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


February 13, 2009

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 Neil Gorrell at 9:00 a.m.  In attendance were Vice Chair Linnaea Jablonski, Members Golberg, Connelly and Biegelman.  Board staff in attendance included:  Executive Director Melanie de Leon, Senior Counsel Jerry Anderson, Assistant Attorney General Mickey Newberry, Administrative Officer Ruthann Bryant, and Investigators Nancy Lewin and Sue Jones. 


2.    Approval of Agenda


Motion 09-007 Moved by Member Golberg, seconded by Vice Chair Jablonski:


The Board approves the February 13, 2009 agenda as presented.


The motion passed unanimously.


3.    Approval of the January 9, 2009 Meeting Minutes


Motion 09-008 Moved by Vice Chair Jablonski, seconded by Member Biegelman:


The Board approves the January 9, 2009 minutes as presented.


The motion passed unanimously.


B.    Rule Making – Draft amendments to WAC 292-110-010 Use of state resources

Chair Gorrell noted that he and Vice Chair Jablonski drafted the current amendments as a result of discussions and concerns raised at the November 14, 2008 meeting.

Member Connelly discussed several changes including removing editorial comments, incorporating a list of permitted uses and suggested combining subsections 2 and 3 to help clarify the rule.

Attorney Anita Hunter expressed concern regarding the language “any use cannot reasonably be handled during non-work hours” since flextime employees may not have the same opportunities as another employee to make personal telephone calls.

Vince Oliveri, Professional and Technical Engineers Union Local 17, commented that using the phone during a break is allowed and added that the purpose of the rule is to eliminate misuse. He expressed concern that by adding specific language such as “during reasonable work hours” may be interpreted as not allowing employees to carry out labor contract duties.

Following discussion, the Board directed staff to incorporate Member Connelly’s amendments and bring both versions to the March 13th meeting for review.


C.   Discussion Items

Ms. de Leon briefly summarized a request by a Department of Revenue Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) asking if he may make a determination regarding the tax liability of Acme Co., where the ALJ holds shares in Beta Co., and Beta Co. has a financial and voting interest in Theta Co. which owns Acme Co.?

She noted that the issue was discussed at the January meeting and the Board requested further information regarding the amount of stock owned and clarification on a transaction involving the state. She reported that the amount of shares owned by the ALJ is $12,000 of a company worth $9.786 billion in 2007.

The Board concluded that there is not a financial interest or conflict of interest in this situation.


D.   Enforcement Matters

            Approval of Stipulated Facts, Conclusion and Order

            EEB Case No. 07-026 (Madison)

Nancy Lewin briefed the Board on the proposed stipulation and order. Dr. Madison agreed that he violated RCW 42.52.160, when he used his work computer to access and view non-work related material. The parties agreed that Dr. Madison would pay a civil penalty of $750 with $250 suspended.

EEB Case 07-041 (Balch) and EEB Case 07-053 (Singleton)

Phil Stutzman, Director of Compliance for the Public Disclosure Commission, briefed the Board on the proposed stipulations and orders. Ms. Balch and Mr. Singleton agreed that they violated RCW 42.52.010 when they used documents for teaching a class that were copied from internal litigation files maintained at the Attorney General’s Office regarding a 1992 Superior Court case. The parties agreed that Ms. Balch and Mr. Singleton would each pay a civil penalty of $250.

The Board deferred action until after closed session.



E.   Legislation

Melanie de Leon reported on Legislation that may have an impact on the Ethics in Public Service Act.  She added that she testified at two hearings in the House.

Member Connelly requested Legislative updates on the taping of executive sessions and the impact of the Sunshine Committee’s recommendation on attorney/client privilege and work product exemptions.


F.    Advisory Opinion Update

Nancy Lewin discussed Board Advisory Opinions (AO) that relate to conflicts of interest for board and commission members and encompassed the following AOs, with the described outcomes:


AO 96-09 RCW 42.52 – Boards and Commission – Disclosure Requirements – Voting Abstention Requirements --- Retire

AO 96-09A Supplemental to AO 96-09 – Separate “Model Rules” into a new WAC and retire the AO

AO 97-11 Financial Interests/Board Membership -- Include the statements regarding divestitures into the model rules, then retire AO

AO 98-08 Conflict of Interest/Board Membership -- Expand applicable group to include all Boards and Commissions and draft new language regarding potential future business

AO 99-07 Conflict of Interest/Board Membership -- Review for any updates

AO 03-05 Holding an Interest Beneficial or Otherwise in a Person Regulated by a Citizen Body Whose Members may be Selected from Identified Groups or Interests -- Retire


G.   Staff Reports

1.  Executive Director’s Report

Melanie de Leon reported that she has been working with the Department of Information Services (DIS) to develop an interactive Ethics training program that will be accessible to all state employees throughout the state. She added that a price quote is currently being developed and the training should be available on the website by the end of June.


Ms. de Leon also discussed issuing media releases following final Board action.  The Board agreed that issuing a release to both local and regional newspapers would be an efficient way to notify the public of Board actions.


2.  AAG Report

AAG Mickey Newberry provided a brief update on current cases.

Senior Counsel Jerry Anderson briefly discussed current Legislation.


3.  Other Staff Reports

No other staff reports were given.


H.   Public Comment/Board Member Comment

No public or board member comments were expressed.


I.      Closed Session

At 11:00 a.m. Chair Gorrell noted there were no executive session items and the Board moved into Closed Session to deliberate on quasi-judicial matters. 

      At 11:25 a.m. the Board returned to regular session and reported the following:


Motion 09-009 Moved by Member Connelly, seconded by Member Biegelman:


The Board accepts the Stipulated Facts, Conclusions and Orders in EEB Case #07-026, Charles Madison, EEB Case #07-041, Linda Balch and EEB Case #07-053, Martin Singleton, as presented.


The motion passed unanimously.


Motion 09-010 Moved by Member Connelly, seconded by Vice Chair Jablonski:


The Board finds No Reasonable Cause and Dismisses EEB Case #08-133, Rob McKenna.


The motion passed unanimously.


Motion 09-011 Moved by Member Connelly, seconded by Member Biegelman:


The Board affirms the Executive Director’s Oder of Dismissal and issues a Final Order of Dismissal in EEB Case #06-037, Steven Johnson.


The motion passed unanimously.



I.   Miscellaneous Matters/Adjournment

There being no miscellaneous matters, the meeting was adjourned at 11:30 a.m.


Approved by the Board 3/13/09