Schmidt Mansion - 330 Schmidt Place SWOlympia, WA


Regular Meeting

Board Retreat Minutes

July 8, 2005


A.     Preliminary Business

1.      Roll Call

The regular meeting of the Washington State Executive Ethics Board (EEB) was called to order by Chair Paul Zellinsky at 9:00 a.m.  Also present were Vice Chair Trish Akana, and Members Marilee Scarbrough, Judy Golberg and Evelyn Yenson.  Board staff in attendance included:  Executive Director Susan Harris, Senior Assistant Attorney General Linda Moran, Assistant Attorney General Mike Tribble and Administrative Officer Ruthann Bryant.


2.      Approval of Agenda


Motion 06-001   Moved by Chair Zellinsky, seconded by Vice Chair Akana:


The Board approves the July 8, 2005 agenda as written.


The motion passed unanimously.


3.      Approval of June 10, 2005 Minutes


Vice Chair Akana noted that the minutes need to reflect that the Board upheld the Executive Director’s dismissal in EEB Case 01-099.


Motion 06-002  Moved by Vice Chair Akana, seconded by Member Scarbrough:


The Board approves the June 10, 2005 minutes as amended.


The motion passed unanimously.


B.    Proposed Stipulation and Orders

1.      EEB Case No. 02-012 (Leggett)

Ms. Harris briefed the Board on the proposed stipulation and order.  Ms. Leggett agreed that she violated RCW 42.52.160 when she used the state telephone system to make personal telephone calls, used her state computer to visit internet sites that were not work related and sent numerous personal email messages. In addition, Ms. Leggett requested her staff perform personal errands and accompany her to places of personal interest. The Board’s deliberation on the proposal was deferred until closed session.


C.    Executive or Closed Session

At 9:15 a.m. the Board moved into Closed Session to deliberate on the proposed stipulation. At 9:25 a.m. the Board came back into regular session and announced it had accepted the stipulation in its entirety in the Leggett matter.


D.    Review of Strategic Plan, Goals and Objectives

The Board members and staff devoted two and a half hours to revising the agency’s strategic plan. The planning session focused on examining the Board’s mission and vision statements and modifying the goals, objectives, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges.


E.     Education and Training Plan

Ms. Harris summarized a plan for implementing a “train the trainer” program designed to provide agency directors or appointees with the tools necessary to enable them to train employees in their own agency. She also discussed starting an ethics advisors group for small agencies.


The Board requested that staff research other states training tools to expand outreach. 


F.     Legislative Plan

            Ms. Harris provided the Board with a draft of RCW 42.52.380 with changes to reflect the Board’s desire to be permitted to lobby the legislature and the executive branch of government. The Board requested that for clarification the language under (1)(d) be changed to “lobby or control, direct, or assist a lobbyist except that a member or the staff of the board may lobby to the limited extent permitted by RCW 42.17.190 on matters related to the board or this chapter.

            She presented a draft amendment to WAC 292-100-107 which defines “lobbying” for the purposes of 42.52.380 and draft amendment to WAC 292-130-030, Operations and procedures, to incorporate the date and location of regular scheduled meetings. The Board concurred with the proposed rule changes.

            Ms. Harris also discussed potential legislation to change the State Auditor’s statute regarding whistleblower investigations that are referred to the EEB for possible action. The Board directed staff to invite a spokesman from the State Auditor’s Office to a future meeting to discuss the current process and options for streamlining that process.

            Chair Zellinsky and Susan Harris will schedule a meeting with Milt Doumit and Hunter Goodman to discuss the Attorney General’s legislative agenda for next session.     


G.    Executive Director Dismissals

Ms. Harris reported on new legislation which gives the Board the ability to dismiss complaints. In the past, only the Executive Director had the authority to dismiss, but any Board member could ask for a review of the dismissal. A draft policy was presented outlining what types of complaints may be dismissed by the Executive Director and those that may be dismissed by the Board. The Board removed the second sentence of the fourth paragraph and accepted the policy with the amendment.

H.    Prioritization of Investigations

Ms. Harris summarized the results of a review of pending cases and discussed a plan for prioritizing the cases by what appears to be the extent of injury to the state. The Board also discussed adding cases over 2 years old to the Level one tier and approved the plan as amended.

I.        Development of Penalty Schedules

Ms. Harris also presented a draft penalty schedule for staff to use in settlements and for the Board to use when deciding to accept a settlement or when hearing a case and determining an appropriate penalty. She noted that a penalty schedule would help provide a consistent approach to enforcement. The Board amended the amounts in the penalty column and revised the heading to read “Minimum Penalty” and approved the schedule.

J.      Executive Session Procedures

Senior Assistant Attorney General Linda Moran discussed Member’s policies relating to Executive Sessions and Closed Sessions. The Board requested clarification on the circumstances for each session and further discussion on the policies will be scheduled at the September 9th meeting.

K.    Miscellaneous Matters/Adjournment

Ms. Harris discussed the COGEL conference being held December 4-7 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Board approved Members Judy Golberg and Evelyn Yenson and staff Susan Harris and Sue Jones to attend the conference. The meeting was adjourned at 2:55 p.m.