Ethics Commission Cites Marblehead School Superintendent G. Paul Dulac and Veterans School Principal Elizabeth Moore for Conflict of Interest Law Violations
Hired the spouse of a school committee member to a half-time teaching position without following standard procedures
According to the Agreements, a vacant half-time instructional technology specialist position at the Veterans Middle School in Marblehead was scheduled to be filled for the school year beginning in September 2009. The standard procedure to fill the position included posting the job, having the Principal interview candidates and forwarding a hiring recommendation to the Superintendent. The Superintendent then conducts additional candidate interviews and hires the selected candidate. Tammy Nohelty ("Ms. Nohelty"), the spouse of School Committee member Richard Nohelty, learned of the vacancy and contacted Moore to express an interest in the teaching position before the position was posted. Ms. Nohelty had taught at the Veterans Middle School the prior school year. Ms. Nohelty was interviewed for the position by Moore and by the Veterans Middle School Assistant Principal three days before the position was advertised; that same day, Moore submitted a recommendation to Dulac to hire Ms. Nohelty. Several days after the hiring recommendation was made, the position was posted in the Boston Globe as well as posted internally within the School Department. Two applicants responded to the Boston Globe advertisement and one applicant responded to the internal posting. None of these applicants was interviewed for the position.
The Agreements state that upon receiving Moore's recommendation to hire Ms. Nohelty, Dulac did not inquire of his assistant, per his normal practice, whether any other applications had been received. Dulac also caused the date of Moore's recommendation to hire Ms. Nohelty to be changed from August 13, 2009, a date before the position was posted, to August 23, 2009, a date after the position was posted. Dulac then interviewed and hired Ms. Nohelty. Both Dulac and Moore knew that Ms. Nohelty was Richard Nohelty's spouse. Dulac and Moore both assert that they were not aware of any other candidates for the position.
Section 23(b)(2) of the conflict of interest law prohibits a municipal employee from knowingly, or with reason to know, using his official position to secure for himself or others unwarranted privileges or exemptions which are of substantial value and which are not available to similarly situated individuals. According to the Agreements, by hiring the spouse of a school committee member for the teaching position without following the standard hiring procedure, Dulac and Moore each violated section 23(b)(2).
"Public employees involved in hiring decisions need to follow established hiring procedures to ensure a hiring process in which applicants can fairly compete and which affords the public employer the opportunity to choose from highly qualified candidates," stated Executive Director Karen L. Nober.Elizabeth Moore Disposition Agreement