For Immediate Release - August 08, 2007

Westborough State Hospital Director of Maintenance and Engineering Francis Marchand Fined $1,000

For Involvement in Hiring Brother-in-Law

The Massachusetts State Ethics Commission fined Westborough State Hospital Director of Facilities Maintenance and Engineering Francis Marchand $1,000 for violating the state's conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A, by participating in hiring his brother-in-law as a carpenter earning $33,000 per year.

According to the Disposition Agreement, in October 2006, the hospital posted an opening for a carpenter. Marchand's brother-in-law (his wife's sister's husband) was an applicant. Marchand reviewed applicants' resumes and, serving on a five member panel, participated in interviewing and grading each candidate. Based on this process, Marchand's supervisor, who also sat on the panel, recommended that the brother-in-law be hired.

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 participating in the hiring process where his brother-in-law was a candidate, Marchand violated G.L. c. 268A, § 23(b)(3). Marchand could have avoided violating § 23(b)(3) by making an advance written disclosure that one of the candidates was his brother-in-law. He did not make such a disclosure.

"Public employees must disclose the personal and private connections they have with candidates for jobs so that all of the decision makers are aware of the relationships before any action is taken," said spokesperson Carol Carson.