TO: Board of Directors and Staff
FROM: Directors Estremera, Lezotte, and Schmidt
SUBJECT: Item 10.1, Future Agenda Item for a Proposed New Policy on Disclosures
DATE: February 7, 2013
The Water District has a stellar record on disclosure and openness, something we know from direct experience and from feedback we have received from the press. Still, we look for opportunities to make that openness even better. We suggest that an appropriate point in the near future, that the Board consider a discussion of a variety of options for a new Ends Policy regarding potential disclosure of agreements between the District and Directors, including former Directors, when the agreements involve monetary payments or benefits conferred upon the Directors by the District. One option is listed below to begin the discussion, which we suggest staff consider and report on how other agencies handle disclosure of similar agreements.
As a general matter, confidentiality in settlements of disputes with employees may often be necessary and in the public's best interest, but dealings with Directors are a special situation where the public has a special interest in understanding what has happened. We emphasize that the potential disclosure under discussion here is regarding the special case only of Directors and former Directors.
Even in the case of dealing with Directors, the negotiation process often needs to proceed in a confidential manner, but upon finalization, the public's interest in knowing the outcome that occurred between the District and the Directors that the public elected should be considered.
In lieu of drafting specific language, we suggest the principles below and look to staff to develop them further and to the Board for potential modification and adoption:
Alternative requiring disclosure (new policy would include all of the following):
1. Agreements regarding monetary compensation or benefits for Directors shall be disclosed in the same manner as other compensation to Directors.
2. Agreements regarding monetary compensation or benefits for Directors shall not include confidentiality provisions binding upon the District.
3. Copies of agreements regarding monetary compensation or benefits for Directors shall be provided to all upon request.
4. Notice of agreements regarding monetary compensation or benefits for Directors shall be provided to all who have requested notice of such agreements in general, and not require specific request of the specific agreement in order to be given notice.