Commission Resolves Charge Against State Maintenance Supervisor
Resolution of Charge 2013-3 (Charge No. 13-Cg-9) Gift from State Vendor
Dated: November 20, 2013
Posted: January, 2014 (excerpts)
…On August 21, 2013, the State Ethics Commission issued Charge No. 13-Cg-9 (“Charge”) against John Doe, a maintenance supervisor employed by the Department of Education (“DOE”). The Charge alleged that John Doe violated Hawaii Revised Statutes (“HRS”) section 84-11, the Gifts Law, by accepting a damaged riding lawnmower from a DOE vendor and HRS section 84-11.5, the Gifts Disclosure Law, for failing to file a gifts disclosure statement reporting the gift. John Doe filed an answer to the Charge on September 19, 2013. Although John Doe denies knowing that his acceptance of the lawnmower may have violated the State Ethics Code, he generally does not contest the factual allegations in the Charge, which are repeated herein, and has agreed to a resolution of the Charge. As part of that resolution, John Doe has paid an administrative fine of $500 to the State of Hawaii.…
Based on information obtained in the course of its investigation, including John Doe’s response to the Charge, the Commission understood the facts to be as follows. John Doe is a maintenance supervisor with the DOE. Although he is not involved in selecting vendors, he does have a role in determining whether equipment is needed and in providing general specifications as to the type of equipment required. As part of the procurement process, he regularly meets with sales agents to discuss their companies’ equipment.
In 2008, John Doe accepted a damaged riding lawnmower from a sales agent for a company that, in the past, has sold maintenance equipment to the DOE and continues to be a DOE vendor. According to the sales agent, the lawnmower had been damaged in shipping and had been sitting in storage at the company for some years. The company directed the sales agent to either dispose of it or give it away. The lawnmower was delivered to John Doe at his DOE workplace on a neighbor island. The lawnmower was given to John Doe for his personal use and was not intended as a gift or donation to the DOE.
The cost of a new and undamaged lawnmower of this type was between $10,000 and $13,000. However, the lawnmower that John Doe received was damaged. Specifically, according to John Doe, the frame was bent, the radiator was damaged, certain parts were missing and there was no cutting deck. John Doe asserted that he spent his own time and money to repair the lawnmower….
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