March 12, 1999


The Executive Ethics Board convened in Regular Session at 10:21 a.m. at the Lee Ann Miller AGO Conference Center, 4224 6th Avenue SE, Building 1, Lacey, Washington 98504.


Present:               Janet Lim, Chair

Cheryl Rohret, Vice Chair

Gwendolyn Foyd, Board Member

Paul Gillie, Board Member

Sutapa Basu, Board Member


Also Present:       Meg Grimaldi, Executive Secretary

William Collins, Legal Counsel

Patti Hurn, EEB Clerk




       a.  ROLL CALL.  Chair Lim, Vice Chair Rohret, Board Members Gillie, Foyd and Basu were present.  Also present were Executive Secretary Meg Grimaldi; Counsel Bill Collins, and Board Clerk Patti Hurn.


       b.  APPROVAL OF AGENDA.  Ms. Grimaldi requested the addition of a request to modify settlement terms in EEB Case Nos. 97-17 and 97-26 be added as Agenda Item 4.  The Board accepted this addition to the agenda.


       c.  APPROVAL OF MINUTES FROM RULES HEARING AND REGULAR MEETING ON FEBRUARY 12, 1999.  Vice Chair Rohret moved to approve the minutes of the February 12, 1999 meeting.  Board Member Foyd seconded the motion and the Board unanimously approved.


2.    CONTRACT/OUTSIDE EMPLOYMENT–Schmidt/Contract with Clover Park Technical College.  Ms. Grimaldi reviewed the background and terms of a proposed contract between Roy Schmidt, an employee of the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, and Clover Park Technical College.  Ms. Grimaldi cited three ethics concerns:  (1) the opportunity for the contract appears to have arisen from Mr. Schmidt’s assignment to the college; (2) the college had moved forward with implementing the terms of the contract prior to EEB approval; and, (3) the intent to use a state agency to market the software program “Scheduler” for sale to other colleges for private benefit.


Mr. Schmidt provided the Board with information on his background and on his work with state agencies.  Mr. Schmidt acknowledged that his supervisor requested that he assist in resolving its software problems, and stated that the design is the most important part of his software program which was developed on his own time.  Discussion followed.  Ms. Foyd expressed concern that the contract/agreement resulted from Mr. Schmidt’s official responsibilities.  Ms. Lim noted that the college appeared to have created the situation by requesting work from Mr. Schmidt and allowing him to develop the program on his own time without additional compensation.  Ms. Basu questioned whether Mr. Schmidt’s work was any different than that of faculty members who retain rights to their work.  Ms. Grimaldi answered that there was a difference resulting from the definition of “official duty” under RCW 42.52.  Board Member Basu requested further discussion at the next meeting.  Chair Lim proposed that this matter be continued to the next meeting.  The Board agreed. 


3.         SETTLEMENTS.  Case No. 98-03.  Ms. Grimaldi reviewed the signed settlement for Case No. 98-03.  The Board agreed to deliberate in closed session.


4.         ADDED AGENDA ITEM.  Request to modify settlement in Case Nos. 97-17 & 97-26.  Ms. Jerri Thomas, Senior Counsel, Office of the Attorney General, reviewed Lieutenant Governor Owen’s request to delay payment of his settlement agreement until August 25, 1999.  The Board agreed to deliberate in closed session. 


STAFF BRIEFING.  Ms. Grimaldi updated the Board on upcoming events including the annual COGEL Conference where staff will moderate a panel discussion on public-private partnerships in Providence, Rhode Island; and the annual Washington State Ethics Conference scheduled to take place on June 25, 1999, at the WA Convention and Trade Center in Seattle.  Sessions include a mock ethics trial; updates on ethics and campaign finance issues; a discussion group for members of boards and commissions; and the latest developments on Internet, e-mail use and the law.  Other briefing items included:


       Ms. Grimaldi announced that the effective date for amended WAC 292-100, Procedural Rules is April 2, 1999.  Ms. Grimaldi also reviewed a quote from Washington Information Technology for the development of an interactive ethics game to be located on the Access Washington and EEB websites.  Estimated cost for development is $18,642.  Discussion followed.  Ms. Grimaldi recommended that work on the game be delayed until July due to budgetary constraints.


Ms. Grimaldi provided the Board with an update on the budget and discussed factors influencing over-expenditure, noting that 61% of the budget has been consumed by investigative and legal costs.  Ms. Grimaldi also discussed how the organization of staff support to the Board contributes to over expenditure.  She requested Board permission to pursue potential remedies with the Office of the Attorney General with the goal of implementing more effective control over EEB expenditures.  The Board agreed with staff’s request.


       Ms. Grimaldi announced the first meeting of an exploratory group of ethics advisors within state government.  Attendees identified a number of positive goals for the group, including building consistency in providing ethics guidance; the exchange of ideas through meetings and the establishment of an advisors listserv; and the ability to share training techniques, policies, and procedures.  A second meeting is scheduled for March 31st.  The first meeting had about 20 attendees representing 16 state agencies.  Ms. Grimaldi expressed her hope that future meetings will include representatives from other state agencies.

       Ms. Grimaldi solicited Board member comments and ideas for an agency retreat.  If members are interested, planning on a retreat could begin in April, with a retreat date to be set for this fall.  Ms. Grimaldi requested Board consideration for moving the July 9 meeting date to July 23rd or 30th. This would reduce the time between the July and September meetings.  Discussion followed.  A revised meeting date for July will be determined at the April meeting.


       Counsel Briefing.  Mr. Bill Collins briefed the Board on a meeting with the Governor’s Executive Cabinet.  Next he discussed a proposed amendment to SSB 5025, that would remove restrictions on the use of public resources for political campaigns during the period of signature gathering.  Discussion followed.  The Board asked Ms. Grimaldi to send a letter expressing its opposition to the proposed amendment, and asked her to sign the letter at the direction of the Board.  Mr. Collins also discussed a concern from the Attorney General’s Office that the words “constitutional and statutory responsibilities” under 42.52.180(d) are ambiguous.”


PUBLIC COMMENTS/BOARD COMMENTS.  Harvey Gertson and Wayne Donaldson, WSDOT, commented on the ethics issues involved with the Clover Park contract.  Mr. Donaldson recommended further research on state programs that reward state employees for suggestions that result in productivity improvements.  Steve Nelson, DIS, asked about the status of the advisory opinion dealing with door prizes.  Mr. Collins advised Mr. Nelson that the advisory opinion would be ready for the next meeting.


Chair Lim announced a short recess at 12:00 p.m., at which time Board Member Gillie left the meeting.


EXECUTIVE SESSION.  At 12:20 p.m., 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 1:00 p.m.  Mr. Collins entered the hallway at 1:00 p.m. to announce the close of the Executive Session and found no one waiting.  The Executive Session ended at 1:00 p.m. 


REGULAR MEETING, resumed.  The regular meeting resumed at 1:02 p.m.  The Board agreed to modify the proposed Stipulation and Order in EEB Case No. 98-03 to include the addition of the following language in section IV(2), “provided that Mr. Henderson complies with the terms of payment in paragraph IV(1).”  The Board agreed to revise the payment schedule in EEB Case Nos. 97-17 and 97-26, with payment due on June 25, 1999.


ADJOURNMENT.  The public meeting adjourned at 1:11 p.m.



                                                                         Approved by the Executive Ethics Board



                                                                         PATTI HURN, Executive Ethics Board Clerk


                                                                         Date:  _________________________________