For Immediate Release - September 24, 2006

Former North Andover Superintendent Harry K. Harutunian $6,000 for Creating a Job for his Girlfriend's Son

The Massachusetts State Ethics Commission fined Former North Andover Superintendent Harry K. Harutunian $6,000 for violating the state's conflict of interest law, M.G.L. c. 268A, by improperly creating a part-time custodial job for the son of his girlfriend, directing school custodians to transport the son to and from work and covering up his actions to create the job.

According to the Disposition Agreement, in fall 2005, a school department employee became Harutunian's girlfriend. Her son attended North Andover High School. Harutunian created a position for his girlfriend's son as a part-time, after-school janitor at the middle school. The position paid $10.50 per hour; the son earned a total of $540 during the 2005-2006 school year. Harutunian instructed custodians to pick up the son at the high school, transport him to the middle school to work and drop him at his home after work. In addition, Harutunian instructed a career counselor at the high school to fabricate and backdate a memo requesting that Harutunian find his girlfriend's son a job.

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 creating the job, directing school department employees to provide transportation and by covering up his involvement in the creation and hiring of his girlfriend's son, Harutunian used his superintendent position to get his girlfriend's son an unwarranted privilege of substantial value.

"The superintendent of schools holds a significant position of trust in the community to help care for and educate all of its children," said Executive Director Peter Sturges. "Using that position to provide his girlfriend's son with a special deal not available to other students and then trying to cover up his actions is a deplorable violation of that trust."