September 21, 2010
The State Ethics Commission and Thomas Kokernak ("Kokernak") enter into this Disposition Agreement pursuant to Section 5 of the Commission's Enforcement Procedures. This Agreement constitutes a consented-to final order enforceable in the Superior Court, pursuant to G.L. c. 268B, § 4(j).
On June 18, 2010, the Commission initiated, pursuant to G.L. c. 268B, § 4(a), a preliminary inquiry into possible violations of the conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A, by Kokernak. On September 10, 2010, the Commission concluded its inquiry and found reasonable cause to believe that Kokernak violated G.L. c. 268A.
The Commission and Kokernak now agree to the following findings of fact and conclusions of law:
Findings of Fact
1. At all relevant times, Kokernak was a lieutenant in the Town of Sterling
("Town") Fire Department ("SFD").
2. As an SFD lieutenant, Kokernak is a municipal employee as defined in G.L. c 268A, §1(g).
3. Kokernak and his wife own and operate F&T Products, a company that markets decorative leather emblem shields for the front of fire helmets.
4. Between 2008 and 2010, the Town issued payments totaling $1,683.70 to F&T Products for the purchase of emblem shields. (Town invoices show purchases of $240 on September 8, 2008; $1,140 on February 18, 2009; and $303.70 on February 25, 2010, from F&T Products.)
5. Kokernak's profit on F&T Products' sale of products to the Town was
6. F&T Products no longer sells products to the Town.
Conclusions of Law
7. Section 20 prohibits a municipal employee from having a financial interest, directly or indirectly, in a contract made by his municipality, in which the municipality is an interested party, and of which financial interest he knows or has reason to know.
8. Each of the above described sales of products to the Town by F&T Products was a contract.
9. Each of the contracts was made by the Town, and the Town was an interested party in each of the contracts.
10. Kokernak knew he had a financial interest in each of the contracts.
11. There are a number of exemptions in § 20, but none are applicable here.
12. Therefore, as a municipal employee, by on three occasions knowingly having a financial interest in a contract made by the Town in which the Town was an interested party, Kokernak violated § 20.
In view of the foregoing violations of G.L. c. 268A by Kokernak, the Commission has determined that the public interest would be served by the disposition of this matter without further enforcement proceedings, based on the following terms and conditions agreed to by Kokernak:
(1) that Kokernak pay to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, with such payment delivered to the Commission, the sum of $500 as a civil penalty for violating G.L. c. 268A, § 20;
(2) that Kokernak pay to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, with such payment delivered to the Commission, the sum of $400 as a civil forfeiture of the profit he earned in selling products to the Town; and
(3) that Kokernak waive all rights to contest, in this or any other administrative or judicial proceeding to which the Commission is or may be a party, the findings of fact, conclusions of law and terms and conditions contained in this Agreement.
STATE ETHICS COMMISSION
__ //signed//___________ 8/12/10___ __ //signed//____________ 9/21/10__
Thomas Kokernak Date Karen L. Nober Date
I, Thomas Kokernak, have personally read the above Disposition Agreement. I understand that it is a public document and that by signing it, I will have agreed to all of the terms and conditions therein, including payment of $900 to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, with such payment delivered to the State Ethics Commission.
__ //signed//__________ 8/12/10__
Thomas Kokernak Date