CARLSBAD — Former school board member Kelli Moors is facing a fine from the FPPC (Fair Political Practices Commission) for violating state law.
Last July, Moors voted as a member of the CUSD (Carlsbad Unified School District) Board to approve a contract with the law firm Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost, LLP.
Moors, however, had been offered a full-time position in the firm’s client services department a day before the vote.
The $100,000 contract that was voted on secured the firm’s legal services for the 2013-14 school year. All of the CUSD Board members voted unanimously to approve the contract.
Less than two weeks after the vote, Moors announced she was retiring from the school board after accepting the law firm position.
The FPPC pursued an investigation on the firm’s contract based on the timing of her hiring and the awarding of the contract.
The Commission determined that Moors’ actions violated state law, which forbids public officials from making governmental decisions that influence any entity where they are seeking employment.
The FPPC staff and Moors have agreed on a stipulation to resolve the matter with a $4,000 penalty. The maximum FPPC fine for misdemeanor criminal violations is $5,000.
The Commission will vote whether to accept the stipulation at its Jan. 16 meeting.
“I regret the consequences caused by a judgment call that I made while serving on the Board, but I am pleased to see the District and firm put this behind them and move on,” Moors said in a response.
Moors was elected to the CUSD Board in 2000 and served for 12 years. She previously violated state law by failing to file a semi-annual campaign statement in time for the November 2000 school board election and was fined $1,000 by the FPPC.
She pursued a position with Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost, LLP after she was laid off from her position with Tri-City Medical Center in March 2013.
The school district has contracted with the law firm since 2006 to work on special education and employment matters. Fearing accusations of conflict of interests, the Board voted to cancel its contract with the firm on Sept. 11, 2013 after Moors retired.
The CUSD Board appointed PTA leader Claudine Jones to fill Moors’ seat until the November 2014 election.