Chapter 2.29


2.29.010    Purpose.

2.29.020    Definitions.

2.29.030    Restrictions on former County employees engaging in lobbying activities.

2.29.040    Remedies.

2.29.050    Prospective application.

2.29.060    Severability.

2.29.010 Purpose.

This chapter shall be known as and may be cited as “The Santa Cruz County Post-Employment Lobbying Regulation Ordinance.” The legislative intent of the Board of Supervisors in enacting the ordinance codified in this chapter is to protect the public from the potential conflict of interest and harm that may occur when former County elected or appointed officials or former employees use their former County positions, or use information gained by way of their former positions which is not readily available to or accessible by the public, to influence an outcome for their own private economic advantage or gain. [Ord. 5395 § 1, 2022].

2.29.020 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter the words and terms below are defined as follows:

(A)    “County” means the County of Santa Cruz.

(B)    “County administrative agency” means and includes every County elected or appointed official, employee, department, division, agency, bureau, board, and commission, including joint powers agencies which the County is a member of, but does not include the courts or any agency in the judicial branch of government.

(C)    “County employee” includes elected or appointed County officials and nonelected persons employed by the County.

(D)    “County proceeding” means any administrative, legislative, quasi-judicial, or other proceeding, application, request for approval, ruling, enactment, determination, contract, claim, controversy, investigation, charge, accusation, arrest, or other particular matter involving the County and includes, but is not limited to, administrative or adjudicatory proceedings involving the issuance, amendment, awarding, or revocation of a permit, license, grant, or contract, or the sale or purchase of goods or property.

(E)    “Lobby” or “lobbying” means to either officially or informally represent, act as an agent or attorney for, communicate orally or in writing for, or advise, aid, counsel, or assist in advocating or supporting the position of any person involved in a County proceeding before a County administrative agency, in exchange for compensation.

(F)    “Person” means an individual, partnership, limited partnership, trust, estate, association, corporation, or other entity. [Ord. 5395 § 1, 2022].

2.29.030 Restrictions on former County employees engaging in lobbying activities.

(A)    Former County employees are prohibited, for a period of one year from their last day of employment with the County, from engaging in lobbying activities on any issue related to or involving the subject matter of their former employment.

(B)    Exemptions. The prohibition described above shall not apply:

(1)    To prevent any former County employee from making or providing a statement based on their own special knowledge in the particular area that is the subject of the statement, provided that no compensation is thereby received other than that regularly provided for by law or regulation for witnesses;

(2)    To any former County employee who has left County employment for other government service or employment, during the time they serve or are employed in that capacity; or

(3)    To any former County employee acting at the request of the County, where:

(a)    The former County employee has outstanding and otherwise unavailable qualifications;

(b)    The former County employee is acting with respect to a particular matter which requires such qualifications;

(c)    The public interest would be served by the participation of the former County employee; and

(d)    The County Administrative Officer or a County department head documents these findings in writing. [Ord. 5395 § 1, 2022].

2.29.040 Remedies.

(A)    Exclusion of Violator—Petition—Hearing. Based on its own determination or upon the petition of any interested person or party, the County may, after notice and an opportunity for a hearing before the County Administrative Officer or their designee, exclude any person found to be in violation of this chapter from further participation in a relevant County proceeding, or from assisting or counseling any other participant in the County proceeding.

(B)    Civil Action. Any interested person may initiate a civil action to prevent violation of this chapter or enforce its provisions. If a person in such civil action is found to be in violation of this chapter, such person shall be required by the court to pay any compensation received back to the payor and shall also pay a civil fine in an amount not to exceed $1,000 for a first violation and in an amount not to exceed $10,000 for a second or additional violation. Such civil fines shall be payable to the County Auditor-Controller-Treasurer-Tax Collector. Any person initiating civil action pursuant to this section shall file a copy of the complaint with the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors within 10 calendar days of filing with the court. [Ord. 5395 § 1, 2022].

2.29.050 Prospective application.

The requirements imposed by this chapter shall not apply to any person who left County employment or service prior to the effective date of the ordinance codifying this chapter, except that any such person who returns to County employment or service on or after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter shall thereafter be regulated by its provisions. [Ord. 5395 § 1, 2022].

2.29.060 Severability.

The provisions of this chapter are severable. If any section, paragraph, sentence, phrase, or word of this chapter is declared invalid for any reason by a court of competent jurisdiction, such determination of invalidity shall not affect the validity of any other portion of this chapter, which shall remain in full force and effect. [Ord. 5395 § 1, 2022].