La Crosse County Ethics Board
County Administrative Center,
400 N. Fourth Street
La Crosse, WI 54601
RE: In re Steve O’Malley’s Ethics Violations
Dear Board Members:
Steve O’Malley broke the law. La Crosse County Ordinance 3.28(2)(i) (j)states:
In general, the following political activities by employees are prohibited….
(i) Directly or indirectly soliciting or receiving subscriptions or contributions for any political party or any political purpose while in a building, office or room occupied for any purpose by the County.
(j)Either orally soliciting or by letter transmitting any solicitation to a County office or be in any manner concerned in soliciting any assistance, subscription or support for any political party or purpose from any person holding any position with the La Crosse County while on County time or engaged in official duties.
La Crosse County Ordinance 3.24(1) (d)
(d) The internet and County e-mail systems shall not be used to solicit advertise or expound on commercials ventures, religious, political or other causes, or any non-job-related issue(s)…
First we need to make it clear that this is not the first time that Steve O’Malley, has used his email account unethically. There is a pattern of abuse. On Feb 24 2011 Steve O’Malley sent an e-mail to all county employees which included several statements that were clear partisan attacks on Scott Walker.
Second, the extensive volume of email traffic [422pgs] with documented times shown, clearly indicates that an enormous amount of time of Steve O’Malley’s and other employees contracted time was spent on this project.
Third, a non profit, [ICMA], opinion has absolutely and unequivocally NO bearing on state statutes, county ordinances and rules of conduct.
La Crosse County Ordinance 2.04, which fully incorporates Wis. Stat. § 19.59, has additional ordinances that Mr. O’Malley broke. Section 2.04(7)(a) states that you cannot use government resources for “unauthorized non-governmental purposes or for unauthorized personal convenience or for profit, unless such services or use are available to the general public and are consistent with practices and policies of the county.” We argue that Mr. O’Malley’s flagrant abuse of his power was both an unauthorized non-governmental purpose and for his unauthorized personal convenience.
Ordinance Section 2.04(7)(b) states, “An official or employee shall not grant or receive any special consideration, treatment or advantage beyond that which is available to every other citizen.” The e-mails are littered with government time being used to assist a select few people accomplish goals that are consistent with Mr. O’Malley’s beliefs. Again we are arguing that his abuse of power breached this section as well. It can also be argued that Mr. O’Malley received value from his activities in pushing his own agenda on the City of La Crosse as well as using his office to coerce, influence, and directly or indirectly affect a political action.
To dispute this charge, Mr. O’Malley cites an opinion of a non-governmental and non-profit institution known as the ICMA, which carries no legal weight against the overwhelming evidence against him.
His haste in requesting the county ethics committee for a ruling on his activities indicates his trepidation in this matter.
We believe that Steve O’Malley acted in such a manner that sufficiently interfered with his own contracted duties, and while on duty, and on county property, inside and outside normal business hours, did directly and indirectly solicit, receive, collected, handled, disbursed, and accounted for contributions and other funds for a political purpose.
Further Steve O’Malley, using his position of governmental influence as a sole administrative spokesman for La Crosse county did influence, and directly or indirectly affect a political action. We believe that Steve O’Malley acted in a such a manner as to not serve as a role model for other county employees, directly implicated and involved other county employees, failed to properly supervise his and other employees compliance of county rules and such conduct interfered with the efficient, timely discharge of his own and other employees contracted duties.
Mr. O’Malley stated falsely in his original letter to the ethics board that he did not use his support staff. We have included in this complaint copies of emails where Mr. O’Malley clearly made use of his assistant Terri Pavlic.
We ask that the ethics committee review all 422 pages of the original open records request which include Mr. O’Malley’s email communication involving the issue of La Crosse City Administrator referendum before any ethics hearing is conducted. We ask that Mr. O’Malley return a portion of his salary in proportion to the amount of time he spent on the City Of La Crosse’s City Administrator issue, $1,000 fine, and mandatory ethics classes on top of any other form of justice that the Ethics Board considers.
Included with this letter is a packet for you that is just a sampling of the many emails Mr. O'Malley did send from his county email account.