Weekly Recap Ethics News and Trends – February 24, 2014

by Best Best & Krieger LLP
Contact

Public servants with the utmost integrity also need to be aware of what is happening ethically around the state. In today’s climate, every public agency’s image is impacted by the missteps or misconduct of others. Below you’ll find a sample of recent news stories about ethical principles, values, and ethics laws. One of the best practices available to all of us is to learn from the mistakes or stories of others.

Here is a sample of the stories from February 15th to February 21st:

PERKS/GIFTS/SALARIES/EXPENSES/PUBLIC RESOURCES

Tom Tait Contracts With OCTA; Should He Be on Its Board?

Adam Elmahrek, Voice of OC, February 19, 2014

Serious conflict of interest issues arise when a board member of a transportation authority receives financial benefits from his engineering firm’s contracts with the transportation authority. Under Government Code section 1090, public officials must disclose their financial interests and abstain from discussing or voting on new contracts from which they may receive financial gain. Public agencies may not enter into any such contract, and any contract signed by a public agency board in violation of Section 1090 is void.

Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait has drawn fire for serving on the Orange County Transportation Authority board of directors while his engineering firm is a contractor for the agency. A special countywide selection committee, on which Tait serves, voted to appoint him to the Transportation Authority’s board last November. The decision triggered political backlash from his critics, who pointed out that the Transportation Authority’s $330,144 contract with Tait Environmental Services for work on underground storage tanks presents a conflict of interest.

FPPC

California campaign finance reporting bills on verge of governor’s desk

Jeremy B. White, The Sacramento Bee, February 20, 2014

Campaign finance reform legislation specifically targeting politically active nonprofits may be approved by the Governor in time for this year’s election.

A pair of bills requiring greater transparency from electioneering nonprofits are one step away from Gov. Jerry Brown. Lawmakers have sought to fortify campaign spending rules since out-of-state nonprofit groups poured $11 million into the 2012 election cycle, a flexing of financial muscle that eventually earned the entities a $1 million California Fair Political Practices Commission fine.

Wayward lobbyist is part of the Capitol money machine

Dan Morain, The Sacramento Bee, February 16, 2014

Lobbyist Kevin Sloat, the latest Capitol insider to be outed by his own hubris, apparently thought he needed an edge, whether he did or not. A veteran of more than two decades in politics, Sloat built one of the most prominent lobby operations in town, not to mention a fancy Arden Arcade mansion, created to host lavish fundraisers for legislators and other high officials.

Settlement of lobbyist Kevin Sloat’s case falls short, key lawyer says

Patrick McGreevy and Paige St. John, Los Angeles Times, February 20, 2014

An attorney who aided an investigation that resulted in fines against lobbyist Kevin Sloat said the settlement of the matter approved Thursday by the state Fair Political Practices Commission falls short and fails to address some of the most serious allegations involving elected officials. “It’s not sufficient,” attorney Jesse Ortiz. “I think Mr. Sloat should be held accountable for all of his actions and not just some of them, which is what the FPPC decided to do.”

BROWN ACT

Acknowledge when a Brown Act violation occurs

Carol Feineman, Lincoln News Messenger, February 20, 2014

Brown Act violations are raised when 24 hours’ notice is provided that a city council meeting will be moved to a new location. The Brown Act requires meeting agendas be posted at least 72 hours before a regular meeting, and agendas must specify the time and location of the meeting. However, Government Code Section 54954(e) permits meetings to be held at another location if it is unsafe to meet in the regular meeting place. To do so, the presiding officer of the legislative body must designate the alternative meeting place in a notice to the local media by the most rapid means of communication available at the time.

Lincoln City Council and Lincoln city attorney Jon Hobbs owe resident Byron Chapman an apology. Chapman was treated appallingly at the Feb. 11 City Council meeting by the city representatives when he pointed out an alleged Brown Act violation. During the first part of the meeting, Chapman asked the councilmen if the meeting’s change of location that night from the McBean Park Pavilion to City Hall was properly disclosed, according to Brown Act code section 54954.2(a)(1).

 

 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Best Best & Krieger LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Best Best & Krieger LLP
Contact
more
less

Best Best & Krieger LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.
Feedback? Tell us what you think of the new jdsupra.com!