Is it a violation of the Conflict of Interest Law to use DOE email to contact fellow Chapter members and others in a contested Chapter Leader election?

Yes. The Conflict of Interest Board fined, Patricia Nerich, a teacher at P.S. 369K, $900 for using her City e-mail account to send two email messages to DOE employees, parents, and students relating to her campaign for re-election as United Federation of Teachers (“UFT”) Chapter Leader of her school. As Chapter Leader of her school, the teacher received an annual stipend from UFT of approximately $1,175 ($5 for each UFT member at his school). The teacher acknowledged that her conduct violated the City’s conflicts of interest law, which prohibits public servants from using City resources, including their e-mail accounts, for any non-City purpose. The Board also issued her opponent, another DOE teacher, a public warning letter for using her DOE e-mail account to send one e-mail message to DOE employees relating to her campaign for the same UFT Chapter Leader position. COIB v. Maliaros, COIB Case No. 2009-445 (2010); COIB v. Nerich, COIB Case No. 2009-445a (2010).

IN THE MATTER OF PATRICIA NERICH, COIB CASE NO. 2009-445a

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