A longtime Placentia city councilman who serves on the Orange County Sanitation District board has agreed to pay a $6,500 fine for illegally accepting a campaign donation from an engineering firm just days after voting to approve two contracts benefiting the company.
Councilman Norman Z. Eckenrode admitted violating the state Political Reform Act during an enforcement action by the Fair Political Practices Commission, records show. The state watchdog agency is scheduled to approve the fine Sept. 12.
“I told them I had made an inadvertent mistake, and they told me I had broken the rules. Now I have to pay the piper,” said Eckenrode, who has been a member of the Placentia council and sanitation board since 1990.
The Political Reform Act prohibits policymakers from accepting campaign donations of more than $250 within three months of voting on matters that affect their donors financially.
Eckenrode admitted accepting a $1,000 donation from Camp, Dresser & McKee Inc., a Carlsbad firm, on Oct. 29, 2003, seven days after voting on two sanitation district contracts for the company. The donation went to the councilman’s campaign for an Orange County Water District seat.
Eckenrode voted in favor of a $3.2-million agreement with Camp, Dresser for engineering services related to an overhaul of the sanitation district’s odor control facilities.
The other matter involved a $305,000 increase in the company’s $33.5-million contract to design a groundwater replenishment system.