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So, I was reading about the inability of the City Council to vote on the proposed SEC settlement and it seemed to have something to do with possible “conflicts of interests” by some councilmembers.

There is apparently a procedure for dealing with such situations called “The Rule of Necessity” which allows all unconflicted members to vote along with some, but not all, of the members with conflicts. This allows a body with these kinds of problems to actually accomplish its business in a legal manner.

But, I was reminded of another approach which was taken by the Pension Board a couple of years ago when some members really, really wanted to approve the Gleason Settlement (the latest back loading deal), but virtually all of the board save for a few had conflicts and it appeared that the board members without conflicts would not support the settlement. So, the geniuses at the Pension Board came up with what was later described as the “Big Pink Eraser.” This was the resolution which simply materialized without anyone claiming authorship, the substance of which was that the board would vote to “abrogate” the state’s prohibition on conflict of interest voting under Government Code 1090 et al. In other words, the Pension Board just voted to exempt itself from the state law that applies to everybody else.

In the end, I’m not sure that they pulled this one off.

But, it’ll be interesting to see if the council puts in a call to get the Big Pink Eraser.

PAT SHEA

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