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Ethics Program Report: AB 1234 Implementation Is a Key Priority

During the past six months, the Institute for Local Government (ILG) has made helping local agencies with AB 1234 implementation and compliance a key priority. AB 1234 is the new law that mandates ethics training for specified local elected and appointed officials, and imposes certain requirements with respect to local agency expense reimbursement practices.

First Steps: Generate Resources
 
ILG’s first priority was making sure local agency officials’ questions were answered about AB 1234 requirements. In addition to addressing these, ILG published a number of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on AB 11 and SB 8. AB 11 is the new law related to city official compensation, and SB 8 is the new revolving door law. These FAQs are available on the ILG special webpage with AB 1234-related resources at www.ca-ilg.org/ab1234compliance.
 
Originally published in 2004, ILG’s sample reimbursement policy has been updated to reflect AB 1234 requirements. It also posted other agencies’ policies on its website to serve as a reference for local agencies that are drafting their own policies (www.ca-ilg.org/AB1234compliance).
Recently, ILG produced a new pamphlet titled Doing the Right Thing: Putting Ethics Principles Into Practice in Public Service. This pamphlet was designed to meet the requirements that AB 1234 ethics education activities cover both ethics laws and ethics principles.
 
Ethics Train-the-Trainer Program A Success
 
ILG organized a very successful “train-the-trainer” session for local agency counsel following the City Attorneys Spring Conference in May. More than 80 local agency counsel attended and received ILG’s AB 1234 Instructor’s Manual and CD with sample forms and PowerPoint slides. Those resources are also available to local agency counsel through CityBooks and ILG’s publications sales program.
 
The instructional materials represent a new way of thinking about ethics education, reflecting in large measure the recommendations of the League’s Ethics Education Task Force, which include emphasizing examples and consequences of ethical lapses.
 
Self-Study Options Available
 
ILG published two self-study opportunities for AB 1234 compliance in the April and June editions of Western City. They are available at www.ca-ilg.org/ab1234compliance.  
 
In-Person Training Popular, Too
 
In collaboration with League divisions, individual agencies and other local agency associations (and of course at League conferences), ILG has been offering in-person AB 1234 training to local officials. With present commitments, it appears that ILG will help some 2,800 officials comply with AB 1234’s training requirements through in-person training, which has been well received. As one attendee from a Santa Rosa session candidly shared, “I came expecting to be bored and antsy about the time spent, but I left with a sincere appreciation for the information and its very professional presentation.”
 
ILG is honored that law firms and other local agency associations have been using its publications as handouts at their own AB 1234 training sessions — a gesture that has helped support ILG’s mission of providing resources to help local officials in their service to their communities. The revenue from publications sales, self-study activities and in-person training have provided vital financial support for ILG’s ethics program.
Coming Soon: Online Training And More
 
ILG has been collaborating with the attorney general, Fair Political Practices Commission and County of Monterey to produce an online training program that will help local officials satisfy AB 1234 requirements. Thanks are due to the AT&T (formerly SBC) Foundation for supporting this effort.
 
More information about these and other AB 1234 resources are available on the ILG website at www.ca-ilg.org/ab1234compliance.
 
It’s been a busy year for ILG’s ethics pro-gram, and there’s more to come. Keep posted on ethics activities by periodically visiting ILG’s Ethics Resource Center at www.ca-ilg.org/trust.