Here’s a news release from the Office of State Ethics:
December 22, 2009
Four Judicial Branch employees have paid civil penalties to the Office of State Ethics (OSE) for allegedly using their state positions to obtain financial gain. Court reporters Kathy Jordan of Orange, Sharon Haas of Stamford, Deidre Clement of New Fairfield, and Mary Fjelldal of Stamford each agreed to pay a $500 civil penalty.
According to the consent orders finalized with the Office of State Ethics on Monday, all four individuals are court monitors for the Connecticut Judicial Department at the Stamford Court Reporters Office. Court monitors record and transcribe court proceedings in the Connecticut superior courts. Despite the existence of a mandatory price schedule, each of the four allegedly overcharged members of the public for the reproduction of transcripts.
Connecticut law prohibits state employees from using their public office or position to obtain financial gain for themselves. By overcharging requestors in excess of the amount allowed by the mandatory price schedule, the four monitors allegedly used their state positions to obtain financial gain. In the consent orders, the four court monitors deny any violation of the Code of Ethics.
In addition to the civil penalties, Jordan, Haas, Clement and Fjelldal also agreed to reimburse members of the public $207.75, $371.25, $528, and $212.50, respectively, the amounts of the overcharges. As further part of the settlements, each will provide a detailed invoice to all future requestors, specifying the per-page rate charged, the total number of pages, and the total amount due.
“The Code of Ethics seeks, first and foremost, to prevent public officials from using their positions for personal, financial gain, beyond what the law allows,” said OSE Executive Director, Carol Carson.