Incompatible Offices (Conflict of Interest)

Legislative Counsel issues legal opinion:  Two California High Speed Rail Authority members have a Conflict of Interest

In a letter dated April 23rd, 2010, Legislative Counsel Diane Boyer-Vine (state legislature’s lawyer) sent a letter to Secretary of the Senate Gregory Schmidt, indicating that there are two current members of the board of the California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) that are holding incompatible offices.  The six page letter states that in her legal opinion, “an individual who is Mayor of the City of Anaheim or a voting member of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority may not simultaneously serve as a member of the High-Speed Rail Authority under the common law doctrine of incompatibility of public offices that is now codified in Section 1099 of the Government Code.”

CHSRA Chair Curt Pringle is also the Mayor of Anaheim and an Orange County Transportation Authority (“OCTA”) board member. CHSRA board member Richard Katz is also a board member of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (“LA Metro”) and a board member of Metrolink.

Section 1099 of the Government Code states: “When two public offices are incompatible, a public officer shall be deemed to have forfeited the first office upon acceding to the second.”

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