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Final Adjudications Issued - August and Wilkinson

12/03/2020


Order No. 1776 (August) 
Member of Council
Reynoldsville Borough
Jefferson County, PA  15851

ORDER SUMMARY:

1. As part of a negotiated settlement agreement, no violation of Section 1103(a) of the Public Official and Employee Ethics Act (“Ethics Act”), 65 Pa.C.S. § 1103(a), occurred in relation to the allegation that Ralph T. August (“August”), as a Member of Council for Reynoldsville Borough (“Borough”), Jefferson County, utilized the authority of his public office to obtain a pecuniary benefit for himself and/or a business with which he is associated, namely R.T. August Services, when he engaged himself/R.T. August Services to perform tasks/services for the Borough with the intent to be compensated.  

2. A violation of Section 1103(a) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1103(a), occurred in relation to August approving payment of Borough monies to himself and/or R.T. August Services for services/tasks completed to the benefit of the Borough.  

3. A technical violation of Section 1103(f) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1103(f), occurred in relation to August entering into contracts/agreements between himself/R.T. August Services and the Borough in excess of $500.00 absent an open and public process, in that no formal arrangement between the Borough and August/R.T. August Services existed.    

4. A violation of Section 1104(a) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1104(a), occurred in relation to August failing to maintain a Statement of Financial Interests for calendar year 2017 with the Borough.

5. A technical violation of Sections 1105(b)(1), (2), (3), (5), (6), (8), (9) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. §§ 1105(b)(1), (2), (3), (5), (6), (8), (9), occurred in relation to August filing deficient Statements of Financial Interests by failing to disclose his governmental entity (calendar year 2015), failing to disclose his occupation/profession (calendar years 2014, 2015, and 2016), failing to disclose any real estate interests (calendar year 2016), failing to disclose any reportable sources of income (calendar years 2016 and 2018), failing to disclose any reportable gifts (calendar years 2015 and 2016), and failing to report his office, directorship or employment and his financial interest in R.T. August Services (calendar years 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2018), in that the omissions were negligent as opposed to intentional.

6. Per the Consent Agreement of the parties, August is directed to make payment in the amount of $500.00 payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and forwarded to the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission by no later than the thirtieth (30th) day after the mailing date of this Order.

7. August is directed to not accept any reimbursement, compensation or other payment from Council representing a full or partial reimbursement of the amount paid in settlement of this matter.

8. August is ordered to fulfill his agreement to forego and neither seek nor accept any remuneration from either the Borough or any other person or entity for mowing services performed by August and/or R.T. August Services on behalf of the Borough during calendar year 2020.

9. To the extent he has not already done so, August is directed to file complete and accurate Statements of Financial Interests/amended Statements of Financial Interests for calendar years 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 with Council, through the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission, by no later than the thirtieth (30th) day after the mailing date of this Order.  

10. Compliance with paragraphs 6, 7, 8, and 9 of this Order will result in the closing of this case with no further action by this Commission.

a. Non-compliance will result in the institution of an order enforcement action.


Order No. 1777 (Wilkinson) 
Superintendent
Belle Vernon Area School District
Westmoreland County, PA  15012

ORDER SUMMARY:

1. John Wilkinson (“Wilkinson”), as the Superintendent of the Belle Vernon Area School District (“District”), violated Section 1103(a) of the Public Official and Employee Ethics Act (“Ethics Act”), 65 Pa.C.S. § 1103(a), in relation to his utilizing the authority of his public position as the Superintendent of the District when he utilized District resources, namely equipment and tools, for his private benefit. 

2. A technical violation of Section 1105(b)(5) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1105(b)(5), occurred when Wilkinson filed deficient Statements of Financial Interests for the 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2018 calendar years by failing to report the District as a source of income.

3. A technical violation of Section 1105(a) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1105(a), occurred when Wilkinson filed a deficient Statement of Financial Interests for the 2014 calendar year, when he failed to properly date the form.  

4. No violation of Section 1103(a) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1103(a), occurred in relation to Wilkinson allowing subordinate staff to perform repairs to his private vehicle, in that any pecuniary gain was most likely de minimis.  

5. Per the Consent Agreement of the parties, Wilkinson is directed to make payment in the amount of $1,000.00 payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and forwarded to the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission by no later than the thirtieth (30th) day after the mailing date of this Order.

6. Per the Consent Agreement of the parties, Wilkinson is further directed to make payment to the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission in the amount of $250.00, representing a portion of the expenses and costs incurred by this Commission in the investigation and administrative prosecution of the instant matter, payable by certified check or money order made payable to the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission by no later than the thirtieth (30th) day after the mailing date of this Order.  

7. Wilkinson is directed to not accept any reimbursement, compensation or other payment from the District representing a full or partial reimbursement of the amount paid in settlement of this matter.

8. To the extent he has not already done so, Wilkinson is directed to file complete and accurate amended Statements of Financial Interests for calendar years 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2018 with the District, through the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission, by no later than the thirtieth (30th) day after the mailing date of this Order.  

9. Compliance with paragraphs 5, 6, 7, and 8 of this Order will result in the closing of this case with no further action by this Commission.

a. Non-compliance will result in the institution of an order enforcement action.

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