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Final Adjudications Issued - Bradenburg, Bundy, Hutcheson, Imbesi, Page, Robinson, Caughlan, Barlow, & Chilson

05/04/2021


Order No. 1778 (Brandenburg)
Township Supervisor
Hopewell Township
Washington County, PA

ORDER SUMMARY:

1.         As a Supervisor for Hopewell Township ("Township"), Washington County, Pennsylvania, Ronald Brandenburg ("Brandenburg") violated Section 1103(a) of the Public Official and Employee Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1103(a), when he participated in actions of the Township Board of Supervisors in the Township's hiring of his daughter to the position of Township Secretary/Treasurer in 2017 and her subsequent increases in compensation in the following years.

2.         Violations of Sections 1105(b)(5) and 1105(b)(10) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. §§ 1105(b)(5), 1105(b)(10), occurred when Brandenburg failed to include the Township as a source of income on his Statements of Financial Interests for calendar years 2016, 2017, and 2018, and when he failed to provide a response to "Business Interests Transferred to Immediate Family Member" on his Statement of Financial Interests for calendar year 2018.  

3.         Per the Consent Agreement of the parties, Brandenburg is directed to make payment in the total amount of $500.00 by making payments of no less than $250.00 per month, with each payment to be made payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and forwarded to the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission and with the first payment due by no later than the thirtieth (30th) day after the mailing date of this Order.

a.         No payment or restitution will be ordered regarding the Section 1103(a) violation as per the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's ruling in Sivick v. State Ethics Commission, 238 A.3d 1250 (Pa. 2020).     

4.         Per the Consent Agreement of the parties, Brandenburg is directed to not accept any reimbursement, compensation or other payment from the Township representing a full or partial reimbursement of the amount paid in settlement of this matter.

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

6.         Compliance with Paragraphs 3, 4, and 5 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. 1779 (Bundy)
Member of the Board of Supervisors
Huston Township
Clearfield County, PA

ORDER SUMMARY:

1.         Nellie M. Bundy ("Bundy"), as a Member of the Board of Supervisors of Huston Township ("Township"), Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, violated Section 1103(a) of the Public Official and Employee Ethics Act ("Ethics Act"), 65 Pa.C.S. § 1103(a), in relation to her participation and vote resulting in her appointment as a compensated Member of the Huston Township Municipal Authority Board of Directors.

2.         Two violations of Section 1104(a) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1104(a), occurred when Bundy failed to timely file Statement of Financial Interests forms for the 2015 and 2016 calendar years with the Township.

3.         Two violations of Section 1105(a) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1105(a), occurred when Bundy failed to timely file Statement of Financial Interests forms for the 2017 and 2018 calendar years and subsequently backdated those filings to give the impression that the forms were timely filed.

4.         Per the Consent Agreement of the parties, Bundy 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.

5.         Per the Consent Agreement of the parties, Bundy is directed to not accept any reimbursement, compensation or other payment from the Township representing a full or partial reimbursement of the amount paid in settlement of this matter.

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

7.         Compliance with paragraphs 4, 5, and 6 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. 1780 (Hutcheson)
Superintendent
Jeannette City School District
Westmoreland County, PA

ORDER SUMMARY:

1.         Matthew Hutcheson ("Hutcheson"), as the Superintendent of the Jeannette City School District ("District"), Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, violated Section 1103(a) of the Public Official and Employee Ethics Act ("Ethics Act"), 65 Pa.C.S. § 1103(a), in relation to his use of a District procurement card to make non-District related purchases of a personal nature, resulting in a private pecuniary benefit to himself.

2.         A violation of Sections 1105(b)(1), (4), (7), and (8) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. §§ 1105(b)(1), (4), (7), and (8), occurred in relation to Hutcheson's failure to report his receipt of transportation, lodging, and hospitality from MIND Research Institute on his Statement of Financial Interests ("SFI") filed for the 2017 calendar year; when he failed to identify the interest rate of a reportable creditor on his SFIs for calendar years 2016 and 2017; when he failed to identify his public office/position and the correct filing calendar year on his SFI for calendar year 2017; and when he failed to report his employment with Drives on Call and/or Jim Shorkey Auto Group on his SFI for calendar year 2018.

3.         Per the Consent Agreement of the parties, Hutcheson is directed to make payment in the amount of $1,000.00 payable to Jeannette City School District, Westmoreland County, and forwarded to the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission by no later than the thirtieth (30th) day after the mailing date of this Order. 

4.         Per the Consent Agreement of the parties, Hutcheson 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. 

5.         To the extent he has not already done so, Hutcheson is directed to file complete and accurate amended SFIs for calendar years 2016, 2017, and 2018 with the District, through this Commission, by no later than the thirtieth (30th) day after the mailing date of this Order. 

6.         Compliance with paragraphs 3, 4, and 5 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. 1781 (Imbesi)
Board Member and President of Council
West Reading Borough
Berks County, PA

ORDER SUMMARY:

1.         Nicholas Imbesi ("Imbesi"), in his capacity as a Member and President of Council for West Reading Borough ("Borough"), Berks County, Pennsylvania, technically violated Section 1103(a) of the Public Official and Employee Ethics Act ("Ethics Act"), 65 Pa.C.S. § 1103(a), in relation to his participating in discussions with Council that entailed presenting a recommendation to Council to implement a Borough administrative reorganizational plan, after which he was appointed as Borough Manager following his resignation from Council.

2.         Per the Consent Agreement of the parties, Imbesi is directed to make payment in the amount of $750.00 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. 

3.       Per the Consent Agreement of the parties, Imbesi is direct to not accept any reimbursement, compensation or other payment from the Borough representing a full or partial reimbursement of the amount paid in settlement of this matter. 

4.       Compliance with paragraphs 2 and 3 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. 1782 (Page)
Member of Council
Oakland Borough
Susquehanna County, PA

ORDER SUMMARY:

1.         Eric Page ("Page"), as a Member of Council for Oakland Borough ("Borough"), Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, 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 office when he selected/contracted and/or otherwise authorized Pages Custom Cabinetry to perform carpentry/ maintenance/repair/renovation work at the Borough municipal building for remuneration; and when he subsequently participated in actions of Borough Council to approve and issue payment to himself and/or Pages Custom Cabinetry.

2.         As part of a negotiated settlement agreement, no violation of Section 1103(f) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1103(f), occurred in relation to Page and/or Pages Custom Cabinetry entering into agreements/contracts with the Borough for goods/services valued in excess of $500.00 absent an open and public process.

3.         A technical violation of Section 1105(b)(1) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1105(b)(1),  occurred when Page neglected to provide a complete response to "Address" and to correctly identify his public position upon Statement of Financial Interests ("SFI") filings made for the 2014 through 2017 calendar years.

4.         A technical violation of Section 1105(b)(2) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1105(b)(2), occurred when Page neglected to provide a response to "Occupation or Profession" upon SFI filings made for the 2016 and 2017 calendar years.

5.         A technical violation of Section 1105(b)(5) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1105(b)(5), occurred when Page neglected to report "Direct or Indirect Sources of Income" upon SFI filings made for the 2014 through 2018 calendar years.

6.         Technical violations of Sections 1105(b)(8), (9) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. §§ 1105(b)(8), (9), occurred when Page neglected to report any "Office, Directorship or Employment" and any "Financial Interest" in Pages Custom Cabinetry upon SFI filings made for the 2014 through 2018 calendar years.

7.         To the extent he has not already done so, per the Consent Agreement of the parties, Page is directed to make payment in the amount of $881.05 payable to Oakland Borough Council, Susquehanna County, and forwarded to the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission by no later than the thirtieth (30th) day after the mailing date of this Order. 

8.         Per the Consent Agreement of the parties, Page is directed to not accept any reimbursement, compensation or other payment from Borough Council representing a full or partial reimbursement of the amount paid in settlement of this matter.

9.         To the extent he has not already done so, Page is directed to file complete and accurate amended SFIs for calendar years 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 with Borough 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 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. 1783 (Robinson)
Member and President of the Board of Directors
Harrisburg School District
Harrisburg, PA

ORDER SUMMARY:

1.         Danielle Robinson ("Robinson"), as a Member and President of the Board of Directors of the Harrisburg School District ("District"), did not violate Section 1103(a) of the Public Official and Employee Ethics Act ("Ethics Act"), 65 Pa.C.S. § 1103(a), when she voted to approve and/or authorize a "correction with change in pay" concerning her husband as an employee of the District, as her use of office was limited to a ministerial action of authorizing the placement of her husband into a pay scale which appropriately reflected his years of experience and educational credits.  

2.         No violation of Section 1104(a) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1104(a), occurred in relation to the allegation that Robinson failed to file/maintain on file Statements of Financial Interests ("SFIs") with the District concerning calendar years 2014 and 2017, in that: (a) Robinson asserts that she timely filed her annual SFIs with the District; and (b) the files and records of the District were incomplete, and as such insufficient evidence exists to establish that Robinson did not file timely.   

3.         No violation of Section 1105(b)(5) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1105(b)(5), occurred in relation to the allegation that Robinson neglected to identify any and all reportable sources of income upon SFI form(s) filed for the 2015 calendar year, as she reported all disclosable income. 

4.         A technical violation of Section 1105(b)(5) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1105(b)(5), occurred when Robinson neglected to identify any and all reportable sources of income upon an SFI form filed for the 2018 calendar year. 

5.         To the extent she has not already done so, Robinson is ordered to file complete and accurate SFIs/amended SFIs for calendar years 2014, 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. 

6.         Compliance with paragraph 5 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. 1784 (Caughlan)
Supervisor
Worcester Township
Montgomery County, PA

ORDER SUMMARY:

1.         Susan Caughlan ("Caughlan"), as a Supervisor for Worcester Township ("Township"), Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, technically violated Section 1103(a) of the Public Official and Employee Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1103(a), in relation to her participating in discussions and actions of the Township Board of Supervisors regarding an application by property owners for inclusion within the Township's Agricultural Security Area, at a time when she was providing legal representation to the same applicants.

2.         Per the Consent Agreement of the parties, Caughlan is directed to make payment in the amount of $800.00 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.

3.         Per the Consent Agreement of the parties, Caughlan is further directed to make payment to the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission in the amount of $200.00, 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. 

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

5.         Compliance with paragraphs 2, 3, and 4 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. 1785 (Barlow)
Supervisor
Liberty Township
Adams County, PA

ORDER SUMMARY:

1.         Walter M. Barlow ("Barlow"), as a Supervisor for Liberty Township ("Township"), Adams County, Pennsylvania, did not violate Section 1103(a) of the Public Official and Employee Ethics Act ("Ethics Act"), 65 Pa.C.S. § 1103(a), in relation to his participating in actions and discussions of the Township Board of Supervisors resulting in a pay increase for his son, in that any gain that was exclusive of a class/subclass pay increase was de minimis.

2.         No violation of Section 1104(a) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1104(a), occurred when Barlow failed to maintain a 2017 calendar year Statement of Financial Interests filed with the Township, but was able to produce a copy of what he asserts was a completed 2017 calendar year Statement of Financial Interests.

3.         A violation of Section 1105(b)(5) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1105(b)(5), occurred when Barlow failed to make complete disclosures as to sources of income on Statements of Financial Interests filed for the 2016 and 2018 calendar years.

4.         Per the Consent Agreement of the parties, Barlow is directed to make payment in the total amount of $500.00 by no later than the thirtieth (30th) day after the mailing date of this Order, by forwarding a check to the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission made payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, for deposit in the State Treasury.

5.         Per the Consent Agreement of the parties, Barlow is directed to not accept any reimbursement, compensation or other payment from the Township representing a full or partial reimbursement of the amount paid in settlement of this matter.

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

7.         Compliance with Paragraphs 4, 5, and 6 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. 1786 (Chilson)
Board Member
Lawrenceville Authority
Tioga County, PA

ORDER SUMMARY:

1.         For purposes of resolution given the terms of the parties' settlement, Gordon Chilson ("Chilson") agrees that if this matter went to hearing, the Investigative Division would meet the requisite evidentiary standard and convince a fact finder that a violation of Section 1103(a) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1103(a), occurred when Chilson, in his capacity as a Member of the Board of the Lawrenceville Authority ("Authority"), Tioga County, Pennsylvania, participated in actions and discussions of the Authority Board, resulting in the Authority entering into a verbal month-to-month lease agreement for office space in a building owned by him and/or a business with which he is associated.

2.         Per the Consent Agreement of the parties, Chilson 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.

3.         Per the Consent Agreement of the parties, Chilson is directed to not accept any reimbursement, compensation or other payment from Lawrenceville Borough, Tioga County, Pennsylvania, representing a full or partial reimbursement of the amount paid in settlement of this matter.

4.         Compliance with paragraphs 2 and 3 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.

 

 

You may access the full text version of the above ruling by clicking on the link below or by copying and pasting it into your browser:

1778 Brandenburg

1779 Bundy

1780 Hutcheson

1781 Imbesi

1782 Page

1783 Robinson

1784 Caughlan

1785 Barlow

1786 Chilson

 


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