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2 Lafayette Street, Suite 1010 New York, New York 10007 (212) 442-1400 Fax: (212) 442-1407 TDD: (212) 442-1443
Steven B. Rosenfeld Chair/Board Member
June 29, 2011 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monica Blum Board Member Andrew Irving Board Member Burton Lehman Board Member ____________ Mark Davies Executive Director Wayne G. Hawley Deputy Executive Director & General Counsel Carolyn Lisa Miller Director of Enforcement Julia Davis Special Counsel & Director of Financial Disclosure Alex Kipp Director of Training & Education Ute O’Malley Director of Administration Derick Yu Director of Information Technology
FORMER NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION TEACHER FINED $4,000 FOR OWNING A FIRM DOING BUSINESS WITH THE DOE AND COMMUNICATING WITH THE DOE ON BEHALF OF THE FIRM BOTH WHILE EMPLOYED AT DOE AND WITHIN ONE YEAR OF LEAVING THE DOE. The New York City Conflicts of Interest Board (the “Board”) and the New York City Department of Education (“DOE”) have concluded a threeway settlement with a former DOE Teacher who owns a firm doing business with the DOE and who appeared before the DOE on behalf of the firm while employed at the DOE and during his first year of post-City employment. The former Teacher admitted that, in Summer 2009, he created a firm to market a software program he had developed, which, among other things, tracks student performance. The Firm engaged in business dealings with the DOE both by contracting with schools individually and by contracting with two DOE vendors, one of which vendors operated the school at which the former Teacher was employed. The former Teacher admitted that his conduct violated the City of New York’s conflicts of interest law, which, among other things, prohibits a public servant from: (a) having an ownership interest in a firm engaged in business dealings with his or her City agency; (b) using or attempting to use his or her position as a public servant to obtain any financial gain, contract, license, privilege, or other private or personal advantage, direct or indirect, for the public servant or any person or firm associated with the public servant; and (c) representing private interests before any City agency. In or around October 2010, the former Teacher learned that his ownership interest in, and communications with the DOE on behalf of, the Firm, might be prohibited by the City’s conflicts of interest law. On November 15, 2010, the former Teacher resigned from the DOE in an attempt to resolve any possible conflicts of interest between his City employment and ownership of the Firm. After resigning from the DOE, the former Teacher continued to communicate with those DOE schools that had purchased the software. The former Teacher admitted that this conduct violated the City’s conflicts of interest law, which prohibits a former public
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servant from “appearing” before his or her former agency within one year of terminating employment with that agency. “Appearing” under the City’s conflicts of interest law includes making telephone calls, writing e-mails, and attending meetings, all for compensation. The Board fined the former Teacher $4,000. In setting the amount of the fine, the Board took into consideration that, upon learning of his possible conflict of interest, the former Teacher resigned from the DOE in an attempt to end his prohibited conduct and that, upon being informed of the possible post-employment conflict of interest, the former Teacher immediately contacted the DOE Ethics Officer and, at her request, took steps to end all his post-employment appearances before DOE and reported his conduct to the Board. A copy of the disposition is attached. The Board took the occasion of this disposition to remind public servants that, while in City service, they are prohibited from having an ownership interest in a firm that does business with their own agency, including as a subcontractor where the firm has direct contact with, and responsibility to the City on, projects for which it was the subcontractor. The Board also reminded public servants that they are prohibited from appearing before any City agency on behalf of that private business and that, after they leave City service, they are prohibited from communicating with their former City agencies for one year on behalf of their private businesses. The Conflicts of Interest Board is the City’s ethics board and is responsible for enforcing Chapter 68 of the New York City Charter, the City’s conflicts of interest law. The Board is composed of five members, appointed by the Mayor with the advice and consent of the City Council. Board penalties are civil fines. Public servants who have any questions about the City’s conflicts of interest law are urged to contact the Board, which can be reached at (212) 442-1400. Vanessa Legagneur, Associate Counsel, handled this case for the Board. Samantha Biletsky, Senior Counsel and Ethics Officer, handled this case for the DOE. The Board does not comment on Board dispositions, except as set forth above. For copies of any additional public documents, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.