California State Controller Betty T. Yee proposed new rules last month that aim to prevent conflicts of interest and other ethical lapses by members of California’s tax board. Yee wants these new rules in place while the tax board awaits the results of investigations into allegations of mismanagement by the state Department of Justice. Governor Jerry Brown had already stripped the state Board of Equalization of hiring and contracting powers and he even asked Attorney General Xavier Becerra to investigate allegations that board members improperly transferred and used board employees for political purposes. Yee states,

Clearly, a governance policy is urgently needed to create board member oversight, accountability and efficiency. While I continue to work with the Legislature and the governor to craft comprehensive [Board of Equalization] reforms, a new governance policy will help guide the board toward more ethical decision-making.

According to Yee’s proposed policy,

Individual board members are not to become involved in operational management and should not participate in routine staff meetings or other staff activities unless specifically requested by the executive director.

The policy would also prohibit board members from accepting gifts from special interests because it could pose a conflict of interest. We will have to wait and see if Yee’s proposed policy is adopted.

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