A Year After Voters Created County Ethics Panel, Selection Begins

A year after voters overwhelmingly approved creation of a county ethics commission, the Board of Supervisors Tuesday began taking applications for the commission’s five members.

Each member of the Board of Suprvisors will select one of the ethics commissioners. How and why each supervisor decides who to select will not be public, but a majority of the full board will confirm the selections in an open meeting.

Prospective commissioners cannot be elected officials or lobbyists or run for office or help with a campaign while serving on the commission, among other restrictions. Each commissioner is limited to serving two, three-year terms. Commissioners receive no pay but are reimbursed for official travel and other job-related expenses. To apply, prospective commissioners should fill out a form here.

The five commissioners will provide oversight of the county’s Campaign Reform Ordinance, Lobbyist Registration and Reporting Ordinance, the Gift Ban Ordinance and sections six and nine of the County Code of Ethics and Commitment to Public Service.  Commissioners also will ensure ethics training is provided to newly elected and appointed county officials.

In March, the supervisors chose Denah Hoard, the senior assistant city attorney for Orange, as the commission’s executive director.

The full list of Commissioner qualifications:

  • Must be a registered voter in Orange County
  • Commissioners and the Executive Director may not hold an elected or appointed public office and shall not be an employee of a public official, the member of a public body whose members are appointed by an elected official, or any employee of such public body.
  • Commissioners must resign before participating in political campaigns for county candidates or office
  • No Commissioner shall during their term, or during the previous ten years prior to the start of their term, be a county lobbyist or employed by one
  • No Commissioner shall have been, during the previous ten years, an elected county officer, agency or department head or executive manager
  • No Commissioners shall have been, during the previous ten years, an elected or appointed official of a national, state or local partisan political (central) committee
  • A person who has been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor involving dishonesty, untruthfulness, or any crime involving an election law violation is disqualified from serving as a Commissioner
  • No Commissioners may have a job that includes
    • providing services to candidates for public office or to elected officials within the County of Orange
    • engaging in public affairs or legislative liaison services for an employer doing business with the County of Orange, or with any Joint Powers Authority or with any Special District
    • employment within the past ten (10) years with the County of Orange, or with any Joint Powers Authority or with any Special District
    • employment with any county employee unions
  • No Commissioner who has served on the Orange County Grand Jury may serve on the Commission for ten (10) years from the date of this article’s enactment
  • No person who proposed, sponsored or co-sponsored the measure establishing the Commission may serve on the Commission for ten years

Contact Tracy Wood at twood@voiceofoc.org or follow her on Twitter @TracyVOC.