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December 21, 2007
Ethics Board Director retires, New Director Announced

OLYMPIA—Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna has selected attorney Melanie de Leon to head the state Executive Ethics Board, replacing Susan Harris, who is retiring at the end of the year.

“Susan Harris has done a great job wiping out the backlog of executive ethics board cases and strengthening outreach to state employees,” McKenna said. “I was fortunate to hire her early in my term and she accomplished every goal I set forth.”

Harris began her state service in 1975 with the then Department of Motor Vehicles. She joined the Public Disclosure Commission in 1977 and spent the next 28 years with that agency-- the last five as Assistant Director. McKenna recruited Harris to serve as Executive Director of the Executive Ethics Board in 2005 when he took office.  Since then she’s launched a new, more user-friendly Web site—including an “Ethics Quiz” for state employees-- and reduced the backlog of cases by more than 100. Her last day is Dec. 28.

Melanie de Leon joins the Executive Ethics Board on Jan. 1, 2008, after serving most recently as a staff attorney with the state Department of Health. From 2001 to 2007, de Leon worked in the Attorney General’s Office Government Compliance and Enforcement and Social and Health Services divisions.  She was the Juvenile Litigation Team Section Chief of the latter, supervising a staff litigating child abuse and neglect cases in Lewis, Mason and Thurston counties. She is also a former member of the United States Air Force where she developed and led training seminars on Total Quality Management and facilitated process improvement teams.

“Melanie has tremendous management experience, she’s an outstanding lawyer and she has a long record of service both for her country and for our state,” McKenna said. “She was an excellent choice to continue Susan’s legacy.”

She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration from the University of Puget Sound.  She earned her law degree from Seattle University.

The Executive Ethics Board and its staff investigate ethic complaints of executive state officials and agencies. The board’s authority also extends to interpreting and enforcing the ethics law, imposing sanctions for violations of the ethics law, developing educational materials, providing ethics training, and issuing formal advisory opinions.


Media Contact: J. Ryan Shannon, Media Relations Manager, (360) 753-2727


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