For Immediate Release - May 14, 2007

MassHighway Civil Engineer Paul Hoey Fined $2,000

The Massachusetts State Ethics Commission fined MassHighway Civil Engineer Paul Hoey $2,000 for violating the state's conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A, by participating in the promotion process where his son was one of the applicants.

According to a Disposition Agreement, in February 2006, a Civil Engineer II position was posted. Hoey's son was one of 14 applicants that met the minimum requirements of the position. Hoey did not disclose to his appointing authority that his son, who was currently working as a Civil Engineer I, was a candidate for the position. Hoey chaired the job search committee, selected two subordinates to serve on the committee with him, determined which questions to include in a written civil service test and proctored the exam. He and the other two committee members individually scored the tests; scores were combined to arrive at an overall score for each candidate. Hoey's son scored second highest on the test. Hoey forwarded the scores of the top 12 candidates to the appointing authority. The candidate who scored first accepted the position.

MassHighway had been prepared to promote three people from the posting but after learning of Hoey's participation in the matter decided not to use the results for subsequent hirings. In addition, MassHighway removed Hoey from the acting DME position and returned him to the civil engineer position he had previously held.

Section 6 of the conflict law prohibits a state employee from officially participating in matters in which to his knowledge an immediate family member has a financial interest. By participating in the promotion process where his son was an applicant, Hoey violated § 6.

"The purpose of the nepotism section of the conflict of interest law is to prevent both the actuality and the appearance that a state employee is making decisions because of family ties rather than the interests of the state," said Executive Director Peter Sturges. "It requires state employees to notify their appointing authority in writing when matters involving a family member are assigned to them. Unless and until the appointing authority determines the state employee should participate, the state employee must abstain."