First OC Ethics Commissioner Up for Appointment Tuesday

Tracy Wood/Voice of OC

Peter Agarwal (center) at a CalOptima event in 2015.

More than a year after voters approved the creation of an Orange County Campaign Finance and Ethics Commission, county supervisors are scheduled to vote Tuesday on appointing one of their longtime appointees as its first member.

Supervisor Shawn Nelson nominated Peter Agarwal, a Fullerton bank branch manager and Anaheim Chamber of Commerce board member whom county supervisors have previously appointed to positions like board member on the CalOptima county health plan for poor and disabled residents.

If appointed to the ethics commission, Agarwal will be tasked with enforcing the county’s campaign finance limits, lobbying law, gift ban, and code of ethics. Each of the five supervisors will nominate one member of the ethics commission.

Information about Agarwal, who has been a Nelson appointee to other county boards and commissions, was buried on page 552 of the supervisors’ 813-page supplemental agenda packet, after hundreds of pages of contract and budget documents.

There’s no page number guide at the front of the document, nor are the Agarwal documents searchable, which requires members of the public to scroll through hundreds of pages of the agenda manually to find the documents.

In his ethics commission application, Agarwal says he has not been “affiliated with any business or nonprofit agency(ies)” in the last five years. But elsewhere in the document he says he works as an branch executive with Citizen’s Business Bank and is a current board member of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce.

Agarwal also wrote in his application that he currently serves on the CalOptima board of directors, a position he hasn’t held for nearly a year because supervisors rejected his application to stay on that board.

Additionally, he lists himself as a current “Full Board Member” of the National Association of Corporate Directors, while that organization’s website doesn’t list him on its board member page and a web search found no public association between Agarwal and the group.

Agarwal works as the manager of the Citizens Business Bank branch in Fullerton, where he holds the title of vice president.

He has been active in the Anaheim business community, and was named “Anaheim Business Champion of the Year” by the chamber of commerce in 2012.

Agarwal has been appointed to various commissions and boards by Nelson, his predecessor Supervisor Chris Norby, and former Anaheim Councilman Harry Sidhu.

Norby appointed Agarwal to the Orange County Public Facilities Corporation in 2004 and the county Waste Management Commission in 2009.

In Anaheim, Sidhu successfully nominated Agarwal to the city’s Public Utilities Board in July 2006. One year into his four-year term, Agarwal left the utilities board to join the city Planning Commission after Sidhu nominated him for that position.

Agarwal went on to serve for several years on the Planning Commission, including as its chairman. Sidhu also appointed him to Anaheim’s advisory committee on district elections in October 2012.

That same month, after Nelson succeeded Norby, county supervisors appointed Agarwal to the CalOptima board of directors, where he served during a tumultuous period in which a county grand jury and federal auditors determined lives were being put at risk by mismanagement.

Agarwal applied to remain on the board last year, but supervisors didn’t reappoint him.

Nelson appointed him to the county’s Audit Oversight Committee on March 14, a position he resigned from at some point since, according to a letter attached to his application. The letter doesn’t explain why he resigned.

Agarwal has given at least $5,300 in campaign contributions, including at least $250 each to Norby, Sidhu, and Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray, according to an initial search of databases.

A District Attorney investigation found Sidhu violated campaign finance law in 2010 when he accepted two maxed-out contributions from a hotel developer who gave under separate business entities.

Nick Gerda covers county government and Santa Ana for Voice of OC. You can contact him at

  • Ed Romero

    Boy have you people got a FILTHY DIRTY MESS to clean up. When the Board of Supervisors selected that Asst. Chief Probation Officer who was caught Shoplifting 8 times, who was Dealing Drugs and Smoking Marijuana while on duty, she smoked so much Marijuana that my co-workers gave her the AHA/Marijuana Nancy, she would come to the rescue of any of her Lesbian Employees if they were involved in something illegal, like those at our Los Pinos Detention Center, they abuses Drugs so badly out there that my co-workers gave that Detention Center the AKA/The Lesbian Drug Den. She came to the rescue of that Clerical Clerk that would follow the young girls into the Restroom and get down on the knees and PEEK under the door, the person is a Clerical Supervisor today. She also came to the rescue of the Deputy Probation Officer who was YELLING at her Lesbian Lover over the phone that she was a REAL MAN, a MACHO MAN, that she deserved a REAL WOMAN, because she was a REAL MAN. I came under attack from the Asst. Chief Probation Officer because I reported what occurred. So this Dirty Racist Crook was sent to represent the County of Orange at that Seminar in Ethics in County of Government, she was SNUBBED by the other Attendees, her reputation followed her up there, she returned to her car it was PLASTERED with Pornographic Pictures. Like I said this Ethics Commission has a Dirty Filthy Mess to clean up and I’m going to be the first to say “They will not clean anything up, this is Orange County and all you have to do is look at those 2 previous Sheriff’s, the Probation Department (ran by all those Drug Dealing, Marijuana Smoking, Cocaine Snorting Lesbians and now the DA and his BS.

  • Ed Romero

    What a JOKE this Ethics Commission will be. Let me inform you that it was the Board of Supervisors that selected the Drug Dealing, Marijuana Smoking, Convicted Shoplifter to represent the County of Orange at that Seminar on Ethics in Government. This is the same Asst. Chief Probation Officer that would Hire and Promote he numerous Lesbian Drug Dealing and Drug Abusing Friends to positions at the Probation Department that should of gone to more qualified applicants. This is the same person that FIRED that Hispanic Detention Officer at our Los Pinos Detention Center for reporting to late but did NOTHING to one of her Drug Dealers at that same facility when she was caught Snorting/Freebasing Cocaine while on duty, which is a Grade A Felony, bringing Drugs into a Detention Center. Ethics Commission What a JOKE.

    • LFOldTimer

      The general rule is that when Joe Schmo gets caught snorting coke it’s called a crime and Joe gets a ride to the slammer. When a government official gets caught snorting coke it’s called a disability and results in paid administrative leave and rehab

      The EC will solve this. Each EC commissioner will dress up as a superhero and annihilate all corruption in county government. And they’ll do it for God and the American way.

  • verifiedsane

    Some independent oversight! each Sup. gets to select their own hand picked lackey…..there is nothing ethical about this dog and pony show being referred to as an Ethics Commission….what a complete joke…just another wasteful OIR scam being propagated upon the citizens of OC…

    • Shirley L. Grindle

      You and LFOldtimer must be clones of each other.

      • verifiedsane

        Happy with your unethical commission now Shirley…is this what you envisioned…what part of “independent watch dog” don’t you understand…all that public grand standing got us nothing more than another BoS controlled window dressing effort in cronyism futility…….

        • LFOldTimer

          Now watch the BoS use the EC to go after their political enemies –

          Just like the DA’s Political Integrity Unit that the BoS funded.

          The impotent OIR created by the BoS is the reason that Hutchens was able to folllow in Carona’s footsteps and run OCSD like a house of ill repute.

          The EC will be no different.

          Pride blinds.

  • LFOldTimer

    Ethics Commissioner? lol.

    Good God. He or she will work at the pleasure of the board.

    How many times do you have to see this movie replayed before you begin to figure out the scam?

    Please, everyone grow up and understand this is just more window dressing – just like the Office of Independent Review was under Stephen Connolly.

    • Shirley L. Grindle

      Typical sour grapes by you. You should wait and see what happens before condemning this — then you would really know what you are talking about.

      • LFOldTimer

        You have an investment in the Ethics Commission actually working, Shirley. Your pride is on the line, dear.

        Me? I don’t.

        That’s the difference between you and me.

        I can be objective.

        • justanon

          “I can be objective.”

          Ha, ha, ha, your lack of self-awareness never ceases to amuse.

          • LFOldTimer

            Claptrap on ignore.

            Nothing follows………..

      • justanon

        LFOldBigot and Verifiedinsane only like to complain and tear down.

        They don’t care about facts, accuracy or waiting for results. They have their own reality and anything that differs from their shallow and often misinformed and crazy opinions is designated as “fake news”.

        Such is the world we live in … now.

        • verifiedsane

          Is that a Kathy Griffin clone observing congressional baseball practice I see commenting…or justadiaperboy still living in the delusional state of believing anyone actually cares what they have to say….ignored as usual…. 🙂

          • LFOldTimer

            In-between CNN segments of Trump-Russia conspiracy fake news with Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Blooper diaper child comes online to attack those who deal in reality.

            The only thing worse than fake news is a loaded diaper.

          • justanon

            How’s that Seth Rich scandal coming along? Is it the HUGE BOMBSHELL that you and your lickspittle predicted it would be?

            Meanwhile back in reality-land, the Russian scandal is moving along, with congressional investigations, a special prosecutor and every top official in the West Wing lawyering up and we’re still less than six months into this sh*t-show of a presidency.

            Only the dumbest chumps would still believe anything that trump says as he is the biggest PROVEN liar to ever occupy the White House.

            Wake up and smell the lies … fools.

          • LFOldTimer

            Claptrap on ignore.

            Nothing follows…………