To better address potential ethical violations, the district should implement by June 2016 a means for investigating board members' and staff's potential violations of the district's code of conduct and conflict-of-interest code that would insulate those investigations from undue influence from either the board or the general manager.
On January 25, 2016, the Board of Directors adopted revisions to the Administration & Ethics Committee Policy (Administrative Code Part 3, Chapter 9, Article 1, Section 1.4) which addresses a process for handling potential ethical violations of the District's code of conduct and conflict of interest code. The revisions consist of the following: 1) Language to provide clarity on the roles of the Committee members, staff and General Counsel; 2) Explanation of the two part system and process to be put in place; 3) Language to provide clarity on how alleged ethics violations on the part of the General Manager, General Counsel or the Administration and Ethics Committee will be reported; and 4) Language to provide clarity on possible penalties if a violation is determined.
The two part system includes an independent and confidential ethics hotline service provider and an independent review of potential ethics violations by a third party investigating law firm.
In December 2015, the Board was informed by staff that an informal solicitation process was conducted and that the District would be entering into a contract under the General Manager's authority with Lighthouse to serve as the independent ethics hotline provider. Additionally, after solicitation of Statement of Qualifications from four investigating law firms by the District's General Counsel (Nossaman) and interviews conducted by the Board on January 15, 2016, the Board has selected Nixon Peabody as the independent investigative law firm (selection was approved on January 25, 2016).
†Response Type refers to the interval in which the auditee is providing the State Auditor with their status in implementing recommendations made in an audit report. Auditees must submit a response regarding their progress in implementing recommendations from our reports at three intervals from the release of the report: 60 days, six months, and one year or subsequent to one year.
*Agency responses received after June 2013 are posted verbatim.