2010-066
Created By: Latisha Thomas on 12/08/2010 at 02:13 PM
Category: Ethics Rulings
Caption:

LOUISIANA BOARD OF ETHICS

DATE: November 19, 2010 OPINION NO: 2010-066

RE: In the matter of Nathan Sticker and Crystal Sticker


The Board of Ethics (the “Board”) pursuant to the authority contained in LSA-R.S. 42:1141, conducted a private investigation concerning information that Nathan Sticker, Fire Chief for the Eighth Ward Volunteer Fire Department, and his daughter Crystal Sticker, may have violated Section 1119 of the Code of Governmental Ethics (LSA-R.S. 42:1101 et seq.) (the “Code”) by virtue of the employment of Crystal Sticker with the Fire Department when her father was serving as the Chief of Fire Department, and that Nathan Sticker may have violated Section 1112 of the Code by participating in the hiring of his daughter when, in his capacity as a member of the Executive Board for the Fire Department he approved the hiring of Crystal Sticker as a paid part-time fire fighter.
On the basis of information obtained during the investigation, and with the concurrence of Nathan Sticker and Crystal Sticker, the Board now makes the following:

I.
FINDINGS OF FACT
1.
Nathan Sticker has served as Fire Chief for the Fire Department since January 11, 2000. Chief Sticker receives no compensation for his services.
2.
Crystal Sticker is the daughter of Nathan Sticker.
3.
Crystal Sticker has served as a volunteer fire fighter for the Fire Department since 2004.

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4.
On April 27, 2009, the Executive Board of the Fire Department approved Crystal Sticker’s appointment as a paid part-time fire fighter.
5.
Chief Sticker is a member of the Executive Board of the Fire Department.
6.
Crystal Sticker resigned from the Fire Department on March 19, 2010.
7.
Crystal Sticker received compensation totaling $7,967.14 from April 27, 2009 through March 19, 2010.
II.
APPLICABLE LAW
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1119. Nepotism
A. No member of the immediate family of an agency head shall be employed in his agency.
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D. A willful violation of this Section shall subject the agency head, member of the governing authority, or chief executive, as the case may be, the public employee having the authority to hire and fire the employee, the immediate supervisor of the employee and such employee, to disciplinary action and penalties provided by this Chapter.
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Agency head is defined at R.S. 42:1102(3) as follows:
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"Agency head” means the chief executive or administrative officer of an agency or any member of a board or commission who exercises supervision over the agency
.
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Section 1112B(1) of the Code prohibits participation in transactions in which a family
member has a substantial economic interest. It provides, in pertinent part:
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1112. Participation in certain transactions involving the governmental entity
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B. No public servant, except as provided in R.S. 42:1120, shall participate in a transaction involving the governmental entity in which, to his actual knowledge, any of the following persons has a substantial economic interest:

(1) Any member of his immediate family. R.S. 42:1112B(1).


* * * * * * *


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"Immediate family" as the term relates to a public servant means his children, the spouses of his children, his brothers and their spouses, his sisters and their spouses, his parents, his spouse, and the parents of his spouse.


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"Participate" means to take part in or to have or share responsibility for action of a governmental entity or a proceeding, personally, as a public servant of the governmental entity, through approval, disapproval, decision, recommendation, the rendering of advice, investigation or the failure to act or perform a duty.


* * * * * * *


“Substantial economic interest” is defined at R.S. 42:1102(21) as follows:

"Substantial economic interest" means an economic interest which is of greater benefit to the public servant or other person that to a general class or group of persons.

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III.

OPINION


It is the opinion of the Board that Nathan Sticker and Crystal Sticker violated Section 1119A of the Code by virtue of the employment of Crystal Sticker with the Fire Department when her father was serving as the Chief of the Fire Department. Section 1119A of the Code prohibits an immediate family member of a public servant from being employed in the agency of the public servant. Chief Sticker is an agency head of the Fire Department, therefore, his daughter, Crystal Sticker was prohibited from being employed by Nathan Sticker’s agency, the Fire Department.

It is further the opinion of the Board that Nathan Sticker violated Section 1112B of the Code by participating in the hiring of his daughter, when in his capacity as a member of the Executive Board for the Fire Department he approved the hiring of Crystal Sticker as a paid part-time fire fighter. Section 1112B prohibits a public servant from participating in transactions involving his agency in which a member of his immediate family has a substantial economic interest. Participation as defined by the Code includes taking part in or sharing responsibility for an action of a governmental entity through approval, disapproval, decision or recommendation.

Given the facts and circumstances of this case the Board is of the opinion that a joint $1,000 fine should be imposed upon Nathan Sticker and Crystal Sticker.


IV.

DECREE AND ORDER


For the foregoing reasons:

IT IS ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that the Board finds as a matter of fact and as a conclusion of law that Nathan Sticker and Crystal Sticker violated Section 1119A of the Code by virtue of her employment with the Eighth Ward Volunteer Fire Department when her father was Chief of the Fire Department.

IT IS ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that the Board finds as a matter of fact and as a conclusion of law that Nathan Sticker violated Section 1112B of the Code by participating in the hiring of his daughter, Crystal Sticker, when in his capacity as a member of the Executive Board for the Eighth Ward Volunteer Fire Department he approved the hiring of Crystal Sticker as a paid part-time fire fighter.

IT IS ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that a joint $1,000 fine be imposed upon Nathan Sticker and Crystal Sticker for the described violations of the Code and that said fine be paid to the Treasurer of the State of Louisiana.

By Order of the Board this 19th day of November 2010.



By Order of the Board this 19 day of November , 2010.

s/Frank P. Simoneaux s/James G. Boyer

Frank P. Simoneaux, Chairman James G. Boyer, Vice-Chairman

Absent and did not participate. s/Rev. Gail E. Bowman

Dr. Robert P. Bareikis Rev. Gail E. Bowman

s/Dr. Louis W. Leggio s/Gary G. Hymel

Dr. Louis W. Leggio Gary G. Hymel

s/Jean M. Ingrassia Absent and did not participate.

Jean M. Ingrassia Dr. Cedric W. Lowrey

s/M. Blake Monrose s/Scott D. Schneider

M. Blake Monrose Scott D. Schneider

s/David Grove Stafford, Jr.

David Grove Stafford, Jr.


CONSENT


The undersigned (a) stipulates to the facts found by the Board; (b) waives the procedural requirements contained in Section 1141 of the Code; (c) admits that his conduct, as described above, violated Sections 1119 and 1112 of the Code; (d) consents to the publication of this opinion; (e) agrees to comply with the conditions and orders set forth in this opinion; and (f) agrees not to seek judicial review of the findings and actions taken in this opinion.

s/Nathan Sticker 7-6-2010

Nathan Sticker Date

CONSENT

The undersigned (a) stipulates to the facts found by the Board; (b) waives the procedural requirements contained in Section 1141 of the Code; (c) admits that her conduct, as described above, violated Section 1119 of the Code; (d) consents to the publication of this opinion; (e) agrees to comply with the conditions and orders set forth in this opinion; and (f) agrees not to seek judicial review of the findings and actions taken in this opinion.


s/Crystal Sticker 7-6-10
Crystal Sticker Date

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