Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Symmetry (of lack thereof)
A doctor on the University of California’s Board of Regents has been allowed to keep his seat despite a secret investigation that concluded he violated ethics rules by trying to strike a financially beneficial deal between his eye clinics and UCLA, part of the university system the regents oversee.
Dr. William De La Peña also engaged in discussions about a prominent eye center affiliation involving UCLA even after recusing himself, an investigation found. At the time, he was chairman of the regents’ health services committee.
A (redacted) March 2015 letter from Daniel M. Dooley, who was appointed by the UC to oversee the investigation of whistleblower complaints against De La Peña, summarized the findings of an outside investigator hired by UC. Dooley concluded that De La Peña violated the board’s conflict of interest rules and that his behavior “clearly constitutes an improper governmental activity.”**
[Note: Dooley is an executive at UCOP.]
Copies of the letter, which was obtained by ProPublica, were sent for possible action to UC President Janet Napolitano and then-Regents Chairman Bruce D. Varner, but the findings were not made public.
In response, De La Peña resigned from the health committee and gave up its chairmanship on April 2, 2015 “in the best interests of the university.” Yet he remains a member of the overall governing board, eligible to vote on items involving UC medical centers. His term expires in 2018.
Asked why the inquiry’s conclusions — or even its existence — had been kept confidential until ProPublica asked about them, UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein wrote in an email, “The outcomes of whistleblower investigations are not routinely announced publicly.”
“The investigation was carried out according to UC policy,” she wrote. “His resignation [from the committee] was consistent with what sanction the investigation recommended.”...***
But wait! There's more from ProPublica:
Will this matter be discussed at the upcoming Regents meetings? There is a closed session of Compliance and Audit scheduled, but exactly what is on the agenda is, of courses, unknown. It may be too late, in any case, for this matter to be discussed at the May meetings.