County Ethics Commission Holds First Meeting

Nick Gerda/Voice of OC

Local watchdog Shirley Grindle flashes a victory sign the day after county supervisors placed the ethics commission proposal on the ballot.

More than a year after Orange County voters passed a ballot measure to create a county ethics commission, the board met for the first time Monday, with just three of its five members appointed.

The Campaign Finance and Ethics Commission, the result of a June 2016 ballot measure that received 69 percent of votes, is tasked with providing independent enforcement of the county’s campaign finance limits, lobbying law, gift ban and code of ethics.

Citizen watchdog Shirley Grindle — who helped write the ballot measure and for years has tracked campaign contributions with a system of index cards out of her home in Orange – urged commissioners to keep the commission “nonpartisan and nonpolitical.”

“I will really be watching you guys to make sure you keep it that way,” Grindle said. “Don’t let it become a political football.”

If a momentous occasion for Grindle, the brief meeting lasted just 13 minutes, and none of the three commissioners asked questions or made comments.

Among the items on the agenda were two brief quarterly reports by the commission’s executive director, Denah Hoard, which detail Hoard’s activities and will be sent to the Board of Supervisors.

According to the report, Hoard has reviewed recent campaign filings and has identified at least $9,750 in “excess” contributions which were voluntarily refunded, according to the report. The report doesn’t say who received them or define what Hoard means by “excess,” or whether they violated the local campaign contribution law.

County spokeswoman Carrie Braun didn’t immediately respond to questions about those campaign funds and whether the names of those candidates and campaign committees that accepted the contributions will be disclosed.

Per the ballot measure, the commission’s executive director also is required to maintain an “independent tracking system of campaign contributions.” The commission is creating its own electronic database for tracking campaign contributions, which will go to the Board of Supervisors in November for approval.

Grindle said she is most excited about the electronic tracking system.

“That’s the whole reason I want this commission – to take over what I do,” Grindle said.

First District Supervisor Andrew Do, representing Santa Ana, Garden Grove, Westminster and Fountain Valley, and Fifth District Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, who represents South Orange County, have yet to make their appointments to the commission.

Contact Thy Vo at tvo@voiceofoc.org or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo.

  • David Zenger

    I laughed, I cried; I felt a whole range of emotions.

    • verifiedsane

      And to think, all those emotions from just 13 minutes of folly 🙂

  • Ed Romero

    I hope these individuals do a better job of selecting anyone to represent the County of Orange at any Seminars on Ethics in County Government. We were all LAUGHING when the Board of Supervisor’s selected that former Asst. Chief Probation Officer to represent the County of Orange at the Statewide Seminar in Ethics, she had been caught SHOPLIFTING 8 times, she use to Smoke so much Marijuana while on duty that my co-workers gave her the AKA/Marijuana Nancy, she Hire and Promoted her numerous LESBIAN Friends positions that should of gone to more qualified applicants, she had her very own Gang of Drug Dealers that use to make Drug Deliveries right into her Office while on duty in Brown Paper Lunch Bags, one of those Deputy Probation Officer was arrested 5 times for Marijuana for Sale, another one arrested 5 times for Drunk Driving and then there was that Gay Deputy Probation Officer who couldn’t get ENOUGH of all those Young Mexican Boys and Men that he use to orally copulate in his Office, he was finally arrested over 5 years after I advised his Supervisor what he was doing, his Supervisor said to me “we know what he’s doing and WE ARE WATCHING HIM”. EVERYONE knew what was going on including the Sheriff, the DA and Local Law Enforcement Agencies. One day I was in the elevator with 2 Anaheim Police Officers and the Marijuana Smoke was pouring out of the air-vent, I looked at both of them and NOTHING was done about it, there were times the Cafeteria was full of Marijuana Smoke with numerous Police Officers there and again NOTHING was done about it. The Chief Probation Officer use to Smoke so much Marijuana at her residence in the City of Anaheim that her neighbors would call our Probation Records Unit (I handled one of those calls) complaining about all the Marijuana Fumes floating over to their houses. So you see THERE’S NO NEED FOR AN ETHICS COMMISSION, it’s a bunch of BS.

  • verifiedsane

    The NO-ethics commission is up and running a new BoS scam on the citizen’s of OC. No real oversight, more tax dollars flushed…what a great bargain…

  • LFOldTimer

    “I will really be watching you guys to make sure you keep it that way,” Grindle said. “Don’t let it become a political football.”

    Oh come on, Shirley. Don’t make me laugh.

    The EC is already in the bag. The Director works at the pleasure of the board – as do the Commissioners. lol.

    Have you noted the occupations of the seated Commissioners?

    Why no butchers or bakers or candlestick makers??? lol.

    They used you as a means to an end, Shirley. They used you as their temporary stepping stone. Why do you think they’ve excluded your active participation in their recent EC decisions?

    If the EC is on the up&up their first order of business would be to follow-up & investigate Spitzer’s FPPC violation of failing to report campaign expenditures on time.

    Don’t hold your breath.