For Immediate Release - December 19, 2007

Commission Fines Former Executive Office of Public Safety Employee Diana Brensilber Chidsey $5,000

Chidsey involved in grants to clients of Crest Associates, a company for which she and her husband consulted

The Massachusetts State Ethics Commission fined former Executive Office of Public Safety (EOPS) employee Diana Brensilber Chidsey, $5,000 for violating the state's conflict of interest law, M.G.L. c. 268A, by repeatedly participating as an EOPS employee in EOPS grants that directly or indirectly impacted clients of Crest Associates (Crest), and thus Crest, while she and her husband were working as consultants for Crest. Crest was a Boston based firm that provided grant application and program management services to Massachusetts municipal law enforcement agencies that were seeking these grants.

According to the Disposition Agreement, Chidsey served as Director of Research and Evaluation at EOPS from 1997 until August 2003. In 2002, she also held the title of Chief of Staff and, for two months in 2003, she served as Programs Division Acting Executive Director. Chidsey and her husband provided consultant services to Crest beginning in 2002. Chidsey disclosed in writing to the then EOPS secretary that she was providing consulting services to police departments outside of Massachusetts; she did not disclose in writing that she was working as a consultant for Crest. She also did not respond to a formal request in 2003, when a new EOPS administration took over, to disclose any outside employment.

As an EOPS employee, Chidsey contributed to the planning of a federally funded state homeland security grant program. Crest subsequently applied for grants on behalf of its police department clients. Chidsey served on one of seven EOPS teams which rated applications. While none of the applications rated by Chidsey's team were on behalf of Crest's clients, the applications were in competition with those submitted by Crest on behalf of its clients. In August 2003, Chidsey left EOPS and accepted a full-time consulting position with Crest.

Section 23(b)(3) prohibits a public official from knowingly or with reason to know acting in a manner which would cause a reasonable person, having knowledge of the relevant circumstances, to conclude that anyone can improperly influence or unduly enjoy the public employee's favor in the performance of his official duties. By repeatedly participating as an EOPS employee in EOPS grants that impacted Crest clients while she was consulting for Crest and its clients, Chidsey violated this section of the law.

"Public employees who have private interests or relationships that overlap with their public duties need to disclose those relationships to avoid creating appearances of conflicts of interest," said Acting Executive Director David A. Wilson.