EXECUTIVE ETHICS BOARD
REGULAR BOARD MEETING MINUTES
Executive Ethics Board convened in Regular Session at
the LeeAnn Miller AGO
1. PRELIMINARY BUSINESS
a: ROLL CALL
b: APPROVAL OF AGENDA
- issue regarding public
records request on
- under #4a - .180 instead of .160
- on 2nd page after e - SHS opinion request re post-state employment, some urgency, but due to the date received, no memo in packet…Bill can explain, but due to full agenda will leave up to Board to determine if time or not to review - will add if have time (new "f")
Agenda approved - Vache moved, Lim seconded
c: APPROVAL OF MINUTES FROM
Minutes approved with change. Lim moved, Vache seconded
Public Records Request
Bill Collins stated that on Wednesday (July 26, 2000), the AGO received a public records request (PRR) on the proposed stipulation and order regarding EEB Case #00-13 on item #2 of Agenda. Uncertain if Board's rules would or would not permit the AG to give out - is that rule valid? Board can't create exceptions to the public records law but can work within those exceptions. The law in question is
WAC 292-100-070 which provides:
(1) It is the policy of the board during the course of any investigation that all records generated or collected as a result of that investigation are exempt from public inspection and copying under RCW 42.17.310 (1)(d). The investigation is not considered complete until a case is resolved either by a stipulation and settlement that is signed by all parties; or, when the board enters a final order after a public hearing. If a public records request is made following a signed stipulation and settlement, or a final order for any such record which implicates the privacy of an individual, written notice of the records request will be provided to the individual in order that such individual may request a protective order from a court under RCW 42.17.330.
Investigation isn't complete until the case is resolved until either the board accepts a proposed stipulation or have hearing and stipulation entered as final order. There is an issue whether an S & O falls within the guidelines of investigative record as opposed to other kinds of investigative records that might be generated. There is also an issue on whether this kind of a stipulation would fall under other exceptions such as a work product exception or preliminary draft exception. At this point, since we received the request on Wednesday, I am not prepared to advise the Board about that. In response to the Olympian's request, I have suggested to them that I would ask the Board to essentially waive its ability to keep that document confidential, even if the rule does require it. Since it's going to be presented as item #2 on your agenda anyway, doesn't seem there would be damage to that. But I do think it fits the issue about how the public records law applies to the Board and this kind of document that something that we would need to take a careful look at to make sure the Boards needs and the spirit of the law is being observed. I would suggest that the Board authorize us to distribute the stipulation and move on to item #2 and that we take this issue up again.
Members discussed and agreed to waive confidentiality rule and made clear special circumstance. Also made clear that waiving confidentiality rule is not policy. Copies of the stipulation passed out to audience.
#2 - Stipulation and Order in 00-13
McCartan, introduced himself,
McCartan presented initial complaint
and then the stipulation and order. By
1) The letter had a clear political
purpose in supporting
2) The number of employees contacted about the letter, we believe 18 and
3) the fact
The Board can approve or reject or propose a modification to what have we worked out on the proposed settlement and I would be happy to answer any questions you might have.
Board to deliberate in Executive session before announcing decision
#3 - Report on search for a new executive secretary
Title changed from executive secretary to executive director and salary has been increased to $52,800 - $64,800. 24 applications - narrowed down to 7. Interviews around the week of the 21st and will take about two days
#4 - Requests for Advisory Opinions
a) Use of State Resources in a Political Campaign
indicated that facilities of an agency is defined as stationary, postage, equipment, machines, use of state employee's
of the agency during working hours, vehicles, office space, publications of the
agency, client service list served by the agency, but the language is
"including, but not limited to".
So, the person's title doesn't necessarily fall within these kinds of
things, but the Board can certainly as a policy matter can decide that a title
is a facility of the agency. The request
really has two components to it, one is could the person essentially use their
title? For example, could you on your
own computer, at night, not using state paper or facilities, write a letter to
the editor and sign it "
second issue arises if you were at home and wrote a letter to the editor and
just said "
discussed thoroughly and
#4 b) Private Use of State Resources - Combined
Collins presented a summary of a request for an opinion on whether it is a
violation of RCW 42.52.160 if an employee is using state resources including
their time, computer, paper, and other kind of facilities to do the work of the
combined fund drive in that particular agency.
Another approach to that is to say that it would be ok to the extent if agency management considers it to be something involved in the support of the organization like team or morale building. The Board has written an advisory opinion that has approved agencies doing things like bake sales to raise money for an adopt-a-family during the holidays as management as allowed for the Attorney General's Office. This arises out of concern from some agencies if they allow their employee's to do this that they would somehow be in violation of the ethics law. Agencies would have some ability to say that "we're a little busy and so we don't have time for an employee to spend time on the combined fund drive." That's not an ethics issue. That's an agency management issue and certainly this Board is not in a position to tell somebody that they have to do combined fund stuff. The question is if they do participate is that some kind of an ethics violation? Given the basis written in the statute and the regulations it seems it isn't and you could reach that conclusion in a couple of different ways.
Board accepted without objection
#4 c) Private
use of State Resources -
Members discussed and it is clear that a volunteer for the Program from another agency other than F/W that it's not part of their official duties. Then this would be an ethics violation unless an employee has the consent of it's employing agency's management.
Board agreed without objection
#4 d) Private Use of State Resources - Voluntary Benefits
Collins: - Provided background information regarding state employee's benefits and the opportunity to purchase additional private insurance.
The question is whether or not it's appropriate to use state facilities to market their products.
After review and discussion, the Board asked that more information be provided on the process on how the vendor that wants to market their products becomes approved before rendering a decision.
#4 e) Outside Compensation for Performing Official Duties - Tips
Board agrees to have the opinion that it's ok to receive tips but to write the opinion narrowly.
# 4 f) DSHS issue (added at the beginning of meeting)
Board declined to review due to the shortness of time
#4 g) (f on the agenda) Request for clarification of Opinion #00-03
Collins: - Provided background information on the opinion.
Suggested that the Board issues an addendum to correct misinformation so not to misconstrue and make clear that not DIS' responsibility.
for approval of
Board does not approve policy. Bill to do a letter indicating that "Plan B" of the policy is not approved.
#6 Contract Review - Womeldorff and Murhpy Contract
#7 Staff Report
Case # 99-16
Issue - Failure to disclose public records, pre-hearing conference on July 31st. Board can review the ALJ order after it's issued or set in on the hearing? Decided to review the order.
approval rule. Board delegated approval
EXECUTIVE SESSION began - ended at
announced that is accepted the