The regular meeting of the Washington State Executive Ethics Board
(EEB) was called to order by Vice Chair Trish Akana at .Present were Members Evelyn Yenson, and JudyGolberg, and Chair Paul Zellinsky, participating
by telephone.Member MarileeScarbrough was excused.Board staff in attendance included:Interim Executive Director KentNakamura, SeniorAssistant
Attorney General LindaMoran, Investigator Linda Stark, and
Investigator Sue Jones.
Guest Susan Harris, the incoming Executive Director, also attended
the morning session.Ms.Harris’ employment starts on March
KentNakamura asked to include on the agenda a March
9, 2005, request
from a current state employee for the Board’s approval of an employment
contract.Members Yenson moved, Golberg
seconded to approve the March 11, 2005 Agenda as amended.MOTION carried.
of February 11,2005
Corrections to the minutes included typographical errors.In addition, the last paragraph on page 2
should indicate that Member Scarbrough and not Yenson volunteered to serve on
the rules-review ad hoc committee.
On page 5, fifth paragraph, Vice Chair Akana proposed that the
sentence read: “The Board expressed its interest in having its view on the
impact of the legislation on the ethics law shared with the Governor.”
Member Golberg moved, Chair Zellinsky seconded to approve the February
11, 2005 Regular
Meeting Minutes as amended.MOTION
B.Proposed Stipulations and Orders
Case No. 03-020 (Meeks)
Mr.Nakamura briefed the Board on the proposed
stipulation and order.Vice Chair Akana
asked whether the Attorney General’s Office has a policy on ethics training and
whether Mr.Meeks had received ethics training.LindaMoran indicated that every employee in the
Attorney General’s Office receives ethics training upon employment and then
every three years.Vice Chair Akana
asked whether Mr.Meeks was still an employee in the Attorney
General’s Office.Mr.Nakamura indicated that he was not.The Board’s deliberation on the proposal was
deferred until executive session.
Case No. 03-082 (Newcomb)
Mr.Nakamura briefed the Board on the proposed
stipulation and order.Board members
asked that non-substantive changes be made to the document. The Board’s
deliberation on the proposal was deferred until executive session.
Use of public resources for employee
training and education.
Mr.Nakamura explained that he had been asked for
informal advice on the use of state resources for employee training and
education.Mr.Nakamura posed the question to agency-designated
ethics advisors to discern agency practices.The responses from ethics advisors showed a range of variability.As a result of the responses, Mr.Nakamura suggested that the Board provide
guidance in a formal Advisory Opinion or in the format of a Frequently Asked
The Board discussed the scope of the issue and frequency of
requests for guidance.The Board asked Mr.Nakamura to develop a draft “frequently asked
question” with the answer being framed around supervisory acknowledgement and
documentation that an employee’s training and education is relevant to the
employee’s current position or is job-related.For non-job related training and education, the de minimis rule on brief
and infrequent use of state resources for limited unofficial use would
Proposed Ethics Policy.
Guest Elizabeth Olson attended on behalf of the College. Ms.Olson indicated that the EverettCommunity College crafted its ethics policy based on the
Board-approved policy for the HighlineCommunity College.Vice Chair Akana expressed concern that the College’s policy omitted
listing all the limitations for gifts, for example, under RCW 42.52.150 and it
was unclear whether the College intended that their policy be stricter than the
law.Ms.Akana also noted that the exception to the
prohibition on the “use of state resources for personal benefit” is really a
The Board discussed earlier comments and asked for clarification
in the “Frequently Asked Questions” section on the following topics:cell phone use and a system of reimbursement;
political campaigns and use of an employee’s title to support a candidate or a
ballot proposition; installation of software on a state computer; and honorarium.
Ms.Olson indicated that she would ask the
College’s Assistant Attorney General to review the College’s policy before it
was finalized and brought back to the Board for approval.
HB 1806/SB 5811 – encouraging the
transfer of ethics to the Governor’s Office
Mr.Nakamura reported that HB 1806 was amended as a
substitute bill to include the regional universities, WashingtonTechnologyCenter, and any other affiliated research or
At the conclusion of the Board’s February meeting, Vice Chair
Akana and Mr. Nakamura spoke with Mark Baldwin in the Governor’s Policy Office
about HB 1806 and concerns the Board had with the legislation as proposed as it
created from the Board’s perspective a two-tier system of ethics---one for
research employees in universities and another for research employees in other
Mr.Nakamura stated that he had Staff contact COGEL
members asking how others treat university research employees under their ethics
law. Staff found that there was no clear direction. Other states’ laws treated
university employees the same as all other public employees--a few states’ laws
had no jurisdiction over university employees, and two states’ laws providing
exceptions for university research employees to enter into contracts between
the University and employees.California did not respond to staff’s requests for
Vice Chair Akana inquired whether the Board wished to have its
concerns put in writing and formally communicated to the bill’s sponsors.Discussion ensued on how ethics became an
issue in the technology bill.Member
Yenson indicated that the Board will carry out any legislative changes should
the bill be signed into law.
Vice Chair Akana handed out an issue paper that framed the three
unanswered questions raised by the Board and the impact of the legislation on
the ethics law; (1)what is the problem
with the current ethics law, (2) why has the Board not been given the
opportunity address any ethics issues concerning the transfer of technology,
and (3) how can applying the ethics law to certain research employees result in
a consequence while the same behavior by research employees of universities may
not have the same consequences?The
Board reached consensus that Mr.Nakamura would prepare a letter to the Governor,
with the position paper attached, for Chair Zellinsky’s signature with all
Board members listed. The letter will indicate that if the legislation becomes
law,the Boardwants to be involved in reviewing
administrative processes proposed by universities prior to the Governor’s
Mr.Nakamura agreed to draft the letter and submit
the draft to Chair Zellinsky, Vice Chair Akana, and Member Scarbrough for their
review and comment. The expectation was
that the final letter be signed by Mr.Nakamura for Chair Zellinsky and sent to the
Governor by the middle of next week.
HB 1944 – allowing raffles conducted by
Mr.Nakamura indicated that the Board was asked
whether HB 1944 would create a conflict with an advisory opinion as the Board
determined that gambling, even if legal, could not be conducted by
employees.Vice Chair Akana said she had
analyzed the issue and found no conflict.The Board’s advisory opinion specifically addressed the personal profit
or gain to an individual not being allowed.However, the profit or gain on behalf of a charity as proposed by the
legislation would comport with the opinion that there be no personal profit or
gain from a legal activity to raise funds for charity.
HB 2089 – raise gift amount to $75.00
with $10 increase on even-numbered years
Mr.Nakamura indicated that the bill was amended to
eliminate the $10 increase.Ms.Moran indicated that it was her belief that
the Legislative Ethics Board allowed legislators to pay the difference between
the cost and the $50 allowed by law.There is no similar interpretation by this board and the Board indicated
it was not inclined to support such an interpretation.
HB 1051/SB 5046 – legislative ethics
board bills on terms and discretion to have certain matters investigated
The bills continue to be heard in legislative committee.
SB 6026 – allowing members of the EEB to
serve a second terms
The bill was moved to the rules committee.
Mr.Nakamura reported that BrianJensen at the Department of Information
Services had retrieved a copy of the agreement between the Attorney General’s
Office and DIS for development of the “ethics challenge.”The source document indicates that the Board
holds the license and is authorized to sublicense the program.Mr.Nakamura indicated he would get back to the
Seattle Ethics and Election Commission on their request to utilize the “ethics
3.King County Ethics Board and joint
The Board reviewed the events that transpired prior to the King
County Ethics Board’s recent request for an EEB member to participate in a
luncheon in May.Chair Zellinsky said he
would attend the luncheon on behalf of the Board.
Mr.Nakamura provided members with a copy of e-mail
messages from a current state employee who requested the Board’s approval of a
contract for employment.After
discussion, the Board approved the contract subject to compliance with the
conditions of RCW 42.52.080, employment after public service.The Board’s assumption that there is no
conflict of interest is based on reliance of documents as to accurate
representation that employee did not negotiate or participate in the contract;
there are documented qualifications; and the representation that a need for
contract services exists.
Linda Moran reported on her legal analysis of the steps to be
taken by the Board should the Executive Director, a Board investigator, a Board
prosecutor, the Board’s legal counsel, or a Board member recuse from a
complaint filed with the Board.
F.Public Comment/Board Member Comments
BrianJensen asked for clarification on the Board’s
earlier discussion about using state resources for training and education.Mr.Jensen wanted to know what the Board meant by
“job related” and whether the Board meant “official duties.”The Board said the correct term was “official
Vice Chair Akana distributed a copy of a draft memorandum of
agreement that she and Member Scarbrough provided to Chief of Staff MiltDoumit on the client services that the Board
receives from the Attorney General’s Office.Ms.Akana asked that comments on the agreement be
provided to her before the next regular meeting of the Board.
G.Executive or Closed Session
At the Board moved into Executive Session to receive and evaluate
complaints against public employees or officers with staff and Board counsel in
attendance.At the Board moved into closed session to discuss
with legal counsel matters relating to litigation or potential litigation to
which the Board is or is likely to become a party.
At the Board reconvened the public meeting.
announced its action on the following Stipulated Facts, Conclusions and Order:
1.EEB Case No.03-020
1.EEB Case No. 03-082 (Newcomb)
There being no miscellaneous matters, the meeting was adjourned at