Fallbrook Public Utility District (FPUD) board member Archie McPhee was formally admonished at the district’s March 25 meeting, for what has been reported as “violating the District’s Ethics Policy and the Brown Act by disclosing confidential Closed Session information.” The action was summarized in Resolution No. 4784, and reportedly passed by the board in a 4-1 vote, with McPhee opposed.
FPUD general manager Brian Brady explained the possible ramifications for McPhee due to the resolution.
“If a board member keeps doing [these actions], it allows for recourse, sanctions which could include a board member not being allowed to go to conferences at district expense, not getting meeting fees for attending board meetings, and so on,” said Brady. “The board member can’t be removed from their seat by the board. The only way that can be done is through a public vote.”
Documents reflect that the board’s personnel committee met Feb. 6 to “investigate possible violations of the district’s ethics policy and the Brown Act by Director McPhee.” A memorandum distributed after that, stated that “after review of the evidence presented, the personnel committee recommended adopting a resolution admonishing Director McPhee for violations of the District’s Ethics Policy and the Brown Act by disclosing confidential Closed Session information.”
In a telephone interview, McPhee said the information involved Brady’s resume. McPhee claims the document was available on and submitted through the Internet. (When this newspaper checked, it appeared summaries of Brady’s accomplishments and experience are available on the Internet, although the exact document in question may be different). The resume was also contained within a booklet of resumes a recruiting firm had compiled for the board when a new general manager was being sought. Brady was ultimately hired for the position.
“They claimed I was supposed to turn the booklet back in, but they never asked for it, and it was never presented as confidential,” said McPhee.
McPhee was also chastised for sending a correspondence to an FPUD employee that reportedly contained confidential information discussed in Closed Session.
The correspondence, McPhee said, was the result of a communication initiated by the employee.
“They bullying tactics and misrepresentations must stop,” said McPhee. “I was contacted first and I have the right to reply to the original contact person. I also have the right to reply to the bullying tactics of any employee of FPUD and that is exactly what I did to stop this bullying by other FPUD directors and also by the bullying by some employees of FPUD.”
The matter was placed on the agenda of the Feb. 25 board meeting, but postponed to March 25, “to allow Director McPhee to gather, submit, and present evidence and testimony in his behalf.”
The resulting resolution (No. 4784) stated, “Director McPhee authored letters and emails to FPUD staff dated December 18, 2012, January 8, 2013, and January 24, 2013, which, in part, disclosed confidential closed session information