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Read the Boe ethics investigation

Post by John Henrikson / The News Tribune on June 10, 2010 at 12:04 pm with 3 Comments »
June 10, 2010 12:04 pm

In this morning’s print edition, Lewis Kamb reported some of the fine print in the City of Tacoma’s ethics investigation into Councilman David Boe. The city’s Board of Ethics cleared Boe, a Tacoma architect, of conflict of interest for voting on bids for the renovation of Cheney Stadium, after he had worked without pay on designs for losing bidder Wade Perrow Construction. But the investigation released this week makes it clear that while there was no direct financial interest in the Cheney project, Bot has an extensive and ongoing business relationship with Perrow.

From the story:

Tacoma City Councilman David Boe’s private architectural firm draws nearly half its income from working with a local construction company that he helped to bid for a city contract to revamp Cheney Stadium just before joining the council earlier this year.

In fact, when business was slow in early 2009, Gig Harbor-based Wade Perrow Construction gave work it “did not strictly need” to Boe’s firm “in order to help out Mr. Boe and allow him to pay his staff,” a city report says.

When Perrow came to Boe earlier this year needing quick design revisions on its ballpark bid, Boe “felt he really could not say no,” according to the report.

Here is the entire investigation and finding from the ethics panel: Boe ethics report

Leave a comment Comments → 3
  1. PumainTacoma says:

    HOGWASH! The City has no conflict of interest code to enforce? Did I read that correctly under 3.2 TMC of the ruling? AND that new council members need an “orientation” to know what ethics are? That directed to Councilman Boe a person who knows darn well what a RFP process is for procurement and making sure the procurement process for contracts have integrity. Did they not teach him this in architecture school? It is obvious the ethics board does not seek out corporate entities when learning ethics itself, nor understands that conflicts of interest in government contracts carry steep penalties, that is why government procurement personnel can not get hired post government jobs to work for a government contractor to manage contracts in “conflict” with their previous federal jobs. To say Boe did not have a remote interest is a slap in the face for anyone who has worked on government contracts. Impropriety is simply that – IMPROPRIETY. I say have ALL council members SIGN an ethics clause every year they are on the city council. Put some teeth into this act as I see no ETHICS CZAR on the council at all. Shame on Boe. Shame on the city. He should resign!

  2. Pumain, state law is very clear. There must be a financial benefit from approval of the contract.

    No municipal officer shall be beneficially interested, directly or indirectly, in any contract which may be made by, through or under the supervision of such officer, in whole or in part, or which may be made for the benefit of his or her office, or accept, directly or indirectly, any compensation, gratuity or reward in connection with such contract from any other person beneficially interested therein.

    Remote interests are actually allowable and refer to situations where you have a business connection to the contracting party, but don’t stand to benefit from approval of the contract. Here are examples in the code:

    (1) That of a nonsalaried officer of a nonprofit corporation;

    (2) That of an employee or agent of a contracting party where the compensation of such employee or agent consists entirely of fixed wages or salary;

    (3) That of a landlord or tenant of a contracting party;

    (4) That of a holder of less than one percent of the shares of a corporation or cooperative which is a contracting party.

    If you’d like to know more, here’s the law.

    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=42.23

  3. ETHICS courses teach you:

    1) Could I do this? = Legalism (answer) What they City of Tacoma uses.

    2) Should I do this? = Ethical question (that is recognized in the industry).

    Remember there are no second chances. Rationalization people like to use: “That’s the system.” “Everybody else does it.” (we need to get away from this attitude)

    RCW 42.23.030
    Interest in contracts prohibited — Exceptions.
    No municipal officer shall be beneficially interested, directly or indirectly, in any contract which may be made by, through or under the supervision of such officer, in whole or in part, or which may be made for the benefit of his or her office, or accept, directly or indirectly, any compensation, gratuity or reward in connection with such contract from any other person beneficially interested therein. This section shall not apply in the following cases

    42.23.040
    Remote interests.
    A municipal officer is not interested in a contract, within the meaning of RCW 42.23.030, if the officer has only a remote interest in the contract “AND the extent of the interest is disclosed to the governing body of the municipality of which the officer is an officer AND noted in the official minutes or similar records of the municipality PRIOR to the formation of the contract,” and thereafter the governing body authorizes, approves, or ratifies the contract in good faith by a vote of its membership sufficient for the purpose without counting the vote or votes of the officer having the remote interest. As used in this section “remote interest” means:

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