The Washington State Executive Ethics Board recently issued a preliminary determination that there is reasonable cause to believe that a former employee of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) violated state ethics law (RCW 42.52).
The employee resigned from WDFW August 6, 2009 in lieu of termination. A settlement agreement resolving a grievance filed by the Washington Association of Fish and Wildlife Professionals on his behalf precludes WDFW from discussing additional details of his employment.
While the Board’s determination is preliminary at this time, the types of activities described in the Board’s report and findings are deeply troubling to me. As the director of a state agency, I recognize the public has entrusted us to carry out our duties and responsibilities in a manner that is consistent with the highest ethical standards. The type of conduct alleged in the Board’s preliminary determination is clearly not representative of my fellow colleagues at WDFW and I know they will join with me to put additional protective measures in place to avoid any occurrence of this type of activity in the future.
In addition to actions we have already taken, we will engage in a vigorous and thorough review of our contract oversight procedures and protocols. Specific to this case, we have suspended any ongoing activities associated with the contracts in question, pending our full review.
Finally, we will maintain our commitment to ensuring that all WDFW employees are fully aware of the state laws governing Ethics in Public Service, as well as our own ethics policies that in some cases go beyond what is required under state law. Our department employs hundreds of hard-working people with high ethical standards who are dedicated to their jobs, to the health of our natural resources and to serving state citizens. We are committed to continue to work hard to keep the public trust as we move forward.