For Immediate Release - March 20, 2006

Former Massachusetts Labor Director Angelo R. Buonopane Pays $28,000 for Taking Unauthorized Vacation and Personal Time

$10,000 civil penalty, $18,000 forfeiture represents highest total penalty for an individual in Commission's history

The Massachusetts State Ethics Commission fined former Massachusetts Labor Director Angelo R. Buonopane a total of $28,000 for violating the state's conflict of interest law, M.G.L. c. 268A, by taking approximately $18,000 in unauthorized vacation/personal time compensation. Buonopane paid a $10,000 civil penalty and $18,000 as a civil forfeiture, the value of the unearned vacation/personal time compensation he received.

According to the Disposition Agreement, Buonopane was entitled to four weeks vacation and three personal days annually. During his tenure as Labor Director, he submitted timesheets which resulted in his receiving approximately eight additional weeks of leave time in excess of what was properly available to him. Buonopane resigned from his position in April 2005 when allegations about his excessive leave time became public.

Section 23(b)(2) of the conflict law prohibits a public employee from using or attempting to use his position to secure for himself or others an unwarranted privilege of substantial value not properly available to similarly situated individuals. By taking $18,000 in compensation for vacation and personal time, Buonopane used his Labor Director position to get an unwarranted privilege.

This marks the second time in the past two years that the Commission has imposed significant penalties, including sizeable forfeitures, on public employees who are 'low-show' employees. In November, 2004, the Commission fined a municipal employee $15,000, $5,000 of which was a civil penalty and $10,000 of which was paid to the town to reimburse the town for unearned payments the employee was not entitled to receive.

"High ranking officials set the standard for their employees and those who look to them for guidance," said Executive Director Peter Sturges. "For the Commonwealth's Labor Director to abuse the basic terms and conditions of his employment contract warrants nothing less than the largest single payment paid by an individual in the Commission's history."