- David A. Wilson, Executive Director
Media Contact for Blue Hills Regional School to Careers Partnership Director Katherine Touafek pays $4,000 Civil Penalty for Violating Conflict of Interest Law
Gerry Tuoti, Public Information Officer
Boston, MA — Katherine Touafek, Director of the School to Careers Partnership for the Blue Hills Regional Technical School District, has admitted to violating the conflict of interest law by repeatedly participating in hiring her son to do paid work for the Partnership. Touafek paid a $4,000 civil penalty in a Disposition Agreement approved by the State Ethics Commission on October 17 and waived her right to contest the Commission’s findings.
The Schools to Career Partnership connects high school students with work-based learning. As Director of the Partnership, Touafek secures placement for students in internships, and organizes speakers, tours and seminars, among other duties. The Blue Hills Regional Technical School District Superintendent appoints Touafek, and the Superintendent or his designee signs her contact.
From 2013 through 2015, Touafek decided to hire her son on multiple occasions to improve the Partnership’s website, for which the school district paid him $6,800. She also decided to hire her son three times to speak at Partnership symposiums and authorized $475 in payments to him. By deciding to hire her son, Touafek violated the conflict of interest law, which generally prohibits municipal employees from participating in matters affecting the financial interests of themselves or their immediate family.
The State Ethics Commission is charged with civilly enforcing the conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A. When three or more of the Commission’s five members vote to find reasonable cause to believe a public employee has violated the law, they can authorize adjudicatory proceedings to determine whether the violation occurred. The public employee then has the opportunity to enter into a public Disposition Agreement rather than exercising his or her right to a hearing.
The Commission encourages public employees to contact the Commission’s Legal Division at 617-371-9500 for free advice if they have any questions regarding how the conflict of interest law may apply to them.