Laurelhurst Community Club
Serving 2800 Households and Businesses in Seattle’s Laurelhurst Neighborhood
November 14, 2007
Department of Neighborhoods
P.O. Box 94649
Seattle, Washington 98124-4649
RE: Potential Violation of the City’s Ethics Code
The Laurelhurst Community Club (LCC) Board of Trustees is concerned about the potential violation of the City’s Ethics Code that occurred just prior to the November 13th Children’s Citizens Advisory Committee meeting. Children’s provided a meal to committee members in a private room, complete with linen table clothes and napkins. The fare was light—pasta salad, fruit salad, bread, cold cuts and very fancy desserts. Because the dining room was in a separate location than the public meeting room, it was clear that the public was not invited to partake.
The Ethics Code contains a strict prohibition on receiving gifts where it would appear to a reasonable person that they were given with the intent to obtain special consideration or influence. While that may not be the case in this situation, LCC believes that the perception is nonetheless present. One committee member raised questions about the propriety of the private dinner during the public meeting.
At past Children’s Citizen Advisory Committee meetings, Children’s has provided cookies, nuts, trail mix and water to all who attended. We believe this is a far better approach and avoids any appearance of impropriety. While the ethics rules include exceptions to the gift prohibition, there is always the possibility that a complaint could be filed and committee members would become a part of an investigation into the matter.
We encourage you to discuss this matter with Wayne Barnett, the Executive Director of the Ethics and Elections Commission.
Thank you for considering the concerns of the Laurelhurst Community Club.
Jeannie Hale, President
3425 West Laurelhurst Drive NE
Seattle, Washington 98105
206-525-5135 / fax 206-525-9631
cc: Stella Chao, Director, Department of Neighborhoods; Tom Hansen, Suzanne Petersen, Ruth Benfield, Desiree Leigh, Children’s Hospital; Scott Ringgold, Department of Planning and Developme