- David A. Wilson, Executive Director
Media Contact for Former CHIA and EOTSS Employee Brooke Merkin Pays $2,500 Civil Penalty for Violating Conflict of Interest Law
Gerry Tuoti, Public Information Officer
Boston, MA — The State Ethics Commission has issued a Final Order allowing a Joint Motion to Dismiss and approving a Disposition Agreement in which Brooke Merkin, a former employee of the Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA) and the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security (EOTSS), admits to violating the conflict of interest law by holding the two paid state positions at the same time and seeking payment from both state agencies for 31 overlapping work hours. The Commission accepted Merkin’s payment of a $2,500 civil penalty and dismissed the adjudicatory proceeding against her.
After beginning work as a full-time deskside support engineer with CHIA in January 2021, Merkin began working as a part-time service desk analyst for EOTSS in February 2021, primarily working remotely in both positions. Merkin held both positions without either state agency’s approval or awareness, and gave false excuses to CHIA when she was unavailable during hours she was working for EOTSS.
Merkin submitted timesheets in both positions for 31 overlapping hours, which would have resulted in her being paid more than $1,200 in unearned and undue compensation had CHIA and EOTSS not discovered the double-billing. In early March 2021, Merkin attempted to resign from both positions but neither CHIA nor EOTSS accepted her resignation and instead both agencies terminated her employment.
The conflict of interest law prohibits state employees from knowingly having a financial interest in a state contract. Merkin violated this prohibition by accepting a second paid state job, a state contract, while already employed by the Commonwealth. In addition, when Merkin submitted timesheets to CHIA and EOTSS for overlapping hours, she violated the law’s prohibitions against public employees submitting false or fraudulent claims for payment to their employer and using or attempting to use their official positions to obtain substantially valuable benefits for themselves or others that are not properly available to similarly situated individuals.
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.