WASHINGTON STATE

EXECUTIVE ETHICS BOARD

Via Zoom

March 12, 2021

Regular Meeting Minutes

 

A.    Preliminary Business

1.     Roll Call

The regular meeting of the Washington State Executive Ethics Board (Board) was called to order by Chair Battan at 9:02 a.m.In attendance were Vice Chair Gerri Davis and Members Anna Dudek Ross, Jan Jutte and Earl Key. Board staff in attendance included:Executive Director Kate Reynolds, Assistant Attorney General Chad Standifer, Assistant Attorney General Michelle Carr, Investigators David Killeen and Bobby Frye and Administrative Officer Ruthann Bryant.

 

Chair Battan welcomed new member Earl Key. Member Key is with the Washington State Department of Transportation where he serves as the Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity.

 

2.     Approval of Agenda

Motion 21-022 Moved by Vice Chair Davis, seconded by Member Jutte:

 

The Board approved the March 12, 2021 agenda as presented.

 

The motion passed unanimously.

 

3.     Approval of the January 8, 2021 Meeting Minutes

 

Motion 21-023 Moved by Member Jutte, seconded by Vice Chair Davis:

 

The Board approved the January 8, 2021 minutes as presented.

 

Voting For: Chair Battan, Vice Chair Davis and Members Dudek Ross and Jutte.

Not Voting: Member Key.

 

The motion passed.

 

B.    Enforcement Matters

Stipulations

EEB Case 2020-029 (Merrill)

Senior Investigator David Killeen briefed the Board on a proposed stipulation and order in the matter of Tamela Merrill, Secretary Senior with the Department of Corrections. Ms. Merrill agreed that she may have violated the Ethics in Public Service Act by using state resources for private benefit and gain. Evidence indicated that Ms. Merrill spent 128.2 hours on non-work related internet browsing over a four-month period. The stipulation imposes a civil penalty of $2,500 with $1,000 suspended.

 

EEB Case 2020-013 (Garrett)

Investigator Bobby Frye briefed the Board on a proposed stipulation and order in the matter of Deitra Garrett, a Work Source Specialist with the Employment Security Department. Ms Garrett agreed that she may have violated the Ethics in Public Service Act by using state resources for private benefit and gain and for using state resources to support her outside employment with Instacart. The stipulation imposes a civil penalty of $3,000 with $500 suspended.

 

EEB Case 2020-061 (Minor)

Investigator Bobby Frye also briefed the Board on a proposed stipulation and order in the matter of Travis Minor, Counselor with the Department of Corrections. Mr. Minor agreed that he may have violated the Ethics in Public Service Act by using state resources for private benefit or gain and accessing confidential information for non-work related purposes. Evidence indicated that Mr. Minor accessed two different databases to look up information on non-offenders. The Board levied a civil penalty of $2,000 with $1,000 suspended.

 

Executive Director Dismissal

Kate Reynolds summarized an Executive Director Dismissal in the matter of EEB Case 2020-044 Jodi Douglas.

 

The Board deferred action on the enforcement matters until after their closed session.

 

D.    Reasonable Cause Form Discussion

Kate Reynolds briefly discussed draft changes to the Reasonable Cause Determination form to reflect two options instead of three.She added that proposed rule changes will clarify the change and the draft rule will be brought to the Board at their May meeting.

E.    Advisory Opinion Review

Kate Reynolds reported on an Advisory Opinion (AO) review project and presented a group AOs related to the Use of State Resources for the Boardís review.

 

Motion 21-024 Moved by Member Jutte, seconded by Vice Chair Davis:

 

The Board approved updates to the following Advisory Opinions:

 

       Advisory Opinion 96-03: Wellness Program

       Advisory Opinion 00-09: Combined fund drive activities

       Advisory Opinion 00-10: Emails

       Advisory Opinion 02-01: Use of state facilities to conduct union business

       Advisory Opinion 02-05: Use of state facilities to gamble

       Advisory Opinion 03-01: Accessing state retirement account/state provided benefits

       Advisory Opinion 03-03: Frequent flyer miles

       Advisory Opinion 03-04: Selling complimentary text books

       Advisory Opinion 04-02: Participating in creation or review of articles to be used to promote commercial products

       Advisory Opinion 08-01: Authorizing wellness organizations to sell products

       Advisory Opinion 08-02: Ferry passes

       Advisory Opinion 09-05: Gift of employee time

       Advisory Opinion 10-01: Use of resources for wellness program

       Advisory Opinion 10-02: Wearing uniforms at charitable events

 

The motion passed unanimously.

 

F.    Policy Review

Ruthann Bryant presented the Office of the Attorney Generalís Pro Bono Activities Policy, noting that it was previously approved by the Board in July, 2006.Ms. Bryant reported that the policy allows for limited use of the online legal research tool, Westlaw, under certain circumstances. She recommended approval.

Motion 21-025 Moved by Vice Chair Davis, seconded by Member Jutte:

 

The Board approved the Office of the Attorney Generalís Pro Bono Activities policy as presented.

 

The motion passed unanimously.

 

 

F.    Staff Reports

Executive Director Kate Reynolds provided a brief update on Legislation that may have an impact on the Ethics in Public Service Act.

Ruthann Bryant reported that after working in collaboration with the Department of Enterprise Services on updating Ethics in Public Service Training, the new training launched on February 8th. Board staff has received favorable comments on the latest version.Ms. Bryant also reported that the Annual Report has been completed and posted to the website.She noted that there had been an increase in requests for virtual trainings over the last year during remote working and staff trained over 1,500 state employees.

No other staff reports were given.

G.   Public Comment/Board Member Comment

Lynn Hendrickson with the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals, commented that she had taken the new Ethics in Public Service training and really enjoyed it. She appreciated that it provides the opportunity throughout the training to go back and review the laws and rules and commended staff on their work in putting it together.

H.    Closed Session

At 9:43 a.m. the Board moved into Closed Session.

At 11:20 a.m. the Board returned to regular session and reported the following:

 

Motion 21-026 Moved by Vice Chair Davis, seconded by Member Jutte:

 

The Board approved the Stipulated Facts, Conclusions of Law and Agreed Order imposing a civil penalty of $2,500 with $1,000 suspended in EEB Case 2020-029 Tamela Merrill.

 

The motion passed unanimously.

 

Motion 21-027 Moved by Member Jutte, seconded by Chair Battan:

 

The Board approved the Stipulated Facts, Conclusions of Law and Agreed Order imposing a civil penalty of $3,000 with $500 suspended in EEB Case 2020-013 Deitra Garrett.

 

The motion passed unanimously.

 

Motion 21-028 Moved by Vice Chair Davis, seconded by Member Jutte:

 

The Board approved the Stipulated Facts, Conclusions of Law and Agreed Order imposing a civil penalty of $2,000 with $1,000 suspended in EEB Case 2020-061 Travis Minor.

 

The motion passed unanimously.

 

Motion 21-029 Moved by Member Dudek Ross, seconded by Vice Chair Davis:

 

The Board found Reasonable Cause over $500 in EEB Case 2020-034 Robert Woodard.

 

The motion passed unanimously.

 

Motion 21-030 Moved by Member Dudek Ross, seconded by Vice Chair Davis:

 

The Board found Reasonable Cause over $500 in EEB Case 2020-046 Maria McBride.

 

The motion passed unanimously.

 

Motion 21-031 Moved by Chair Battan, seconded by Vice Chair Davis:

 

The Board determined that the complaint is obviously unfounded or frivolous and dismisses EEB Case 2020-049 Hilary Franz.

 

The motion passed unanimously.

 

Motion 21-031 Moved by Vice Chair Davis, seconded by Chair Battan:

 

The Board found Reasonable Cause over $500 in EEB Case 2020-051 Laura Ruge.

 

The motion passed unanimously.

 

Motion 21-032 Moved by Member Jutte, seconded by Chair Battan:

 

The Board determined that the complaint is obviously unfounded or frivolous and dismisses EEB Case 2020-052 Tony Leonetti.

 

The motion passed unanimously.

 

Motion 21-033 Moved by Vice Chair Davis, seconded by Member Dudek Ross:

 

The Board found Reasonable Cause over $500 in EEB Case 2020-057 Terrence Renwick.

 

Voting For: Chair Battan, Vice Chair Davis and Members Dudek Ross and Jutte.

Not Voting: Member Key.

 

The motion passed.

 

Motion 21-034 Moved by Chair Battan, seconded by Vice Chair Davis:

 

The Board found Reasonable Cause over $500 in EEB Case 2020-059 Sandra Bigelow.

 

The motion passed unanimously.

 

Motion 21-035 Moved by Member Jutte, seconded by Vice Chair Davis:

 

The Board determined that the complaint is obviously unfounded or frivolous and dismisses EEB Case 2020-060 Levi Dean.

 

The motion passed unanimously.

 

Motion 21-036 Moved by Chair Battan, seconded by Vice Chair Davis:

 

The Board found Reasonable Cause over $500 in EEB Case 2020-064 Lisa Cutler.

 

Motion passed unanimously.

 

Motion 21-037 Moved by Member Jutte, seconded by Chair Battan:

 

The Board found Reasonable Cause over $500 in EEB Case 2020-067 Edwardo Meza-Diaz.

 

Motion passed unanimously.

 

Motion 21-038 Moved by Member Jutte, seconded by Vice Chair Davis:

 

The Board issued an Order of Default in EEB Case 2018-053 Jennifer Smith.

 

The motion passed unanimously.

 

Motion 21-039 Moved by Member Jutte, seconded by Chair Battan:

 

The Board issued an Order of Default in EEB Case 2020-010 Alyssa Fobes.

 

The motion passed unanimously.

 

Motion 21-040 Moved by Member Dudek Ross, seconded by Chair Battan:

 

The Board issued a Final Order of Default in EEB Case 2020-011 Jodi Russell.

 

The motion passed unanimously.

 

Motion 21-041 Moved by Member Dudek Ross, seconded by Vice Chair Davis:

 

The Board issued a Final Order of Default in EEB Case 2020-025 Andrew Braddock.

 

The motion passed unanimously.

 

Motion 21-042 Moved by Member Dudek Ross, seconded by Member Jutte:

 

The Board issued a Final Order of Default in EEB Case 2020-030 Jessica Burris.

 

The motion passed unanimously.

 

 

I.       Miscellaneous Matters/Adjournment

There were no miscellaneous matters and the meeting was adjourned at 11:35 a.m.

Approved by the Board 5/14/2021