Nov 16 2014
Piedmont has been out of compliance with State of California Conflict of Interest laws for decades.
State law, called the Political Reform Act (PRA), requires government entities, including Piedmont, to biannually assess their Conflict of Interest Code for compliance with state laws. The Piedmont City Council has not updated Piedmont’s Conflict of Interest Code, Policy #24, since 1988.
On Monday, November 17 at their regular meeting, the Piedmont City Council will assess which employees will be required to file personal economic disclosure Form 700 in compliance with State law. As noted in the staff recommendation, nine staff positions are proposed to be added to the list of individuals required to report. These include Building Official, Planning Director, Parks and Project Manager, Recreation Supervisor, amongst others.
Boards, commissions, committees, and consultants not mentioned in the proposed revised Code.
Although not mentioned in the proposed revised Code, appointed boards, commissions and committees advising or deciding on public expenditures are frequently required to comply with economic disclosure Form 700.
“Assets and income of public officials which may be materially affected by their official actions should be disclosed and in appropriate circumstances the officials should be disqualified from acting in order that conflicts of interest may be avoided.“
Gov. Code section 81002(c)
“No public official at any level of state or local government shall make, participate in making or in any way attempt to use his official position to influence a governmental decision in which he knows or has reason to know he has a financial interest.“
Gov. Code Section 87100
“Unpaid members of boards and commissions and consultants to state and local government agencies also may be required to disclose their personal financial interests if they make or participate in making governmental decisions that could affect their private financial interests.
“Disclosure is made on a form called a “statement of economic interests” (Form 700). The form must be filed each year. Filed forms are public documents that must be made available to anyone who requests them.” http://www.fppc.ca.gov/?id=6
Since 1988, Piedmont has expanded to ten the number of commissions, boards and committees, who may advise or act on expenditures of City funds. For example, Piedmont has added the Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee and the City Council Audit Subcommittee.
While overseeing and controlling millions in retirement funds, the Piedmont Police and Fire Pension Board is not listed in the proposed revised Conflict of Interest Code.
The City Council and the Planning Commission are required to file financial disclosure statements. The 1988 Policy #24 on Conflicts of Interest Code was not on line or in the staff report.
State law also applies to consultants who may have a conflict of interest. In Piedmont, consultants are frequently used for advice on planning, finances, taxation, and public improvement projects; however consultants are not mentioned in the proposed revised Code.
Agency Conflict-of-Interest Code Biennial Notice Requirement
The Political Reform Act requires every government agency to review its conflict-of-interest code biennially to determine if it is accurate or, alternatively, that the code must be amended.
Elements of a Conflict-of-Interest Code
Link to the Fair Political Practices Commission website.
Read the Piedmont staff report.
The 1988 Conflict of Interest Code, Policy 24, was not included in the staff information and was not retrievable on line.
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The matter will be considered at the Monday, November 17, 2014, Council meeting in City Hall starting at 7:30 p.m. The meeting will be broadcast on KCOM Channel 27 and live streamed from the City of Piedmont website.
The public may attend the meeting and address the City Council.