Incoming Orange County Counsel Leon Page said this week that his office will be moving forward with the “comprehensive review” of employees’ financial disclosure requirements that supervisors' Chairman Todd Spitzer ordered four months ago but hasn’t yet begun.
Following a Voice of OC article on the issue, Page said he’s fully on board with Spitzer's directive.
“My office will be developing information as directed by the Board of Supervisors,” Page said Wednesday when asked about the review.
In early March, Spitzer ordered the county counsel’s office to check whether county department heads and outside agencies have been properly listing all the positions that should be required to file the disclosures, known as Form 700s.
State law requires that lists of Form 700 filers include any county job where the worker is involved in decisions that could affect his or her outside financial interests, and therefore present a possible conflict of interest.
Spitzer's order came soon after Voice of OC revealed that District Attorney Tony Rackauckas wasn’t including his chief of staff, Susan Kang Schroeder, on the list of employees who have to disclose.
Schroeder ultimately filed the disclosures in June after the county counsel's office suggested that fines be levied against her if she doesn’t file.
On Tuesday, Spitzer refuted allegations that the purpose of his directive was to embarrass Rackauckas and Schroeder, two of his chief political foes.
In an exchange with Spitzer in the comments field below Tuesday’s Voice of OC article, former county political aide David Zenger questioned why the county counsel’s office hadn’t started the review months later, other than forcing Schroeder to file.
“So far as I can tell this little episode is nothing more than an attempt to make Susan Schroeder look bad, and of course your continued and manic scramble to confuse ethics with legal reporting requirements,” Zenger wrote to Spitzer.
Spitzer says that’s nonsense, and that the review is a common-sense measure to ensure certain employees aren't being wrongly exempted from having to file.
“A list of job descriptions is coming to the board directly without any vetting from anybody,” Spitzer told Voice of OC. “I don’t know what all these people’s job duties are…that would be impossible for a county supervisor to know.”
As for the more four-month delay in getting started, Spitzer said the county counsel’s office has had to figure out “who is going to do this, who would be charged with really drilling down and understanding all these categories.”
“They are significantly overworked, and they’ve got significant things on their plate,” Spitzer said. “No one’s ignoring it.”