For Immediate Release - March 28, 2008

Commission Alleges Everett Public Schools Maintenance Manager Violated the Conflict of Interest Law

The Ethics Commission's Enforcement Division, in an Order to Show Cause issued on March 27, 2008, alleges that Lona DeFeo, Maintenance Manager of the Everett Public Schools ("EPS"), violated sections 23(b)(2) and 23(b)(3) of G.L. c. 268A, the state's conflict of interest law, by using EPS resources and employees to perform private work for Superintendent Frederick Foresteire. A public hearing will be scheduled within 90 days.

According to the Order to Show Cause, from April to November 2002, DeFeo ordered an EPS maintenance worker to perform plumbing work in a kitchen and two bathrooms at Foresteire's home. In October 2002, DeFeo ordered two EPS employees to obtain, cut and deliver EPS-purchased plywood to Foresteire's home. Foresteire did not pay for the plywood or the services, and the EPS employees provided some of these services during EPS work hours.

Section 23(b)(2) of the conflict of interest law prohibits a public employee from, knowingly or with reason to know, using or attempting to use her official position to secure for herself or others an unwarranted privilege or exemption of substantial value not properly available to similarly situated individuals. The Enforcement Division alleges that DeFeo knowingly violated 23(b)(2) by using her position as Maintenance Manager to obtain EPS-purchased materials for Foresteire and to arrange to have EPS employees provide private home improvements and other services on Foresteire's behalf, worth $50.00 or more, and during EPS work hours.

Section 23(b)(3) of the conflict law prohibits a public employee 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 any person can improperly influence or unduly enjoy her favor in the performance of her official duties, or that she is likely to act or fail to act as a result of kinship, rank, position or undue influence of any party or person. The Enforcement Division alleges that DeFeo knowingly violated 23(b)(3) by obtaining EPS-purchased materials for Foresteire and arranging to have EPS employees provide private home improvements and other services on Foresteire's behalf, thus acting in a manner that would have caused a reasonable person, knowing all of the facts, to conclude that Foresteire could improperly influence or unduly enjoy DeFeo's favor in the performance of her official duties, or that she was likely to act or fail to act as a result of rank, position or undue influence of Foresteire.