Local News

Political Reform Act compliance clinic set

By March 11, 2011

Yolo County officials will host a clinic Wednesday evening on how to fill out Form 700, which discloses public officials' financial interests and relationships. Courtesy photo

Public agency officials who must disclose financial interests and relationships as required by the Political Reform Act are invited to a clinic Wednesday offered by Yolo County Supervisor Jim Provenza and Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney Michael Cabral.

“The Public Needs to Know — How to Avoid Violating the Political Reform Act” is open to all elected officials, appointed members of boards and commissions, public agency managers and interested community members. It will begin at 7 p.m. in the conference room at Provenza’s district office, 600 A St. in Davis.

The Political Reform Act was established to ensure that public officials — elected, appointed or hired — perform their duties free of bias caused by their own financial interests or those of the people who support them. Each year, officials must file a statement of economic interests on Form 700, and must abide by Government Code 1090 in avoiding conflicts of interest. Gifts, income, assets and more must be disclosed.

“An official’s failure to disclose potential conflicts of interest could result in the official being subjected to civil and criminal penalties, being barred from holding future public office, and result in the nullification of government contracts,” Cabral said in a news release.

“Our goal is to ensure that all officials know and understand their obligations under the Political Reform Act so that their decisions are made with the transparency the Political Reform Act requires.”

According to Supervisor Provenza, “It is critical to keep the trust of the community and act with transparency. However, the reporting requirements can be very complex. An otherwise honest local official can unknowingly violate the law if he or she is not familiar with the requirements of the law and the rulings of the Fair Political Practices Commission.

“That is why I am pleased to team up with the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office to help guide public officials through the process and help answer any questions they may have. “

Cabral specializes in public corruption prosecution and leads Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig’s Public Corruption Unit. Provenza works as a special assistant to the Los Angeles district attorney.

Added Reisig, “We’re committed to enforcing transparency and accountability. But ultimately, our goal is to prevent crimes or infractions from occurring, and I’m pleased Cabral and Provenza are partnering to share their expertise on the rules.”

The filing deadline for the Form 700 is April 1.

Enterprise staff

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