Lacey Community Center, Woodland Creek Community Park, 6729 Pacific Ave., SE, Lacey WA


July 11, 2008

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 Judy Golberg at 8:05 a.m.  In attendance were Vice Chair Neil Gorrell and Members Evelyn Yenson, Linnaea Jablonski and Mike Connelly. Board staff in attendance included:  Executive Director Melanie de Leon, Senior Assistant Attorney General Linda Dalton, Assistant Attorney General Mickey Newberry, Senior Counsel Jerry Anderson, Administrative Officer Ruthann Bryant and Investigator Sue Jones. 


2.    Approval of Agenda

Melanie de Leon noted that a revised agenda has been added to the additional meeting materials folder.  The changes made included the removal of approval of the June 13, 2008 meeting minutes and added an enforcement matter, review and approval of stipulation in EEB Case # 08-017.


Motion 08-030 Moved by Member Jablonski, seconded by Vice Chair Gorrell:


The Board approves the July 11, 2008 agenda as amended.


The motion passed unanimously.


B.   Public Comment/Board Member Comments

         No public or board member comments were expressed.


C.   Enforcement Matter

         Approval of Stipulated Facts, Conclusion and Orders

            EEB Case No. 08-017 (Daniel Vicente)

Sue Jones briefed the Board on the proposed stipulation and order. Mr. Vicente agreed that he violated RCW 42.52.160 when he used his state SCAN access and state issued cellular telephone to make personal calls and pursue personal interests. The parties agreed that Mr. Vicente would pay a civil penalty of $500 with $250 suspended.


The Board’s deliberation on the proposed stipulations was deferred until closed session.


D.  Executive or Closed Session

At approximately 8:12 a.m. Chair Golberg noted there were no executive session items and the Board moved into Closed Session to discuss potential litigation, deliberate and to receive and evaluate complaints against state employees and officers. 

      At 8:30 a.m. the Board returned to regular session and reported the following:


Motion 08-031 Moved by Vice Chair Gorrell, seconded by Member Connelly:


The Board accepts the Stipulated Facts, Conclusions and Order in EEB Case #08-017, Daniel Vicente, as presented.


The motion passed unanimously.


Motion 08-032 Moved by Vice Chair Gorrell, seconded by Member Jablonski:


The Board denies the Request for Review of Executive Director Dismissal in EEB Case #08-015, Robert Van Schoorl.


The motion passed unanimously.


Motion 08-033 Moved by Vice Chair Gorrell, seconded by Member Connelly:


The Board denies the Request for Review of Executive Director Dismissals in EEB Case #08-111, Martinique Combs, EEB Case #08-112, Joe Fithian, EEB Case #08-113, B. Jean Floten, EEB Case # 08-114, Todd Juvrud, EEB Case 08-115, Kyra Olsen, EEB Case #08-116, Laura Saunders and EEB Case 08-117, Lucinda Taylor.


The motion passed unanimously.


E.   Advisory Opinion Request

WA State Department of Transportation – Collective Bargaining Participants. Melanie de Leon briefly updated the Board on a request for a formal advisory opinion from the Department of Transportation (DOT) asking if a manager, as part of the state’s bargaining team, may propose language during collective bargaining that may benefit himself or herself, his or her spouse, or child. DOT also asked if a manager, who on approved withdrawal from a union after accepting a management position, may be a part of the state’s bargaining team with that union when that manager may receive a benefit for himself or herself, his or her spouse, or child because the member has the right to voluntarily revert back to a represented position and receive benefits previously negotiated.  The questions were first discussed at the Board’s June 13th meeting and Ms. de Leon presented a memo that outlines the collective bargaining process and legal analysis clarifying that no violation of RCW 42.52.070, Special Privileges, exists.


The Board requested that the memo be converted into an Advisory Opinion for review at the September 12th meeting.


F.     Rule Discussion

   WAC 292-110-010 – Use of State Resources

Ms. de Leon reported on further research regarding WAC 292-110-010 Use of State Resources. She noted that staff has been receiving a lot of questions from ethics advisors regarding Internet use and whether such use is permissible as long as it follows the de minimis standard outlined in WAC 292-110-010(6). 


Historically, staff advice and prior enforcement actions have found this type of behavior unacceptable. However, when the rule was adopted computers were not as accessible or as common as they are today and staff believes it is important that the Board update the rule to better coincide with the current use of technology and to clarify what uses are and are not permitted.


Ms. de Leon provided written comments from agency ethics advisors as well as examples of de minimis use policies from Indiana, the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission and King County Board of Ethics.


Greg Gurske, Department of Licensing Ethics Advisor, commented that he appreciates an attempt to clarify the rule and added that a more proactive approach is needed.


Marie Steffen, Ethics Advisor from the Department of Transportation, stated that a “single use daily” creates confusion among employees, resulting in more problems for agencies. She also requested that examples be left out of the WAC and added to an advisory opinion.


Brian Jensen feels the rule needs a substantial rewrite and not just minor amendments.


After discussion, the Board directed staff to draft options for language for review at the September meeting.


G.   Discussion Items

1.    Ms. De Leon summarized a request by the Combined Fund Drive (CFD) asking for clarification regarding the use of state resources to promote or support agency participation in a commercial activity that benefits the CFD.  She provided background on applicable statutes and prior advisory opinions dealing with CFD issues.

Randy Ryan, CFD Program Manager, provided background and discussed past advice received from the Board.

The Board requested that staff research the legislative intent behind granting the CFD the authority to engage in or encourage fund raising activities.


2.    Ms. de Leon also discussed whether agencies have the authority to contract with a paid speaker to allow that speaker to bring and sell items, such as books and CDs, to the audience.

Following discussion, the Board requested further information on other types of contracts where items are sold such as vending machines, ATM machines and the Red Cross.


3.    Senior Counsel Jerry Anderson briefly discussed the differences between Closed Session and Executive Session, when they are used and how they should be placed on the agenda.


H.   Strategic Planning Session

The Board members and staff devoted the afternoon to revisiting the agency’s strategic plan. Senior Assistant Attorney General Linda Dalton facilitated the planning session which focused on progress over the prior year and modifying the mission, goals, objectives, opportunities and challenges.


I.   Miscellaneous Matters/Adjournment

There being no miscellaneous matters, the meeting was adjourned at 3:30 p.m.


Approved by the Board 9/12/08