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Board of Director's Code of Conduct

Please note: P.U.C 130051.20 and 130051.25 was signed into law and should be viewed in conjunction with the Board Code of Conduct as of January 1, 1998.

California Codes
Public Utilities Code
Section 130600-130730

130600. For purposes of this chapter, the following terms have the following meanings: (a) "Board" means the board of directors of Metro. (c) "Entitlement for use" includes all contracts except competitively bid, labor, or personal employment contracts, regardless of whether an individual accepts, solicits, or directs the contribution for himself or herself or on behalf of any other candidate or committee. (d) "Gift" has the same meaning as defined in Section 82028 of the Government Code . (e) "Indirect investment or interest" means any investment or interest owned by the spouse or dependent children of an individual, by an agent on behalf of the individual, or by a business entity or trust in which the individual, the individual's agents, spouse, or dependent children own directly, indirectly or beneficially a 10 percent interest or greater. (f) "Participant" means any person, other than a party, as defined in subdivision (g), who is not a party but who actively supports or opposes a particular decision in a proceeding involving a license permit or other entitlement for use, including contract actions, and who has a financial interest in the decision. A person actively supports or opposes a particular decision in a proceeding if he or she lobbies in person the board members or Metro employees, testifies in person before Metro, or otherwise acts to influence officers of the agency. (g) "Party" means any person who files an application for, or is the subject of, a proceeding involving a license, permit, or other entitlement for use to competitively bid on contracts, including contract amendments and change orders. (h) "Metro" means Metro.

130605. Any reference in this chapter to "chief executive officer," "general counsel," "counsel," "inspector general," "board secretary," or "secretary" is to the officers of Metro appointed under Sections 130051.9 and 130051.25.

130610. (a) The board shall appoint an ethics officer, who shall report to the board. (b) When in doubt as to the applicability of any provision of this chapter to any particular situation, a board member shall contact the general counsel or the ethics officer for advice.

130615. (a) The provisions of this chapter shall be enforced by the inspector general. (b) Any violation of this chapter that is also a violation of other state law or of local or federal law may also be prosecuted by the appropriate authority. (c) Upon notice of a possible violation of this chapter, the board shall refer the matter to the inspector general for investigation. Upon completion of the investigation, if the matter has been determined not to be criminal in nature and to be of such a nature that it may be disclosed, the inspector general shall report the findings to the board. If the matter is determined to be criminal in nature, the inspector general shall refer the matter to the appropriate enforcement authorities for prosecution.

130620. (a) Sanctions for violations of this chapter shall be determined by the board. The sanctions imposed shall depend upon the severity of the infraction and may be progressive unless the violation is determined to be so egregious as to warrant more severe action initially. (b) The board may consult with the inspector general for an opinion regarding the sanctions appropriate to any particular violation. (c) Sanctions imposed under this section may include, but are not limited to, any of the following: (1) Private reprimand by the board. (2) Public censure by the board at a regularly scheduled meeting. (3) Disqualification from participating in any discussion or vote on any matter related to the violation. (4) Removal of the board member from one or more committees for a period of time. (5) Permanent removal of the board member from one or more committees. (6) Suspension from all board actions for a period of time. (7) A monetary fine in an amount determined by the board. (d) If a board member is criminally indicted, he or she shall be suspended from all board actions for the duration of the criminal proceeding. If the board member is acquitted of the charges, he or she shall return to the board as a full, participating member. (e) For violations of this chapter that result in findings of criminal or civil liability, the board may recommend additional sanctions to the inspector general after the civil or criminal proceedings are completed.

130625. Confidential information, particularly investigative reports for the inspector general, shall not be disseminated beyond the authorized recipient of the report.

130630. The role of the board as it relates to Metro is as follows: (a) The board provides counsel and direction to management and shall not be involved in the day-to-day affairs of Metro. (b) Board members do not have individual power or authority over Metro. That power and decision-making authority lie with the full board.

130635. The rules of conduct at board meetings shall apply to all matters under consideration by the board except for ceremonial matters and are as follows: (a) Board members shall treat Metro staff members and each other with respect and courtesy. (b) Disagreements shall not result in personal comments or attacks against an Metro staff member or another board member. (c) When any member is recognized to speak at a board meeting, the board member shall address the chair. (d) When two or more members address the chair at the same time, the chair shall name the member who is to be the first to speak. (e) When speaking, a member shall confine his or her remarks to the topic under debate or discussion. (f) Each member, in the order recognized by the chair, shall have not more than five minutes to speak. (g) Answers to questions asked by a member shall be counted against the member's five minutes. (h) Once having recognized a member to speak, the chair shall not recognize that member to be heard again, except to answer questions, until all other board members have had an opportunity to speak. (i) All members shall have an opportunity to speak before the chair may enter the discussion. (j) After all members desiring to speak have had an opportunity to be heard once, the time for each member desiring to speak again, or for the first time, shall be limited to a maximum of three minutes. (k) There shall be no limit to the number of times a member is allowed to speak. (l) The secretary shall time the members when discussion of an issue begins and notify the chair when a member's time has expired.

130640. (a) Members shall not publicly engage in personal attacks on Metro employees or attempt to discipline any employee. (b) Any concerns regarding an employee's performance shall be communicated to the chief executive officer. (c) Any concerns regarding the performance of an officer of the board shall be communicated to that officer. (d) Nothing in this section limits the right of the board to evaluate board officers.

130650. Committee chairs shall present items from their committee meetings and the recommendation of their committee.

130655. (a) All members shall be afforded an adequate opportunity to review written motions having financial or policy implications prior to the board meeting. (b) A written motion having financial or policy implications shall be referred to the appropriate committee for recommendation to the full board, unless the motion is distributed to all board members not later than 48 hours prior to the board meeting or this requirement is waived by the vote of nine board members.

130660. (a) Board members or their staff are prohibited from soliciting or accepting any gift from Metro contractors or from persons or entities that have submitted a proposal or bid for an Metro contract. (b) Board members or their staff shall not accept gifts aggregating two hundred eighty-nine dollars ($289) or more, as specified in Section 89502 or 89503 of the Government Code, from a single source in any calendar year. (c) Board members shall disqualify themselves from participating in a decision that may have a financial effect upon a source of income aggregating two hundred fifty dollars ($250) or more or a donor of gifts aggregating two hundred eighty-nine dollars ($289) or more, if those gifts were received within 12 months preceding the time of the decision. (d) Board members shall not accept gifts aggregating more than ten dollars ($10) in a calendar month from an Metro registered lobbyist, lobbying firm, or lobbyist employer. (e) Board members shall report on their annual Statement of Economic Interest gifts aggregating fifty dollars ($50) or more and income of two hundred fifty dollars ($250) or more received from a single source in a calendar year.

130665. (a) Board members or their staff shall not accept any payment made for a speech given, an article published, participation in a program, or any other appearance at a public or private conference, convention, meeting, social event, meal, or similar gathering. (b) This section does not prohibit payments for actual personal services rendered in connection with a member's practice of a bona fide business, trade, or profession.

130670. Reimbursement for travel or lodging may be exempt from the provisions prohibiting gifts if the travel is related to Metro business. That reimbursement, however, shall be reported in the annual Statement of Economic Interest. The general counsel may be consulted prior to accepting payment or reimbursement to determine whether that reimbursement should be disqualified as a gift.

130675. Board members shall not direct any Metro employee, contractor or potential contractor to make a charitable contribution to a specified agency.

130680. (a) The chief executive officer shall be responsible for ensuring Metro has an independent professional procurement staff. The chief executive officer and designated procurement staff shall be responsible for conducing an independent, autonomous procurement process in accordance with state and federal law. (b) Board members shall use objective judgment in voting on a procurement award and base their decision on the criteria established in the procurement documents. (c) Board members or their staff shall not attempt to influence contract awards. (d) During any procurement process, board members or their staff shall not communicate with Metro staff regarding the procurement. (e) Before the staff recommendation for an award is made public, board members or their staff shall only communicate with the chief executive officer or his or her designee regarding the procurement. The chief executive officer shall keep a log of those communications and shall report those communications and responses in writing at the board meeting where action on the procurement is scheduled. (f) Board members or their staff shall not attempt to obtain information about the recommendation of the award of a contract until the recommendation is made public. (g) Board members shall not release information about the procurement to the public until the award recommendation is made public. (h) If a board member attempts to communicate with Metro staff to influence the recommended award, this communication shall be reported by staff to the inspector general.

130685. a) Prior to the issuance of a request for proposal (RFP), request for interest in qualification (RFIQ), or invitation for bid (IFB), and ending on the date of the selection of the contractor, no person or entity submitting a proposal in response to the RFP, RFIQ, or IFB, nor any officer, employee, representative, agent, or consultant representing the proposer shall contact by any means or engage in any discussion concerning the award of the contract with any board member or his or her staff. Any contact shall be grounds for the disqualification of the proposer. (b) A board member who receives any communication from a proposer in violation of this chapter shall report that communication to the inspector general. The inspector general shall forward this information to the director of contracts and responsible procurement staff. (c) Board members shall not meet with a person or entity who submitted a proposal in response to the RFP, RFIQ, or IFB, nor any officer, employee, representative, agent, or consultant representing the proposer regarding a protest submitted regarding the recommended contract award or any lawsuit or potential lawsuit regarding the recommended contract award.

130690. Board members and their staff shall refrain from conduct that they know or reasonably should know is likely to create in the minds of reasonable observers the perception that the board member or staff member used his or her public position improperly.

130700. (a) Board members or their staff shall not participate in an Metro decision in which they know or have reason to know that they have a financial interest. (b) Board members shall not be purchasers at any sale, or vendors at any purchase, that is made personally by that member. (c) An individual is deemed to have a financial interest in a decision if it is reasonably foreseeable that the decision will have a material financial effect on that individual or the individual's immediate family, distinguishable from its effect on the public generally, or on any of the following: (1) Any business entity in which the board member or staff member has a direct or indirect investment worth one thousand dollars ($1,000) or more. (2) Any real property in which the board member or staff member has a direct or indirect interest worth one thousand dollars ($1,000) or more. (3) Any source of income, other than gifts and other than loans by a commercial lending institution made in the regular course of business in terms available to the public without regard to official status, aggregating two hundred fifty dollars ($250) or more in value provided to, received by, or promised to the board member or staff member within 12 months prior to the time when the decision is made. (4) Any business entity in which the board member or a member of his or her staff is a director, officer, partner, trustee, or employee, or holds any position of management. (5) Any donor or, or any intermediary of, agent for a donor of a gift or gifts aggregating two hundred eighty-nine dollars ($289) or more in value provided to, received by, or promised to, the board member or staff member within 12 months prior to the time the decision is made. (d) This section does not prohibit a board member from participating in a decision if that participation is legally required in order for the decision to be made. In that case the individual shall disclose the nature of his or her interest before he or she participates in the decision. For the purposes of this subdivision, the fact that a board member's vote is necessary to break a tie does not make his or her participation legally required.

130705. (a) Board members or their staff shall not engage in any employment, activity, or enterprise that is inconsistent, incompatible, or in conflict with the duties of an Metro officer. (b) Board members or their staff shall not use Metro's facilities, equipment, supplies, badge, prestige, or influence for private gain.

130710. The Metro shall not contract with any of the following: (a) Metro board members or their staff. (b) Any profit-making firm or business in which a former board member or member of his or her staff is an officer, principal, partner, or major shareholder.

130715. (a) Former board members or their staff shall not participate in any contract with the agency for a period of 12 months after leaving the board. (b) Metro shall not contract with any profit-making firm or business in which a former board member or member of his or her staff is an officer, principal, or partner, or is a shareholder who holds more than 10 percent of the stock in the company, for a period of 12 months after the board member has left the board.

130720. Board members shall file Statements of Economic Interest with the ethics officer pursuant to state law, within 30 days of assuming office, annually, and within 30 days of leaving office. (b) Board members shall file an addendum to the statement required under subdivision (a), disclosing all financial interests both within and outside Los Angeles County, including those financial interests received during the reporting period by all entities in which the member is an officer, principal, partner, or major shareholder. c) Any amendments to the Statement of Economic Interest or addendum shall be filed within 30 days of the occurrence of the change.

130725. Any person who receives compensation to regularly provide advice, recommendations, or counsel to board members regarding Metro activities shall file a Statement of Economic Interest with Metro within 10 days of the commencement of the consultant relationship and shall update that statement within 30 days of the end of each calendar quarter. This requirement does not apply to a full time employee of a governmental entity who is already required to file a statement.

130730. Any person who regularly provides advice, recommendations, or counsel to board members regarding Metro activities and also advises another agency or entity that has a financial interest in an item before the board shall be prohibited from giving advice to board members and Metro staff regarding that item.

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