seconded by Vice Chair Golberg:


The Board accepts the withdrawal as requested. The draft opinion is not to be utilized in any way unless the Board or another agency wishes to bring a similar request.


The motion passed unanimously.


C.  Legislation

Susan Harris summarized legislation that may have an impact on RCW 42.52. She noted that SB 5420 requires certain information to be posted to agency websites and added that most of the requirements contained in the bill are currently in practice. Nancy Krier noted that the bill requires minutes to be posted on agency websites within 5 days of action but does not clarify whether or not drafts have to be posted or if it means the minutes must be posted following approval. She added that many boards and commissions have expressed concern with posting draft minutes and clarification is pending.


D.  Informal Attorney General Opinion

Ms. Harris updated the Board on a request for an advisory opinion on whether Parks employees can solicit gifts for the agency. She noted that although Parks has the statutory authority to receive gifts from private sources as well as the authority to enter into sponsorships with outside organizations, it is not clear if they can solicit for those gifts or how it affects a “section 4” employee and the solicitation of vendors.

At the July 13, 2006 meeting the Board decided to table the matter while Parks requested an Attorney General Opinion. Ms. Harris provided the Board with a copy of an Informal Opinion that was in response to this request and noted that she has been working with Parks and expects them to withdraw the request at a future meeting.


E.  Staff Reports

1.  Executive Director’s Report

Susan Harris summarized the biennial budget and discussed training conducted, including the Train-the-Trainer program. She also noted that Mike Bigelow would like to meet with board members at the March 9th meeting to conduct an interim review for her Performance Development Plan.


2.  Other Staff Reports

Ruthann Bryant briefly discussed progress on the new website adding that the new site will be published to the Internet the week of February 12, 2007.


F.  Public Comment/Board Member Comments

No public or Board Member comments were expressed.


G.   Executive or Closed Session

At 9:35 a.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 10:45 p.m.


H.  Miscellaneous Matters/Adjournment

The Board requested that staff write a letter to Robert Leichner, Executive Secretary of the Horse Racing Commission regarding EEB Case #07-004, Thelma Lynn, expressing that Advisory Opinion 97-03 governs this situation. Although the Board believes that a conflict existed when Ms. Lynn worked for a daycare center whose board of directors were people she regulated in her official capacity as a racing steward, they agreed not to initiate a complaint. They based this decision on the fact that Ms. Lynn sought advice, which was incorrect when given, and she resigned from the daycare.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:47 a.m.


Approved by the Board 3/9/07