By John Earl
Surf City Voice
Municipal Water District of Orange County Director Brett Barbre’s proposal to increase transparency at the agency through self-policing of financial and conflict of interest disclosures is moving at a snail’s pace, if at all.
Last February, Barbre told the Voice that he wanted to have the MWDOC board of directors certify that to the best of its knowledge no conflicts of interest exist for its elected directors, representatives that it appoints to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), and all MWDOC employees who are required to report under state disclosure regulations.
Barbre would have the board review so-called 700 financial disclosure forms and compare income sources to a list of MWDOC vendors to help weed out potential conflicts of interest.
“I believe we need to police ourselves,” Barbre said, in an e-mail to the Voice at that time. “If it’s not placed on the agenda, look for some fireworks,” he advised.
It wasn’t put on the agenda, but Barbre brought the issue up anyway March 14 under another, broader, agenda item during the last moments of a meeting of the Administration and Finance Committee, which he chairs. A brief but telling discussion ensued with board president Jeffrey Thomas cautiously agreeing to place the item on April’s meeting agenda.
But the item has yet to be discussed in detail or for purposes of a vote because General Manager Kevin Hunt, acting on instructions from Thomas, who Hunt says acted on advice of legal counsel, kept it off the agenda. Continue Reading