Irvine City Council Ethics Being Tested

Ethical Public Service Ordinance Being Tested

Council member Shea recently revealed that last year one of her colleagues on the 2018 City Council provided lobbying services to another agency in the County on behalf of AECOM. AECOM is a big City contractor with hundreds of thousands of dollars in City awarded contracts. At minimum, these lobbying services are a violation of the City’s Code of Ethics.
In response, Shea has introduced a proposal for discussion and direction that is on the Council agenda this Tuesday, January 8th. She is proposing modifications to the “conflict of interest provisions” in City Contracts. It is interesting to note that Council member Shea asks only for accountability for city contractors, but not accountability for City Council, Commissioners and City Staff. Furthermore, she does not name the Council member in question.


Recall on June 3, 2008, Irvine voters APPROVED ballot Measure H. It includes that City Council members cannot engage in compensated employment or service for the purpose of lobbying for any private individual or organization before any local public agency in Orange County. The city then adopted an ordinance from Measure H called “Irvine City Council Ethical Public Service Ordinance”. The City Council and Commissioners all sign an annual acknowledgment stating they read the ordinance and agree to its provisions.

The statement on lobbying is quite clear:

shall not 1) engage in compensated employment or service for the purpose of lobbying for any private person or organization before any local public agency (county, city or special district) located in the County of Orange;

Full text can be read here.

No teeth for enforcement

Note there is no mechanism of enforcement of the city ordinance. Shea’s memo also skirts the issue of Council members’ ethical violations by focusing on the contractors.

Please come out to the City Council meeting this Tuesday, January 8.  Meetings start at 4pm but the public portion usually starts at 5pm.

Public comments will also be made either at 6:30pm or before the meeting’s adjournment – whichever comes earlier.