Regular Meeting Minutes
April 11, 2003 at 9:00 A. M.
2425 Bristol Ct SW
First Floor Conference Room 148
A. Preliminary Business
1. Roll Call - The meeting was called to order at 9:05 a.m. Present were Chair Jim Vaché, Vice-Chair Marilee Scarbrough, and Member Laquita Fields. Also in attendance: Executive Director, Brian Malarky; Board Counsel, Jean Wilkinson; Board Staff Counsel, Linda A. Dalton, Melanie deLeon, and Bob Hargreaves; Board Staff, Sue Jones and Debbie O’Dell.
2. Approval of Agenda - Motion was made, seconded and passed to approve the agenda.
3. Approval of February 14, 2003 Regular Meeting Minutes - Motion was made, seconded and passed to approve the February 14, 2003 minutes with minor changes.
B. Proposed Stipulations and Orders
1. EEB Case # 01-14 (VanderSluis), Proposed Stipulation and Order - Mr. Malarky briefed the Board members regarding this matter, the Board’s staff investigation found that Ms. VanderSluis used state provided e-mail to send personal e-mail messages, in a manner that exceeded the Board’s rules. The proposed stipulation and order imposes a civil penalty of one hundred and fifty dollars ($150.00) with one hundred and fifty dollars ($150.00) suspended; seventy-five dollar ($75.00) reimbursement to WSU; and seventy-five dollar ($75.00) reimbursement for investigative costs to the EEB.
Results: After considering the matter in closed session, the Board tabled their decision pending Board staff providing copies of the University’s investigation and recommendation.
2. EEB Case # 01-21 (Watterson), Proposed Stipulation and Order -Mr. Malarky briefed the Board members regarding this matter, which was referred by the State Auditor. The Board staff’s investigation found that Mr. Watterson used state provided access to the Internet for the purpose of trading and managing personal stocks. The proposed stipulation and order imposes a civil penalty of two hundred and fifty dollars ($500.00) with two hundred and fifty dollars ($250.00) suspended.
Results: After considering the matter in closed session, the Board accepted the stipulation and order as proposed.
3. EEB Case # 01-23/01-52 (Oertli), Proposed Stipulation and Order- Cliff Freed, Counsel to Gary Oertli, joined the meeting (via telephone). Ms. Dalton briefed the Board members regarding this matter, which was referred by the State Auditor. The Board’s staff preliminary investigation of this matter resulted in a reasonable cause finding that Mr. Oertli improperly participated in the formation, negotiation, and awarding of a several contracts with a private consultant with whom he had a personal and business relationship. Under the proposed stipulation and order, Mr. Oertli recognizes that if the facts regarding his involvement with e-Werkz contract and his acceptance of a sidelines pass were to be presented at a hearing before the Board, the Board would likely conclude that he violated the state ethics law, even if unintentionally. The proposed order imposes a civil penalty of thirty thousand dollars ($30,000.00) with twenty thousand dollars ($20,000.00) suspended and reimbursement of investigative costs in the amount of ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
Results: After considering the matter in closed session, the Board accepted the stipulation and order with modifications. The Board deleted paragraph number three on page eight which stated that "there are differences of opinion between Mr. Oertli and the Executive Ethics Board Staff regarding interpretation of the state ethics laws and whether Mr. Oertli violated such laws."
C. Advisory Opinions
1. Advice Request # 01-2-1221-247, Sale of Evaluation Textbooks - Mr. Malarky briefed the Board members regarding a reoccurring request from stakeholders regarding the re-sale of evaluation textbooks. After discussion, the Board asked the Executive Director to draft an advisory opinion for their review. After Board review of the draft, the opinion will then be distributed to stakeholders for their input.
D. Executive or Closed Session (and working lunch)
At 10:20 a.m., the Board moved into executive session to consider complaints against public officials and to discuss pending litigation with counsel. The Board, Board Counsel, Board Staff, and Staff Counsel attended the executive session. The Board then moved into closed session to deliberate quasi-judicial matters. The Board and Board counsel attended the closed session.
After reconvening the public session at 1:25 p.m., the Board members took the following actions:
(a) Tabled the proposed stipulation and order in EEB Case 01-14,
(b) Accepted the proposed stipulation and order in EEB Case 01-21, and
(c) Accepted the proposed stipulation and order with a modification in EEB Case 01- 23/01-50 and signed the appropriate documents.
In addition, the Board affirmed the Executive Director’s Dismissal of EEB Case 02-19 and signed a final order to that effect.
E. Policy Reviews and Contract Approval Requests
1. Policy Review Request 03-003, DSHS, "Use of Electronic Mail and the Internet" - Motion was made, seconded, and passed to approve this policy.
2. Policy Review Request 03-004, OSPI, "Electronic Mail Usage and Retention" - Motion was made, seconded, and passed to approve these policies.
3. Policy Review Request 03-005, DIS, "E-Mail Usage" - Motion was made, seconded, and passed to approve this policy.
4. Policy Review Request Mr. Malarky asked for an agenda item to be added regarding the Department of Health’s (DOH) amendment to their "Ethics" policy. In February, Board staff presented a DOH request that the Board review an amendment to an existing Board approved policy. Board members asked that DOH add language requiring permission from agency management whenever DOH employees want to use state resources while serving as unpaid, volunteer workers or board members for private organizations. The documents provided to the Board at that time did not show that this language was included in the original amendment. Board staff recommended that the Board approve the policy amendment retroactive to the February meeting. Motion was made, seconded, and passed to approve DOH’s amendment to their "Ethics" policy.
5. Contract Approval Request # 03-3-0310-005, (Riley) –Board members did not approve this request for approval of a group of similar contracts. Board members asked that the request be tabled pending Board staff’s research for additional information.
F. Staff Report
1. Proposed Legislation Update – Mr. Malarky briefed the Board members regarding pending legislation that may have an affect on the Ethics in Public Service Act.
2. Budget update - Mr. Malarky briefed the Board members regarding the status of the budget.
3. Case status update and review - The Board reviewed a graphic representation of the current case status, including pending cases.
4. Non-binding staff analysis – The Board had no comments regarding several non-binding staff analysis presented to the Board.
5. Training Report – Ms. O’Dell and Mr. Malarky updated the Board members regarding new training tools incorporated into Ethics training and proposed modifying training materials to include "remedies" for ethical dilemmas.
G. Public Comment/Board Member Comments
Brian Jensen from the Department of Information Services commented that the Board’s stipulation and orders are very helpful and that he shares the information with his agency. Mr. Jensen further commented that, at times, the stipulation and orders are vague and provide no clear direction regarding the violation, the frequency, and the resolution. Mr. Jensen indicated he would like to see more relevant facts placed elsewhere other than seeing them for the first time in summary or conclusion. Mr. Jensen also noted that he wasn’t certain if the facts are unique regarding the textbook sales issue. At his agency these books are viewed as state property and not belonging to an individual. He noted that if a secondary market wants to purchase the textbooks – whose property is it?
Ms. Wilkinson stated that colleges may be able to say textbooks submitted to faculty for evaluation belong to the college. However, collective bargaining agreements may have an impact. The draft opinion should include that employees can assume not their personal property.
Chair Vaché concurred with Mr. Jensen regarding truncated stipulation and orders and indicated he would also like to see more discussion regarding cases to the extent that this is possible.
H. Miscellaneous Matters/Adjournment
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 2:50 p.m.