State Ethics Panel Challenges Paid Panel Appointments by OC City Council Members

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the State of California Ethics Panel has challenged paid committee appointments by city councils in nine OC cities for possible violations of conflict of interest rules.  The cities being targeted include Anaheim, Dana Point, Irvine, La Palma, Newport Beach, San Clemente, Tustin, Villa Park and Yorba Linda.

In particular, paid panel appointments called out Tustin council members Jerry Amante and John Nielsen because of a complaint filed by Tustin resident Matthew Delaney who wrote that the council members “voted and participated” on a board appointment that pays $212 for each meeting.

According to the LA Times story: “Delaney has filed complaints against Tustin Mayor Jerry Amante and Mayor Pro Tem John Nielsen, according to a letter by Tustin City Attorney David E. Kendig, who said local rules require council members to sit on the paid boards in question as representatives of the city. He argued that the stipends to be received in the paid appointments “are expressly excluded from the definition of ‘income’ for purposes of the Political Reform Act.”

The Ethics Panel filed complaints against 19 council members in nine OC cities.  The Fair Political Practices Commission’s enforcement staff believes that council members can’t vote on their appointments to paid boards.  But it looks like the Panel is offering to resolve most of the complaints with a warning and no penalty.


  1. Once again, Santa Ana City Council leads the ethically challenged. Thanks to Vince “I am a lawyer who can’t understand the law” Sarmiento, Miguel “Triple-Dip” Pulido, Carlos “If they work for me, they have to let me pork them, right?” Bustamante – Oh – Excuse me – The Michelle Martinez for Assembly Host Committee!

  2. This action appears to be a reaction by the FPPC to Vince Sarmiento’s defense to his violation of the Political Reform Act. He claimed “Every on e else is doing it” as his defense. That along with the complaint in Tustin certainly played a role in the FPPC action.

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