For Immediate Release - September 21, 2010

Town of Sterling Fire Lieutenant Thomas Kokernak Assessed a $500 Civil Penalty for Violating the Conflict of Interest Law

Also paid a civil forfeiture of $400 for profits gained

The Ethics Commission approved a Disposition Agreement ("Agreement")
in which Sterling Fire Department Lieutenant Thomas Kokernak ("Kokernak") admitted to violating G.L. c. 268A, the conflict of interest law, in connection with the sale of leather emblem shields for fire department helmets to the Town of Sterling (the "Town"). Pursuant to the Agreement, Kokernak paid a $500 civil penalty and a $400 forfeiture of the profit realized from the sale of the products.

According to the Agreement, Kokernak and his spouse own F&T Products, a company that markets decorative leather emblem shields for fire helmets. Between 2008 and 2010, the company sold product totaling $1,683.70 to the Town.

Section 20 of the conflict of interest law prohibits a municipal employee from having a financial interest, directly or indirectly, in a contract made by his municipality, in which the municipality is an interested party, and of which financial interest he knows or has reason to know. By having a financial interest in the sale of leather helmet emblems to the Town by F&T Products, Kokernak violated section 20.

"The conflict law generally prohibits public employees from privately contracting with their public employer unless exemptions apply," stated Executive Director Karen L. Nober. "Public employees are urged to contact the Commission for advice on the requirements of the conflict law whenever their private business interests might also involve their public employer."

Disposition Agreement