So it appears as though Councilwoman Toni Atkins has decided to withdraw her application to become the CEO of the city’s Housing Commission.
Looks like the city’s ethics laws would have prevented her from getting the gig anyway. Atkins applied for the job but she is a member of the City Council. The City Council also serves as the board of directors for the Housing Authority. The Housing Authority is setting up the process to hire a new CEO of the Housing Commission.
And state law prohibits a government body, like the Housing Authority, from signing a contract when one of its members has a direct financial interest in that contract. It doesn’t matter whether that person recuses herself or doesn’t show up to the meetings.
The Ethics Commission, you remember, had told Atkins that she should refrain from participating in discussions about the Housing Authority while she was applying for the job.
The commission’s executive director, Stacey Fulhorst, said that after they advised Atkins on the matter, the commission learned about the process the City Council goes through to hire a new Housing Commission CEO — that it might be more involved than they thought. When they were informed that the state law 1090 regulating conflicts of interest might also be a problem, they produced an amended letter. Atkins had already withdrawn her application, though.
“We weren’t asked about 1090 nor were we provided with the facts regarding the City Council’s involvement in recruiting and filling the position,” Fulhorst said.
I called Atkins for comment today. Her aide said she will make a statement about it this afternoon at City Council. The council is set to do some work as the Housing Authority as a matter of fact and she’d like to clear it all up.