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Wednesday
Sep132017

LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Ethics Office, controversy, update: "Embattled ethics watchdog to step down amid turmoil at water agency" ....

***Following up on earlier item noted here (Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, ethics office?)....

* Los Angeles Times (David Zahniser):  "Embattled ethics watchdog to step down amid turmoil at water agency" - From the LAT:

The Metropolitan Water District’s embattled ethics watchdog announced her resignation Tuesday amid a monthslong internal struggle over her office and its investigations.

Ethics officer Deena Ghaly informed the MWD of her decision hours before the agency’s 38-member board was scheduled to evaluate her performance. Ghaly, whose office is the subject of an ongoing outside review, said it had become “impossible” for her to carry out her duties of creating, administering and enforcing ethics rules. “There are concerns at the board level, as I understand them, about whether the ethics office should proceed with the work that it does,” she said. “And yet, I report to the board. So … there was no way to reconcile the law with the responses about my work from at least some of the board members.”

The board weighed in hours later, putting Ghaly on paid administrative leave until Oct. 10, her last day on the job. MWD spokesman Bob Muir said no reason was given for the decision, which was discussed during a closed session meeting.

Tuesday’s developments alarmed board member Sylvia Ballin, who argued that her MWD colleagues had failed to give the ethics office the tools to operate independently. Before the board went behind closed doors, Ballin questioned whether Ghaly was the subject of a “witch hunt.” “This is a substantial loss for the public interest and public transparency,” she said.

Ghaly’s critics had a less charitable view, saying .................