For Immediate Release - October 25, 2007

Rutland DPW Supervisor Carl G. Christianson, Jr. Pays $5,000 Fine

For Role in Hiring His Son

The Massachusetts State Ethics Commission approved a Disposition Agreement in which Rutland Department of Public Works (DPW) supervisor Carl G. Christianson, Jr. paid a penalty of $5,000 for violating the state's conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A, by participating in the hiring of his son without following standard hiring procedures and then attempting to cover up his actions.

According to a Disposition Agreement , in September 2006, an opening for a full-time operator/laborer occurred in the DPW sewer department. The standard hiring process, which includes publicly advertising the open position and interviewing candidates, was not followed. Instead, Christianson recommended to selectmen that his son be appointed to the position. Selectmen were aware that Christianson was recommending his son but were not aware that the standard hiring process had not occurred. They voted to approve Christianson's recommendation to hire his son on October 10, 2006.

In January 2007, after the Commission's Enforcement Division staff made inquiries to Christianson about the hiring and requested relevant documents, Christianson used a DPW computer to create a posting for the position. The Disposition Agreement states, "In an attempt to thwart the Commission's investigation, Christianson had a copy of the fraudulent posting forwarded to the Commission." He later admitted that he created the posting after the hiring in order to cover up the fact that proper procedures had not been followed.

Section 19 of the conflict of interest law prohibits a municipal employee from officially participating in matters in which to his knowledge an immediate family member has a financial interest. By recommending that his son be hired for the operator/laborer position, Christianson violated § 19. 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 another an unwarranted privilege of substantial value that is not properly available to similarly situated individuals. By failing to follow standard hiring procedures and by attempting to cover up his failure to follow such procedures, Christianson violated § 23.

"Public employees are required to make personnel decisions on an objective basis after a fair and open process," said Commission spokesperson Carol Carson.