The Executive Ethics Board convened in Regular Session at at the Office of the Attorney
General, HighwaysLicensesBuilding, 1125
Washington Street SE, 7th Floor,
Conference Room 742, Olympia,
CherylRohret, Vice Chair
GwendolynFoyd, Board Member
PaulGillie, Board Member
Also Present:MegGrimaldi, Executive Secretary
WilliamCollins, Legal Counsel
PattiHurn, EEB Clerk
1. PRELIMINARY BUSINESS
Chair Lim, Vice Chair Rohret, Board
Members Gillie and Foyd were present.Board Member Basu was excused due to illness.Also present were Executive Secretary Meg
Grimaldi; Counsel BillCollins,
and Board Clerk Patti Hurn.
b.APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Board Member Foyd moved to
approve the agenda with the State Auditor’s request legislation to be added
under the staff briefing section.Vice
Chair Rohret seconded the motion and the Board unanimously approved the agenda
c.APPROVAL OF MINUTES
FROM RULES HEARING AND REGULAR MEETING ON JANUARY 8, 1999
Vice Chair Rohret moved to
approve the January 8, 1999
meeting minutes with one minor correction on page 2, last line.This should read “
complainants” not “complaints.”Board Member Foyd seconded the motion and the Board unanimously
Public Hearing - WAC 292-100 - Amended
The rules hearing was continued
from the January 8, 1999 meeting, to discuss the Washington Federation of State
Employees’ concerns that a union representative should be allowed to represent
the respondent in proceedings before the Board.Ms.Grimaldi
indicated that she had reached agreement with BevHermanson, Director of Legislative and
Political Action with the Federation,
on the following language:“Party”
includes the board staff and the respondent.The respondent may be represented by his or her counsel or exclusive
bargaining representative.Ms.Grimaldi explained that this language would
ensure that members of a collective bargaining unit would be represented by a
person who is recognized by the union to perform representational functions,
e.g., shop steward or an area representative.
Ms.Hermanson and Ms.JerriThomas, SeniorCounsel, were available to address the
Ms. Thomas expressed investigative
concerns about the presence of an exclusive bargaining representative,
namely:(1) the integrity of the
investigation could be compromised because a union representatives is not bound
by the privilege that is recognized for attorneys who represent clients; (2) a
respondent may be less candid in the presence of a union representative,
especially if the respondent has knowledge of other ethical violations; and,
(3) that the extension of representational functions to ethics proceedings
creates the appearance that the Board is operating as an arm of management when
in fact the Board is separate and distinct from management, and that there is
no collective bargaining agreement with the Board.
Ms.Hermanson responded that the Union
representatives are under a confidentiality policy.
Gillie had concerns about complaint procedures. 1)The legal assumption underlying the
complaint.2)The level of evidence to overcome presumption
of innocence.3)If the person is an elected official, assume
that they have all of the rights under the constitution, just like everyone
else.Mr.Collins responded to Board Member Gillie’s
questions, and explained burden of proof and presumption of innocence.Discussion continued.There were no further public comments.
read the following proposed language for WAC 292-100-007(4):“Party” includes the board staff, and the
respondent.The respondent may be
represented in any matter filed under RCW 42.52, by an attorney or an exclusive
bargaining representative.If the
respondent is represented by a person who is not an attorney, the
representation shall conform to the standards of ethical conduct required of
attorneys before the Courts of the State of Washington.”Ms.Hermanson
indicated agreement with the proposed language.
Foyd moved to amend the rules as read into the record by Mr.Collins.Vice Chair Rohret seconded the motion and the
Board unanimously agreed..
Chair Lim reiterated that the Board
was allowing representation by an exclusive bargaining
representative solely at its own
discretion and that the Board expected that all representatives would conduct
themselves in accordance with WAC 292-100 or representational functions could
be withdrawn by the Board.Ms.Lim also noted the absence of an employer
relationship between the Board and respondents in ethics complaints.
Vice Chair Rohret moved to adopt
the rules as amended.Board Member Foyd
secondedthe motion.The Board unanimously agreed.
3.REQUESTS FOR ADVISORY OPINIONS
Board/Receipt of Door Prizes.Mr.Collins stated the revised draft would be
available for the next meeting.The
Board consented to table discussion until March.
b.WashingtonStateSchool Directors’ Association - PoliticalActivities.Based on comments and concerns raised by the
WSSDA at the January Board meeting, Ms.Grimaldi
reviewed a revised draft opinion.These
revisions interpreted“normal and
regular conduct” under RCW 42.52.180(2)(c) to allow the WSSDA Board to take a
position on a ballot proposition when the measure clearly relates to education
policy or the management of the state’s school districts, provided there is no
expenditure of public funds to promote or oppose such a proposition.The WSSDA Board could also provide general
and factual information to its members on the possible impact of education
related ballot propositions. Discussion followed.Ms. Lorraine Wilson expressed WSSDA’s
agreement with the revised draft opinion.
Gillie moved to approve the advisory opinion as drafted.Board Member Foyd seconded the motion.The Board unanimously approved.
a. Department of Financial Institutions Ethics
Policies.Ms.Grimaldi reviewed Policy 101,
Agency Ethical Standards, and expressed concerns in three
areas:1) identifying potential conflict
of interest; 2) purchasing or selling securities; and ,
3) reporting of violations.At the
conclusion of her review, Ms. Grimaldi recommended the Board consider whether a
department head may waive potential ethics violations, and whether there is any
circumstance under which a state officer or state employee should benefit from
followed.Chair Lim noted the policy was
ambiguous in areas, and that employees should be reminded that a waiver of a
conflict of interest could still result in a violation of the ethics law.
Board Member Gillie
moved to approve this policy.This
motion died for lack of a second.
Ms.Grimaldi reviewed the Department of
Financial Institutions policy authorizing cellular phones.Specific concerns were raised in subsections
6 and 7, which allowed employees to pre-pay the department for the personal use
of office-owned equipment, including personal cellular phone use.Ms. Grimaldi briefed that such provisions may
violate WAC 292-110-010(3)(a) which allows the
occasional but limited use of state resources only if there is “no cost to the
state;” and, WAC 292-110-010(6) which prohibits state officers and state
employees from making private use of state resources and then reimbursing the
agency so there is no actual cost to the state.Ms.Grimaldi
recommended that the Board consider pre-payment for the personal use of state
equipment as inconsistent with RCW 42.52.160(1) and the intent of WAC
of the Board was to agree with staff recommendations on both policies.The
Board directed staff to forward a letter citing concerns
with conflict of interest waivers and recommending that prepayment for personal
use of cellular phones and other state resources be deleted from the proposed
policy.Board Member Gillie commended
individual agency efforts to craft meaningful ethics policies, and requested
this be mentioned in the letter.
b. ShorelineCommunity College Ethics Policy.Ms.Grimaldi reviewed the proposed policy
on standards of ethical conduct for
its officers and employees, and recommended approval.Discussion followed.
of the Board was to approve this policy as proposed.
1001/SB 5025:Ms.Grimaldi reported concerns raised by
witnesses before the SenateState
and Local Government Committee on SB 5025.Among these were:1)Why change “alleged
facts” to “allegations” under 42.52.420?2)The imposition of time limits
on the conduct of investigations, with specific reference to the Executive
Ethics Board.3)Concern about granting staff the power to
dismiss complaints.4)The PDC should retain jurisdiction over
allegations that state officers or state employees misuse of state resources to
oppose or promote an initiative to the legislature; and, 5)What would be the Board’s standard for
review of staff dismissals?Discussion
Ms.Grimaldi reviewed criteria on complaint
dismissal by staff.Staff’s dismissal of
complaint would be for the following reasons:non-jurisdiction, no evidence found to substantiate complaint, or that a
violation was inadvertent and minor or had been cured.The Board discussed different options for
ensuring oversight for staff dismissals.
Request Legislation:MsGrimaldi reviewed State Auditor request
legislation to amend RCW 42.40 and establish a review panel to include a member
of the EEB for the purposes of reviewing preliminary investigations of
anonymous complaints and determining whether further investigation should
reviewed potential problems posed by the legislation, including the possibility
that participation on the SAO review panel could result in the recusal of a
participating board member if an EEB investigation were to arise from the same
of the Board was for staff to draft a letter for the Chair’s signature
regarding opposition to this legislation.This letter would be sent to the State Auditor, and the Legislative
Committee.The Board also requested copies of the letter
be sent to them.
report that she met with the Attorney General’s Office on funding for the Board
and two significant problems were identified:1) current funding levels are insufficient to cover on-going program
needs during this fiscal year; and 2) there has been little support for
increased funding for the EEB.Ms.Grimaldi provided copies of a one-page
status sheet of Board activities and a memorandum sent to the AttorneyGeneral’s
Office in support of additional funding.Ms.Grimaldi
also discussed factors impacting the EEB budget.Discussion followed.
of the Board was for staff to draft a letter for the Chair’s signature
regarding this issue.This letter
would be sent to the House and Senate Ways & Means Committees and the
Governor.The Board also requested that
a copy of the status sheet and memorandum to the Attorney General’s Office be
with the WA Federation of State Employees commented on his organization’s
concern about more ethics training for Federation Members, and increased
training was also likely to have a budget impact for the Board.
Chair Lim called for a short recess
at , at which time Board
Member Gillie left the meeting.
At , Chair Lim announced that the Executive Ethics Board would go
into Executive Session for the purpose of receiving and evaluating complaints
against public officers or employees.Ms.Lim estimated that the session would last
until approximately Mr.Collins
entered the hallway at to
announce the close of the Executive Session and found no one waiting.The Executive Session ended at
The regular meeting resumed at No further items were discussed.