For Immediate Release - June 21, 2006

Former Berkshire County Treasurer Peter Arlos Fined $1,000

Arlos also forfeits $1,200 in compensation

The Massachusetts State Ethics Commission approved a Disposition Agreement in which former Berkshire County Treasurer Peter Arlos admitted violating G.L. c. 268A, the state's conflict of interest law, and agreed to pay a $1,000 fine and to forfeit $1,200 in compensation for participating in a matter in which he had a financial interest. The Disposition Agreement concludes public proceedings against Arlos.

According to the Disposition Agreement, in June 2000, Arlos, as treasurer/custodian of the County Retirement Board by virtue of his position as County Treasurer, voted, in a 3-2 vote, to approve a three percent wage increase for himself. As a result of the raise, he received an additional $1,200 in compensation. Arlos believed that the County Retirement Board was not a county agency, thus his actions as a member of the County Retirement Board were not governed by G.L. c. 268A and his salary increase was not paid with public funds.

By participating in voting to approve a wage increase, Arlos violated G.L. c. 268A, § 13. Section 13 prohibits a county employee from officially participating in matters in which he has a financial interest.

"The prohibition against self-dealing is a fundamental tenet of the conflict of interest law," said spokesperson Carol Carson. "Particularly when a public official casts the deciding vote to grant himself a raise, the public's confidence in the integrity of government is undermined."