It was several months ago when architect Clay Aurell, of AB Design Studio, and a member of the Architectural Board of Review (ABR), represented a client at the same time he lobbied for her project to Santa Barbara City staffers. The project on West Mission Street was one of the more contentious ones the City has seen in a while—a topic which set and still holds the record for comments on Santa Barbara View).
As a public official who also had an economic interest in the project he was pushing, Aurell was accused of a conflict of interest, for using his influence as an ABR member to put pressure on City staff to move the project forward. He ultimately resigned from the ABR, but a complaint was filed with the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPCC), as exclusively reported here.
Today, the case is on the FPPC agenda, with reports recommending a $3,500 fine (out of a possible $5,000). The exhibit (PDF right) concludes with the comment, “Respondent [Aurell] should have known that such use of his official position would be in violation of the Act.” Aurell has submitted a stipulation (PDF left) in agreement that he did so.
The question: What, if any, is the penalty for City staff who went along with Clay’s requests and acted unethically along with Aurell?