May 14, 1999


The Executive Ethics Board convened in Regular Session at 10:25 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. 



       Ms. Grimaldi requested the agenda be amended to include discussion of a request for an advisory opinion received from the Attorney General. 


       The agenda was approved as amended. 



Board member Foyd moved to approve the minutes of the April 9, 1999 meeting.  Vice Chair Rohret seconded the motion and the Board unanimously approved.



       a.  Draft Advisory Opinion 98-10 relating to receipt of door prizes.  Ms. Grimaldi briefed staff’s version of the revised draft advisory opinion.  She attempted to reconcile the positions of counsel and staff on the question of whether door prizes are gifts, giving weight to the Board’s view that a strict interpretation of RCW 42.52.150(1) would not serve the purposes of the ethics law in circumstances where a door prize is received under circumstances that are clearly unrelated to the performance of official duties, or to the fact that the recipient is a state employee. 

       Mr. Collins briefed an alternative draft advisory opinion.  Mr. Collins also noted the possibility that RCW 42.52.020 could limit the receipt of door prizes by certain state officers or state employees, if it was determined that acceptance conflicted with the performance of official duties.  Discussion followed.  Chair Lim stated that she was troubled by the use of state business cards to enter drawings.  Board member Basu agreed with Chair Lim, and also offered that any advisory opinion on door prizes should consider whether a state agency paid consideration for attendance at an event, and whether state time was used to attend.  Board members achieved consensus on key issues, including (1) if state employees pay to attend event and do so on their own time, then a door prize would belong to the state employee; (2) if the agency pays for attendance and/or state time is used to attend an event, then the agency determines disposition of a door prize; and, (3) state employees should not use state business cards or fill out forms to enter door prize contests.

       Public comments were made by Harvey Gertson, Lynn Hendrickson, Gail Swanson and Margaret Partlow.


       The consensus of the Board was to revise opinion and continue discussion at the June meeting. 


       b.  Draft Advisory Opinion 99-04 relating to the operation of a spouse’s business within a facility supervised by her husband.  Ms. Grimaldi briefed this revised draft advisory opinion, which incorporated restrictions under RCW 42.52.050 to the opinion and analysis sections.  The new additions are underlined.


       The Board unanimously approved Advisory Opinion 99-04 as revised.


       c.  [Amended Item] Office of the Attorney General.  Ms. Grimaldi reviewed the Attorney General’s request for an advisory opinion on whether the Attorney General may accept a cash award that accompanies her selection as the grand prize winner in the “Good Housekeeping Award for Women in Government Contest.”  Discussion followed. 

       Ms. Grimaldi requested comments from the Board members by the end of May, to provide a basis for a draft advisory opinion at the June meeting. 



       Ms. Grimaldi reviewed the Washington State Ferries Ethics Policy on Cellular Phone Use. 

She recommended approval of the policy with the addition of incorporating references to WAC 292-110-010(4), which prohibits certain uses of state resources.  Board member Gillie asked that special attention be paid to the restrictions on campaign use under RCW 42.52.180.  Board member Rohret expressed her disagreement with the conclusion that shore-based personnel were assigned to remote locations, and added that there should be no reimbursement policy for these employees.  Board members indicated their consensus with Ms. Rohret’s position.  Board member Basu added her concern that simply requiring people to log their calls on paper was not likely to be effective.  Instead, she suggested that WSF pursue the possibility of each crewmember receiving a unique number that is entered prior to a cell phone call.  In this way, accountability for personal calls would be ensured.  Public comment was made by Harvey Gertson.


       The Board’s consensus was that staff should send a letter to WSF outlining its concerns.


       Chair Lim called for a short recess at 12:00 p.m.  Board Member Gillie left the meeting.


       The meeting resumed at 12:11 p.m.


STAFF BRIEFING.  Ms. Grimaldi briefed on the following issues:

PDC Declaratory Ruling. On April 20th, the Public Disclosure Commission conducted a hearing on a petition by the University of Washington for declaratory opinions on three issues.  Two of these issues may bear some relevance to the gift limitations under RCW 42.52.140 and RCW 42.52.150, as the PDC decided that gift monies or discretionary funds did not constitute public funds for the purposes of RCW 42.17.190.  The PDC’s Declaratory Order is expected at the Commission’s meeting on June 29, 1999.  Staff proposed that further discussion on this issue be continued until the July 30th meeting.

Review of Legislative Amendments to Whistleblower Law. Senate Bill 2005 amended the state’s Whistleblower laws and provides a number of changes, including the establishment of criteria for evaluating complaints, improvement of due process for all parties to investigations, and the addition of clarifying definitions.  The amendments would also provide a one-year statute of limitations on asserted actions.  Ms. Grimaldi noted this limitation could impact the state’s ethics boards, which have a five-year statute of limitations, in that there may be a greater number of direct referrals from the State Auditor’s Office.

Washington State Ethics Conference. The 3rd annual state ethics conference will be held in Seattle at the Washington Convention and Trade Center on June 25, 1999.

Presentation by Michael Daigneault, President, Ethics Resource Center.  Ms. Grimaldi invited Board members and other interested parties to attend the June 1st meeting of the Puget Sound Network for Ethics Business Conduct, which will feature Michael Daigneault, President of the Ethics Resource Center, as it guest speaker.  Mr. Daigneault is a frequent speaker to legal, business, associations, nonprofit and government groups on the importance of ethics and virtues in the workplace and life.  The meeting is scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the 5th Floor Conference Room at the Bank of California Building, 900 Fourth Avenue, in Seattle. 


PUBLIC COMMENTS/BOARD COMMENTS.  There were no additional comments from the public or the Board Members. 


EXECUTIVE SESSION.  Chair Lim called the Board into Executive Session to discuss Board enforcement actions.  The Executive Session convened at 12:25 p.m. and ended at 12:35 p.m.  Mr. Collins stepped into the hall and ascertained that no one was waiting.


REGULAR MEETING, resumed.  The regular meeting resumed at 12:36 p.m., with further

discussion on the statute of limitations under the amended Whistleblower Law.


ADJOURNMENT.  The public meeting adjourned at 12:45 p.m.


                                                                         Approved by the Executive Ethics Board



                                                                         PATTI HURN, Executive Ethics Board Clerk


                                                                         Date:  _________________________________