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1731 SivickPHONE: 717 - 783 -1610 TOLL FREE: 1- 800 -932 -0936 In Re: John P. Sivick, Respondent S } s� v STATE ETHICS COMMISSION FINANCE BUILDING 613 NORTH STREET ROOM 309 HARRISBURG, PA 17120 -0400 File Docket: X -ref: Date Decided Date Mailed: FACSIMILE: 717- 787 -0806 WESSITE: www.ethics.pa.aov 16 -001 Order No. 1731 211118 218118 Before: Nicholas A. Colafella, Chair Mark R. Corrigan, Vice Chair Roger Nick Melanie DePalma Monique Myatt Galloway Michael A. Schwartz Shelley Y. Simms This is a final adjudication of the State Ethics Commission. Procedurally, the Investigative Division of the State Ethics Commission conducted an investigation regarding possible violation(s) of the Public Official and Employee Ethics Act ( "Ethics Act "), 65 Pa.C.S. § 1101 et se q., by the above -named Respondent. At the commencement of its investigation, the Investigative Division served upon Respondent written notice of the specific allegations. Upon completion of its investigation, the Investigative Division issued and served upon Respondent a Findings Report identified as an "Investigative Complaint." An Answer to the Investigative Complaint was filed by Respondent. A Stipulated Record was filed by the parties in lieu of an evidentiary hearing in this matter, and the parties filed briefs. The record is complete. ALLEGATIONS: That John P. Sivick, a public official/public employee in his capacity as a Supervisor for Lehman Township, Pike County, violated Sections 1103(a), 1104(a }, 1104(d), 1105 {a), and 1105(b)(5) of the State Ethics Act (Act 93 of 1998) when he utilize the authority of his public position for the private pecuniary benefit of himself and/or a member of his immediate family by participating in discussions and actions of the Township Board of Supervisors to eliminate a Township employment provision prohibiting nepotism with the intent of hiring his son as a Township employee; when he discussed, recommended, lobbied, influenced, and /or sought the support of the Board of Supervisors to effectuate the hiring of his son as a Township employee; when he verified Township records enabling and/or otherwise directing the payment of salary /wage to his son from public monies; and when he filed a deficient Statement of Financial Interests by failing to identify his Governmental Entity and Income received from the Township on 2011 calendar year Statement of Financial Interests, and failed to identify a calendar year on his Statement of Financial Interests filed for the 2014 calendar year. II. FINDINGS: A. General Stipulations 1. On November 30, 2015, the Investigative Division of the State Ethics Commission received a signed, sworn complaint alleging that John P. Sivick violated provisions of the State Ethics Act (Act 93 of 1998). 2. After reviewing the sworn complaint, the Investigative Division initiated a preliminary Sivick, 16 -001 1 e2 inquiry on January 19, 2016. 3. Under 51 Pa. Code § 21.3(a), a preliminary inquiry must be terminated or opened as a full investigation within 60 days of the initiation thereof. a. The preliminary inquiry was completed within sixty days from initiation of the preliminary inquiry. See, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1108(a)). b. The Commission, through the Executive Director, initiated a full investigation on March 17, 2016. 4. On March 17, 2016, a letter was forwarded to John P. Sivick, by the Investigative Division of the State Ethics Commission, informing him that a complaint against him was received by the Investigative Division and that a full investigation was being commenced. (See, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1108(c)). a. Said letter was addressed to John P. Sivick at [address redacted] and was forwarded by certified mail no. 7011 0470 0002 7997 2138. b. The domestic return receipt contained an incorrect name of Jason P. Sivick; however, the envelope was addressed with the correct name of John P. Sivick and the correct address of [address redacted]. C. The domestic return receipt was signed by Respondent John P. Sivick on March 21, 2017, 5. On September 1, 2016, an amended Notice of Investigation was forwarded to John P. Sivick by the Investigative Division of the State Ethics Commission informing him that the allegations contained in the March 17, 2016, Notice of Investigation were being amended. a. Said letter was forwarded by certified mail, no. 7011 0470 0002 7996 5765. b. The domestic return receipt was signed by Respondent John P. Sivick on September 6, 2016. 6. Periodic notice letters were forwarded to John P. Sivick at least every ninety days in accordance with the provisions of the Ethics Act advising him of the general status of the investigation (See, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1108(c)). 7. The Investigative Complaint/Findings Report was mailed to the Respondent on September 13, 2016. a. The Investigative Complaint/Findings Report was issued within 180 days of the initiation of a full investigation (see, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1108(c)). 8. John P. Sivick has served as a Lehman Township ( "Township ") Supervisor since January 1994. a. Sivick has served as the Chairman of the Township Board of Supervisors since January 2004. b. Sivick served as the Vice Chairman of the Board of Supervisors for calendar years 1994 through 2003. C. Sivick was initially appointed as the Road master by the Board of Supervisors at the Township Reorganizational meeting in January 1995. Sivick, 16 -001 'age 3 Sivick has been reappointed as the Roadmaster by the Board of Supervisors at the Reorganizational meetings from 1995 until sometime after 2005, at which time the Board of Supervisors assigned to him the additional responsibilities of Public Works Director. 2. The position of Public Works Director is a public employment position. 9. J. Justin Sivick is the son (child) and immediate family member of Respondent, John P. Sivick. a. J. Justin Sivick is often referred to as "Jay" as a nickname and/or way of distinguishing J. Justin Sivick from his father, John P. Sivick (Respondent). b. J. Justin Sivick resides at [address redacted]. Respondent and his wife, Ann Sivick, maintain ownership of the home. 10. Lehman Township (hereafter also referred to as] "Township "), Pike County, Pennsylvania is a township of the second class and is governed by a three (3) Member Board of Supervisors. a. Lehman Township Supervisors receive $3,250.00 gross annually, paid in twelve equal installments, for services rendered in their elected Supervisorlpublic official capacity. b. In accordance with the Second Class Township Code, any Supervisor that is employed with the Township must have a working Supervisor wage established by the Township Berard of Auditors. 11. The Township holds, at least, one regularly scheduled legislative meeting per month. a. Generally, the first Township meeting of each calendar year is the Township Reorganizational meeting. At the Reorganizational meeting, Township public officials are appointed and/or reappointed in their respective officer positions. 2. Frequently, but not exclusively, at the Reorganizational meeting, the Township Board of Supervisors may vote on whether or not to authorize a pay increase for Township employees. aa. Notwithstanding the foregoing, pay rates and increases for Township employees who are also elected Township Supervisors, also known as "working Supervisors," are determined by the Township Board of Auditors at the first Township Board of Auditors meeting of each calendar year. bb. For the years preceding and during the Township's employment of J. Justin Sivick, a motion has been regularly made during [the] Reorganization meeting to "authorize the secretary/treasurer to pay salaries, postage, and meeting pay as necessary." During the years 2013 through 2016, this motion was approved unanimously by the entire three- Member Board of Supervisors. Sivick, 16 -001 4 cc. For the years preceding and during the Township's employment of J. Justin Sivick, a motion has been regularly made during [the] Reorganization meeting to "set new hourly rates (on file) that begin' January 1 of the then fiscal year. The only exception was during the January 4, 2016, Reorganization meeting where the motion was made "to set new salaries." During the years 2013 through 2016, this motion was approved unanimously by the entire three - Member Board of Supervisors. dd. For the years preceding and during the Township's employment of J. Justin Sivick, a motion has been regularly made during [the] Reorganization meeting to approve the employee benefits and information. During the years 2013 through 2016, this motion was approved unanimously by the entire three - Member Board of Supervisors. b. The Township holds special meetings as necessary. 12. Prior to the traditional legislative meetings which frequently occurred twice per month during the period of 2013 -2016, the Supervisors received a meeting packet that consist[ed] of the upcoming meeting agenda, a written copy of the prior month's meeting minutes, and a Treasurer's report. a. The meeting agendas are prepared by the Township Secretary. b. The Treasurer's report includes a list of the Township's monthly expenses. One of the itemized expenses in the Treasurer's report is shown as "employee payroll" in which the grand total of all compensation to be F aid to employees is shown. The names of individual employees and he amounts to be paid to each employee are not shown. aa. The Township issues pay to its approximate thirteen (13) employees on a biweekly basis, [a]imost all of whom, including Respondent (John P. Sivick) and his son (J. Justin Sivick), are paid through direct deposit. Nine (9) of these thirteen (13) employees are assigned to the road crew. 13. Typically, voting during a Township meeting occurs in group "aye /nay" fashion after a motion is made and properly seconded. a. Typically, any abstentions or objections made during the vote are specifically noted in the minutes. b. Frequently, minutes of each meeting are approved at the subsequent meeting. 14. To the extent the employee payroll was on a legislative agenda, the vote taken at each legislative meeting to approve the bills included the approval of employee payroll. a. The Township utilizes a pay calendar which consists of twenty -six (26) separate pay periods within a given calendar year. 1. Each of the pay periods is fourteen (14) days in length. 2. Each pay period begins on the Sunday of the first week and ends on the Saturday of the second week. Sivick, 16 -001 T age 5 3. Votes to approve payroll occurred during the following periods as follows: aa. 2013: 22 times, for which 13 times J. Justin Sivick was a Township employee; bb. 2014: 24 times during all of which J. Justin Sivick was a Township employee; cc. 2015: 24 times during all of which J. Justin Sivick was a Township employee; dd. 2016 (through July 6): 13 times during all of which J. Justin Sivick was a Township employee. Respondent was absent from the May 18, 2016, meeting. b. The Township employees receive pay on the Wednesday following the pay period. 15. Since January 2012, the Township Board of Supervisors has consisted of the following individuals (other than Respondent): a. Richard C. Vollmer ( "Vollmer ") 1. Vollmer is in his third term as a Supervisor. 2. Vollmer began his service as a Township Supervisor on July 5, 2000.1 3. Vollmer has served as Board Vice Chairman since January 2004. 4. Vollmer was appointed and employed by the Township as the Sewage Enforcement Officer and Building Code Official from September 3, 2002, to September 22, 2010. aa. Vollmer was appointed in these positions for calendar years 2011, 2012, and 2013, but collected workers compensation benefits during those years. b. Robert H. Rohner, Jr. ( "Rohner ") 1. Rohner is in his first term as a Supervisor. 2. Rohner began his service as a Township Supervisor in January 2014. 3. Rohner was initially appointed as the Township Secretary/Treasurer in October 1995. aa. Rohner was reappointed as the Township Secretary/Treasurer for each calendar year following his initial appointment. 4. Rohner is also employed full -time by the Township as the Office Manager. aa. The position of Office Manager coincides with the publicly appointed positions of Secretary/Treasurer. 1 Cf., Fact Finding 35 a. Sivick, 16 -001 Page 6 bb. Rohner has held this employment position since October 1995. C. Paul D. Menditto, Sr. ( "Menditto ") Menditto served as a Supervisor from January 2004 through January 2014. 2. Menditto resigned from his position as Supervisor following his election as a Magisterial District Justice for District 60 -3 -04. 3. Menditto was employed full -time by the Township as a road crew laborer prior to his resignation. aa. Menditto had also been appointed as the Township Assistant Roadmaster prior to his resignation. 16. The Township consists of the Administrative Office, Building and Zoning Office, and Public Works Department. a. All applicants are available to be interviewed by each Supervisor, regardless of the position being applied for. 17. The Township Public Works /road crew employees are held to a forty (40) hour workweek consisting of five (5) eight (8) hour workdays. a. The road crew employees' standard workweek begins on Monday and ends on Friday. 18. The Township maintains an employee handbook applicable to all of the Township full -time and part -time employees. a. The employee handbook contains rules, regulations, and guidelines set forth by the Township Board of Supervisors. b. Prior to 2009, the Township had previously had a three (3) page employee pamphlet. Menditto developed a more detailed Township employee handbook in 2009. 2. The Township employee handbook has undergone additional revisions and enhancements subsequent to 2009. 19. The original employee pamphlet (pre -2009) did not include a Nepotism Policy. a. The handbook completed by Menditto in 2009 contained a Nepotism Policy which provided as follows: No person shall be hired by Lehman Township in a full -time, permanent position where the person shall supervise or be supervised by a member of the person's immediate family. This prohibition applies to supervision at any level, whether immediate or through subordinate supervisors, and applies to any situation where control or direction of the relative's work covered cause a conflict of interest. Immediate family is defined as one's spouse, parent, son or daughter, sister or brother, grandparent or grandchild. If any employees become related by marriage after employment, Lehman Township Sivick, 16 -001 P-a—ge-7 shall attempt to rearrange supervisory responsibilities so as to remove any potential conflict. If-such an arrangement cannot be reached, the employees involved shall be given the opportunity to resolve the conflict through resignation. If this cannot be done, Lehman Township reserves the right to resolve the conflictthrough termination of one of the employees. The Township Board of Supervisors voted in favor of adopting the handbook written by Menditto in 2009. Respondent, as a Township Supervisor, voted in favor of approving /enacting the employee handbook, including the Nepotism Policy. 20. In late 2012, Respondent verbalized his interest in his son, J. Justin Sivick, potentially working for the Township to his fellow elected Supervisors in one -on -one meetings which were not advertised meetings of the Board. During these discussions, each of the Supervisors, including Respondent, recognized that the Nepotism Policy would need to be removed from the employee handbook. 21. The Township employee handbook was revised, effective by vote at the January 7, 2013, Township Reorganizational meeting, so that the Nepotism Policy was removed. During the January 7, 2013, Reorganizational meeting, Menditto motioned to approve the "employee benefits and information," which included the newly - revised Township employee handbook from which the Nepotism Policy had been removed. Vollmer seconded the motion. Respondent abstained as instructed by Solicitor Robert Bernathy. 1. Respondent was instructed to abstain due to the change to the employee handbook, which would later allow the hiring of J. Justin Sivick. The vote to remove the Nepotism Policy was approved by Supervisors Vollmer and Menditto, with Respondent abstaining. 22. Respondent, as Roadmaster, bore responsibility for coordinating scheduled training and classes for Township road crew employees. 23. A traffic control flagger training course was sponsored by the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors on March 21, 2013, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the American Legion located at 107 Ball Park Road, Dingmans Ferry, PA 18328. This course is mandated by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation ( "PennDOT ") for individuals who may be required to perform flagger duties during the course of their employment. The Township, by and through Township Secretary- Treasurer Robert Rohner who initialed the form, submitted a registration form dated March 20, 2013, and a check of the same date for $300 payable to the course sponsor naming the following six individuals as attendees for this specific course, namely Vincent Lopez, Paul Menditto, Aaron Springs, Bill Duffy, Walter Conza, and J. Justin Sivick. According to the registratRon materials, the cost Sivick, 16 -001 Page 8 of attendance for each attendee was $50.00. Respondent, as Roadmaster, was familiar with and approved the list of attendees for the course. G. J. Justin Sivick had not submitted an application for employment with the Township at this time. d. The same day, i.e., March 20, 2013, Respondent submitted a personal check drawn on his own account and signed by him in the amount of $50.00 to Lehman Township, with "Flagging Class" appearing in the subject line. This check was deposited on March 22, 2013, into an account held by the Lehman Township Board of Supervisors at PNC Bank. 24. The Township does not utilize advertisements for open employment positions. 25. J. Justin Sivick formally initiated his candidacy for employment by completing an application with the Township dated June 3, 2013. a. The application was received by the Township and kept with his employment file. [The application and supporting materials received from J. Justin Sivick are included in the Stipulated Record at 85 -89.] I . The position listed on J. Justin Sivick's application was "public works maintenance." 2. The application form utilized b the Township for employment candidates contains a question Lt asks if the applicant has any friends or relatives, other than the applicant's spouse, who are employed by the Township. aa. J. Justin Sivick checked the box labeled "Yes" but did not specify the name, relationship, or position of his father, Respondent, John P. Sivick. 3. The application form utilized by the Township for employment candidates contains a section which asks for any specialized training, apprenticeships, or other job - related skills. 26. J. Justin Sivick began employment with the Township effective June 10, 2013. a. Township meeting minutes do not record any official vote of the Board of Supervisors approving the hiring of Respondent's son. b. Township records confirm there were five separate Township Board of Supervisors meetings held during June 2013: June 4, June 5, June 11, June 19, and June 25. C. None of the minutes from any of those five (5) public meetings reflect any discussion or vote regarding the hiring of J. Justin Sivick. 27. J. Justin Sivick's initial pay rate upon hire in June 2013 was $15.00 per hour for regular work hours and $22.50 per hour for overtime. a. J. Justin Sivick's pay rates for each of his subsequent yyears of employment in his position as a Township road crew laborer may be found in the chart below: Regular How Race Overtime Hourly Rate 2014 6.20 Sivick, 16 -001 age 9 2015 7.45 2016 1 $18.20 27.30 28. Township Office Manager Rohner is responsible for issuing wage /salary to the Township employees using direct deposit and paychecks, depending pon the employee. Most employees are paid through direct deposit, including but not limited to Respondent (John P. Sivick) and his son (J. Justin Sivick). a. Rohner issues such payments for the Township employees as part of his Treasurer duties. b. For the nine road crew employees, payments are based on timesheets. The timesheets are filled out by those employees and then given by the employees to Public Works Director John P. Sivick, who then examines the same for accuracy and completeness and then passes the same along for additional checking by the administrative secretary and Secretary/Treasurer. 29. John P. Sivick compares all road crew employee timesheets for accuracy based on information he maintains in a personal planner. a. The information contained in his planner includes the hours worked by individual road crew employees for each workday, information regarding sick days or vacation time utilized by any of the road crew employees, and tasks assigned to specific road crew employees. b. Upon completion of all road crew employees' timesheets, John P. Sivick signs /verifies the timesheets and forwards them on as described above. 30. From the pay period beginning on June 2, 2013, until the pay period ending on Jul 9, 2016, J. Justin Sivick has received pay from the Township during eighty -one (81) separate pay periods, with a timesheet accompanying each pay period. a. Each pay is disbursed only after a signature has been made on the employee's timesheet. b. John P. Sivick signed seventy -nine (79) of J. Justin Sivick's timesheets. G. From the ppay period beginning on June 2, 2013, until the pay period ending on July 9, 2016, J. Justin Sivick has received a total gross pay of $126,552.24. 1. The total net pay for this same timeframe is $87,949.36. 31. J. Justin Sivick's employment with the Township was terminated effective June 30, 2016. 32. Respondent timely filed Statements of Financial Interests for calendar years 2011 through 2015 with the Township. a. Respondent's 2011 and 2014 calendar year Statements of Financial Interests are included in the Stipulated Record at 91 -96.] B. Stipulations Regarding Testim_on 33. If called as a witness before this Commission to provide testimony in this matter, Rohner would testify under oath to the following (based upon a deposition given on April 7, 2016): Sivick, 16 -001 -'age 10 a. Rohner has served as Township Secretary/Treasurer since October 1995. b. In the fall of 2012, while Rohner was serving as Township Secretary/Treasurer but was not yet a Supervisor, Respondent John P. Sivick told Rohner that he wanted to hire his son, J. Justin Sivick, and that the Nepotism Policy was being taken out of the Township employee handbook so that his son, J. Justin Sivick, could be hired. 1. Rohner stated that at that time, Respondent John P. Sivick was the Township Supervisor who primarily ran things at the Township, and if he wanted things done they got done. C. The Township employee handbook was officially revised in January of 2013. Respondent John P. Sivick abstained from the January 2013 vote of the Township Board of Supervisors to revise the employee handbook because the Nepotism Policy was being removed and the Township was going to hire his son. d. J. Justin Sivick's employment with the Township began around June 2013. e. The employment position filled by J. Justin Sivick was not advertised. Rohner stated that the starting pay rate for J. Justin Sivick was the same as that for any new Township employee. g. J. Justin Sivick attended a flagger course before he was hired by the Township. h. Township payroll checks are direct deposited into the employees' accounts. 34. If called as a witness before this Commission to provide testimony in this matter, the Honorable Paul D. Menditto, Sr. (also referred to herein as "Judge Menditto" and "Menditto ") would testify under oath to the following (based upon a deposition given on April 7, 2016): a. Judge Menditto is currently a Magisterial District Judge in Pike County, District 60 -3 -04. b. Prior to serving as a Judge, Menditto served as a Township Supervisor for Lehman Township from January 2004 until January 2014. G. In 2013, the Township Supervisors serving with Menditto were Respondent John P. Sivick and Vollmer. d. To Menditto's knowledge, there was no formal hiring process at the Township during the entire time he served as a Township Supervisor, but rather, Respondent John P. Sivick did all of the hiring. e. John P. Sivick approached Menditto and stated that he wanted to hire his son (J. Justin Sivick). 1. This occurred prior to any vote to hire J. Justin Sivick. f. Menditto stated that the only Township employee hired by a vote was J. Justin Sivick. Sivick, 16 -001 �W11 1. Menditto stated that he and Vollmer voted in favor of hiring J. Justin Sivick, and Respondent John P. Sivick abstained from the vote. g. J. Justin Sivick attended a flagger training course prior to being hired by the Township in June of 2013. h. Menditto wrote most of the Township employee manual /handbook that existed in 2012 -2013. i. The Township's employee handbook as Menditto initiallywrote it contained a Nepotism Policy. j. Generally, when changes were made to the Township employee handbook, Menditto developed an "errata sheet" stating what was being changed, and Menditto would then distribute the revised employee handbook togetherwith the errata sheet so that everyone would know what the changes were. k. When the Nepotism Policy was removed from the Township employee handbook, the Supervisors discussed the removal in a casual conversation at the Township building and agreed to remove the Nepotism Policy from the employee handbook, but Respondent John P. Sivick told Menditto to not make an errata sheet. 1. Although the Township employee handbook referred to an Office Manager, the Township did not actually have an Office Manager. 1. Rohner, whose title was Secretary/Treasurer, would have been the de facto Office Manager. M. Rohner took Menditto's place as a Township Supervisor. n. Starting salaries for new hires at the Township were set based upon surveys by the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors. 35. If called as a witness before this Commission to provide testimony in this matter, Vollmer would testify under oath to the following (based upon a deposition given on May 3, 2016): a. Vollmer is a Lehman Township Supervisor, having served in that capacity for 10 years.2 b. Respondent John P. Sivick has served as a Township Supervisor during the entire time that Vollmer has served as a Township Supervisor. C, Hirings for the Township road crew were generally made based upon recommendations of Respondent John P. Sivick. d. In late 2012 Respondent John P. Sivick told Vollmer that he would like to someday maybe have his son, J. Justin Sivick, work at the Township. Vollmer questioned Respondent as to whether it would be a good idea for J. Justin Sivick to work at the Township, and Vollmer raised with Respondent various concerns about hiring Respondent's son. 2 Cf., Fact Finding 15 a(2). Sivick, 16 -001 '12 2. Vollmer stated that Respondent John P. Sivick "pled his case ... about seeing his son get a chance." (Stipulated Record, at 75, lines 23 -24). 3. After further discussion, Vollmer mentioned the employee handbook and Respondent John P. Sivick stated, "...we're going to have to change the book then." (Stipulated Record, at 69, lines 6 -7). 4. Vollmer then agreed and said, "okay we'll change the book." (Stipulated Record, at 69, line 7). e. When the Township employee handbook was re- written to remove the Nepotism Policy, the Supervisors — including Respondent John P. Sivick- - met to discuss the change(s), Menditto then made the change(s), the other Supervisors read it, it was given to the Solicitor to review, and finally the Supervisors voted on it with John P. Sivick abstaining from the vote. f. The Township employee handbook was changed at the Reorganizational meeting in January 2013. g. Six months after the January 2013 Reorganizational meeting, Respondent John P. Sivick again asked if it would be alright if he brought his son in to be a Township employee. h. Vollmer stated that he asked Township Solicitor Robert Bernathy if it was legal to hire Respondent's son, and Solicitor Bernathy said "yes it's perfectly legal he can do that." Sti ulated Record, at 70, lines 5 -21). Vollmer asked Respondent John P. Sivick if J. Justin Sivick had qualifications for the Township position, and Respondent John P. Sivick told Vollmer that J. Justin Sivick did have qualifications for the position. John P. Sivick relayed to Vollmer J. Justin Sivick's qualifications to work for the Township, including being able to drive, having a license, being able to drive a truck, and having some experience with some of the heavy equipment. Respondent John P. Sivick did not participate in a vote to hire J. Justin Sivick. Vollmer stated that in June 2013, he and the other Suppervisor ( Menditto) voted to approve hiring J. Justin Sivick and John P. Sivick abstained from the vote. k. Respondent John P. Sivick was responsible for the decision to send members of the Township road crew to flag training school. 1. Vollmer was not aware that J. Justin Sivick went to a flag training school before he was hired by the Township. Vollmer stated that there is a minimum beginning pay rate for a Township employee. M. Respondent John P. Sivick was responsible for keeping track of the hours worked by each Township road crew employee. Sivick, 16 -001 'age 13 36. If called as a witness before this Commission to provide testimony in this matter, Robert F. Bernathy, Esquire ( "Bernathy ") would testify under oath to the following (based upon a deposition given on May 16, 2016): a. Bernathy is the Solicitor for Lehman Township, having served in that capacity for approximately 20 years. b. Bernathy directed John P. Sivick to not particippate whatsoever in the hiring of J. Justin Sivick. (Stipulated Record, at 79 -80). C. Other Findings 37. J. Justin Sivick was registered by Lehman Township to take the Flagger Training Course on March 21, 2013. (Stipulated Record, at 8182). a. The cost to the Township for six individuals, including J. Justin Sivick, to take the Flagger Training Course was $300.00. b. John P. Sivick issued to the Township personal check number 468 dated March 20, 2013, in the amount of $50.00 for "Flagging Class." (Stipulated Record, at 84). 38. J. Justin Sivick submitted to the Township an Application for Employment dated June 3, 2013, for the position of "Public Works Maintenance." (Stipulated Record, at 85 -89). 39, John P. Sivick's Statement of Financial Interests for calendar year 2011, which is in the Stipulated Record at 93, is deficient in blocks 5 and 10. a. Block 5, requiring disclosure of the governmental entity served by John P. Sivick, was not completed. b. Block 10, requiring disclosure of any direct/indirect source of income totaling in the aggregate $1,300 or more, did not identify the Township as a source of income. G. In Block 4 and 6 of this form, Respondent disclosed his positions as Township Supervisor, Roadmaster, and Public Works Director. 40. John P. Sivick's Statement of Financial Interests dated March 30, 2015, ostensibly for calendar year 2014, which is in the Stipulated Record at 96, is deficient in block 7. a. Block 7, requiring disclosure of the calendar year for which the form was being filed, was not completed. 41. The Stipulated Record at 98 -476 consists of copies of the public meeting minutes of the Lehman Township Board of Supervisors from January 7, 2013, through July 12, 2016. a. The public meeting minutes of the Lehman Township Board of Supervisors do not include any recorded vote to hire J. Justin Sivick. 42. The Stipulated Record at 98 -103 consists of a copy of the minutes of the January 7, 2013, Reorganization meeting of the Lehman Township Board of Supervisors. a. The three Township Supervisors serving in 2013 were Respondent John P. Sivick, Vollmer, and Menditto. Sivick, 16 -001 X14 b. Respondent John P. Sivick was reappointed Chairman of the Township Board of Supervisors and Roadmaster /Public Works Director for the Township. C. These minutes include the following: APPROVE EMPLOYEE BENEFITS AND INFOR- Motion made by Mr. Menditto and second of Mr. Vollmer to approve the employee benefits and information. r. Sivick abstained. (Stipulated Record, at 102). d. These minutes do not indicate that the Township's employee handbook had been amended to remove the Nepotism Policy. 43. Respondent John P. Sivick participated in the unanimous vote of the Township Board of Supervisors to approve the minutes of the January 7, 2013, Reorganization meeting of the Board of Supervisors. (Stipulated Record, at 106, 116). 44. The Stipulated Record at 219 -224 consists of a copy of the minutes of the January 6, 2014, Reorganization meeting of the Lehman Township Board of Supervisors. a. The three Township Supervisors serving in 2014 were Respondent John P. Sivick, Vollmer, and Rohner, the latter of which was appointed at the Reorganization meeting to complete Menditto's unexpired term. b. Respondent John P. Sivick was reappointed Chairman of the Township Board of Supervisors and Roadmaster /Public Works Director for the Township. 45. The Stipulated Record at 327 -332 consists of a copy of the minutes of the January 5, 2015, Reorganization meeting of the Lehman Township Board of Supervisors. a. The three Township Supervisors serving in 2015 were Respondent John P. Sivick, Vollmer, and Rohner. b. Respondent John P. Sivick was reappointed Chairman of the Township Board of Supervisors and Roadmaster /Public Works Director for the Township. 46. The minutes of the December 22, 2015, public meeting of the Lehman Township Board of Supervisors include the following: EMPLOYEE RAISES FOR 2016: After a short discussion a motion was made by Mr. Vollmer and second of Mr. Rohner to grant all employees a $0.75 per hour raise. Mr. Sivick agreed, but stated that he was abstaining from voting on Justin Sivick's raise. (Stipulated_ Record, at 428). Sivick, 16 -001 1 e15 47. The Stipulated Record at 429 -435 consists of a copy of the minutes of the January 4, 2016, Reorganization meeting of the Lehman Township Board of Supervisors. a. The three Township Supervisors serving in 2016 were Respondent John P. Sivick, Vollmer, and Rohner. b. Respondent John P. Sivick was reappointed Chairman of the Township Board of Supervisors and Roadmaster /Public Works Director for the Township. 48. The minutes of the June 14, 2016, public meeting of the Lehman Township Board of Supervisors include the following: NEW BUSINESS: 1. PERSONNEL: Motion made by Mr. Rohner and second of Mr. Vollmer to suspend John Sivick as the township's road master and public works director for 90 days with pay, pending the outcome of the investigation by the State Ethics Commission, and it will be reviewed at that time. Mr. Sivick abstained. Motion made by Mr. Rohner and second of Mr. Vollmer to appoint Edward Dickison as the road master and public works director, and to appoint Timothy Rohner as the foreman. Unanimous. (Stipulated Record, at 469). 49. The minutes of the July 6, 2016, public meeting of the Lehman Township Board of Supervisors include the following: MISCELLANEOUS: AN EXECUTIVE SESSION WAS HELD ON JUNE 30TH AT 8:15 A.M. REGARDING PERSONNEL: Mr. Sivick wants it noted that he was not notified of the Executive Session. Mr. Bernathy stated that Mr. Rohner and Mr. Vollmer convened to discuss a matter on which Mr. Sivick had previously recused himself. 2. AN EXECUTIVE SESSION WAS HELD ON JUNE 30TH AT 2:05 P.M. REGARDING PERSONNEL: Mr. Sivick wants it noted that he was not notified of the Executive Session. Mr. Bernathy stated that Mr. Rohner and Mr. Vollmer convened to discuss a matter on which Mr. Sivick had previously recused himself. PERSONNEL: Motion made by Mr. Rohner and second of Mr. Vollmer to ratify the termination of Justin Sivick from the township's employ on June 30, 2016. Mr. Sivick abstained. Sivick, 16-001 l e16 Mr. Rohner stated that this was the matter discussed at the two (2) Executive Sessions held on June 30th (Stipulated Record, at 474 -475). 50. Respondent John P. Sivick voted to approve employee payroll throughout J. Justin Sivick's employment with the Township. (Stipulated Record, at4 -5 (paragraphs 12- 14 b) and 162 -476). 51. All nine or so Township road crew employees are assigned to the Township's Public Works Department and are /were supervised by Respondent John P. Sivick in his capacity as Director of Public Works. Initial Brief of Respondent Based on Stipulated Record (hereinafter, "Respondents Initial Brie t"), at 3, 5. III. DISCUSSION; In his capacities as a Supervisor and Public Works Director for Lehman Township "Township "), Pike County, Pennsylvania, John P. Sivick, also referred to herein as ' Respondent," "Respondent Sivick,' "Respondent John P. Sivick," and "Sivick," was a public official /public employee subject to the provisions of the Public Official and Employee Ethics Act ( "Ethics Act "), 65 Pa.C.S. § 1101 et sec.. The allegations as set forth in the Investigative Complaint/Findings Report are that Respondent Sivick violated Sections 1103(a), 1104(a), 1104(4 ), 1105(a), and 11 05(b)(5) of the Ethics Act: (1) when he utilized the authority of his public position for the private pecuniary benefit of himself and /or a member of his immediate family bar participating in discussions and actions of the Township Board of Supervisors ( "Board') to eliminate a Township employment provision prohibiting nepotism with the intent of hiring his son as a Township employee; (2) when he discussed, recommended, lobbied, influenced, and /or sought the support of the Board to effectuate the hiring of his son as a Township employee; (3) when he verified Township records enabling and/or otherwise directing the payment of salarylwage to his son from public monies; and (4) when he filed a deficient Statement of Financial Interests ( "SFI ") by failing to identify his Governmental Entity and Income received from the Township on his 2011 calendar year SFI, and failed to identify a calendar year on his SFI filed for the 2014 calendar year. Pursuant to Section 1103(a) of the Ethics Act, a public official /public employee is prohibited from engaging in conduct that constitutes a conflict of interest: § 1103. Restricted activities (a) Conflict of interest. —No public official or public employee shall engage in conduct that constitutes a conflict of interest. 65 Pa.C.S. § 1103(a). The following terms are defined in the Ethics Act as follows: § 1102. Definitions "Conflict" or "conflict of interest." Use by a public official or public employee of the authority of his office or employment or any confidential information received through his holding public office or employment for the private pecuniary benefit of himself, a member of his immediate family or a business with which he or a member of his immediate Sivick, 16 -001 P7ag—e 17 family is associated. The term does not include an action having a de minimis economic impact or which affects to the same degree a class consisting of the general public or a subclass consisting of an industry, occupation or other group which includes the public official or public employee, a member of his immediate family or a business with which he or a member of his immediate family is associated. "Authority of office or employment." The actual power provided by law, the exercise of which is necessary to the performance of duties and responsibilities unique to a particular public office or position of public employment. "Immediate family." A parent, spouse, child, brother or sister. 65 Pa.C.S. § 1102. Section 1103(a) of the Ethics Act prohibits a public officiallpublic employee from using the authority of public office /employment or confidential information received by holding such a public position for the private pecuniary benefit of the public official/public employee himself, any member of his immediate family, or a business with which he or a member of his immediate family is associated. The use of authority of office is not limited merely to voting, but extends to any use of authority of office including, but not limited to, discussing, conferring with others, and lobbying for a particular result. Juliante, Order 809. Per the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's decision in Kistler v. State Ethics Commission, 610 Pa. 516, 22 A.3d 223 (2011), in order to violate Section a of t e t ics Act, —a public official/public employee: ... must act in such a way as to put his [office /public position] to the purpose of obtaining for himself a private pecuniary benefit. Such directed action implies awareness on the part of the [public official/public employee] of the potential pecuniary benefit as well as the motivation to obtain that benefit for himself. Kistler, supra, 610 Pa. at 523, 22 A.3d at 227. To violate Section 1103(a) of the Ethics Act, a puic officiallpublic employee "must be consciously aware of a private pecuniary benefit for himself, his family, or his business, and then must take action in the form of one or more specific steps to attain that benefit." Id., 610 Pa. at 528, 22 A.3d at 231. Section 1104(a) of the Ethics Act provides that each public official/public employee must file an SFI for the preceding calendar year, each year that he holds the position and the year after he leaves it. Section 1104(d) of the Ethics Act provides that no public official shall be allowed to take the oath of office, or enter or continue upon his duties, nor shall he receive compensation from public funds, unless he has filed an SFI as required by the Ethics Act. Section 1105(a) of the Ethics Act provides that the SFI shall be filed on the form Fby this Commission; that all information requested on the form shall be provided to the best of the knowledge, information and belief of the filer; and that the form shall be signed under oath or equivalent affirmation. Section 1105(b) of the Ethics Act and its subsections detail the financial disclosure Sivick, 16 -001 P-a-g—e 18 that a person required to file the SFI form must provide. Subject to certain statutory exceptions not applicable to this matter, Section 1105(b)(5) of the Ethics Act requires the filer to disclose on the SFI the name and address of any direct or indirect source of income totaling in the aggregate $1,300 or more. Having set forth the relevant provisions of the Ethics Act, we first conclude that the procedural requirements of the Ethics Act were met in this case. See, Fact Findings 1 -7 a; 1.Respondent's Initial Brief, at 1; Closin Statement and Brief of the Investigative Division, at e shall now summarize the relevant tacts. The Board consists of three Supervisors. Township Supervisors receive $3,250.00 gross annually for services rendered in their elected Supervisor /public official capacity. Respondent Sivick has served as a Township Supervisor since January 1994. Respondent has served as Chairman of the Board since January 2004. During the relevant time period, the Board has consisted of the following individuals in addition to Respondent: (1) Richard C. Vollmer ( "Vollmer'), who was serving as a Township Supervisor by at least 2006; (2) Paul D. Menditto, Sr. (` Menditto"), who served as a Supervisor from January 2004 through January 2014 at which time he resigned to take office as a Magisterial District Judge; and (3) Robert H. Rohner, Jr. { "Rohner "), who has served as the Township Secretary / Treasurer since October 1995 and began service as a Township Supervisor in January 2014 to complete Menditto's term. In addition to serving as a Townshi p Supervisor, Respondent served as Township Roadmaster beginning January 1995 and as Township Public Works Director be inning sometime after 2005. Respondent was reappointed to both positions at the Board's Reorganizational meetings in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. On June 14, 2016, Respondent was suspended from serving in these positions for 90 days, pending the outcome of the Investigative Division's investigation as to Respondent. The Township's road crew employees are assigned to the Township's Public Works Department and are supervised by the Township Public Works Director. This case pertains to the employment of Respondent's son, J. Justin Sivick, as a Township road crew laborer. From 2009 until January 7, 2013, the Township had a Nepotism Policy, contained within the Township's employee handbook, which prohibited the hiring of a person for a full -time, permanent position with the Township where the person would be directly The indirectly supervised by a member of his immediate family such as his father. T Township's Nepotism Policy is detailed at Fact Finding 19 a. Respondent voted in favor of approvinglenacting the employee handbook with the Nepotism Policy in 2009. A few years later, in late 2012, Respondent verbalized to his fellow elected Supervisors, in one -on -one meetings which were not advertised meetings of the Board, his interest in his son, J. Justin Sivick, potentially working for the Township. During these discussions, each of the Supervisors, including Respondent, recognized that the Nepotism Policy would need to be removed from the employee handbook. In Respondent's discussion with Vollmer, Vollmer questioned Respondent as to whether it would be a good idea for J. Justin Sivick to work at the Township, and Vollmer raised with Respondent various concerns about hiring Respondent's son. Vollmer stated that Respondent John P. Sivick "pled his case ... about seeing his son get a chance." Stipulated Record, at 75, lines 23 -24). After further discussion, Vollmer mentioned the emp oyee hanabo ok and Respondent stated, "...we're going to have to change the book then." (Stipulated Record, at 69, lines 6 -7). Vollmer then agreed and said, "okay we'll change the book." tipu ated Record, at 69, line 7). Sivick, 16 -001 -'T g 19 In the fall of 2012, Respondent told Township Secretary/Treasurer Rohner that he wanted to hire his son, J. Justin Sivick, and that the Nepotism Policy was being taken out of the Township employee handbook so that his son, J. Justin Sivick, could be hired. To effectuate the removal of the Nepotism Policy from the employyee handbook, the Supervisors — including Respondent —first met to discuss the chang( Ss). Menditto then made the change(s), the other Supervisors read the employee handbooks as revised, it was ggiven to the Solicitor to review, and finally, at the January 7, 2013, Township Reorganizational meeting, the Supervisors voted to approve it with Respondent abstaining from the vote. Specifically, Menditto motioned to approve the "employee benefits and information," which included the newly- revised Township employee handbook from which the Nepotism Policy had been removed. Vollmer seconded the motion. Respondent abstained from the vote, as instructed by Township Solicitor Robert Bernathy, because the Nepotism Policy was being removed and the Township was going to hire his son. Respondent told Menditto to not make an errata sheet identifying the changes to the employee handbook, despite the Board's general practice of doing so. Subsequently, in or about March 2013, Respondent as Roadmaster approved the Township's registration of J. Justin Sivick and five other individuals to attend a traffic control flagger training course held March 21, 2013. At that time, J. Justin Sivick had not even submitted an application for employment with the Township, let alone been hired. Respondent reimbursed the Township for the cost of his son attending the course. Hirings for the Township road crewwere generally made based upon Respondent's recommendations. Vollmer stated that six months after the January 2013 Reorganizational meeting, Respondent again asked if it would be alright if he brought his son in to be a Township employee. Vollmer asked Respondent if J. Justin Sivick had qualifications for the Township position, and Respondent responded affirmatively and informed Vollmer of his son's qualifications. J. Justin Sivick formally applied for an employment position with the Township by completing an application dated June 3, 2013. The position listed on J. Justin Sivick's application was public works maintenance." The application form contained a question asking if the applicant had any friends or relatives, other than the applicant's souse, who were employed by the Township. J. Justin Sivick checked the box labeled "Yes' but did not specify the name, relationship, or position of his father, Respondent John P. Sivick. The Township's meeting minutes do not record any official vote of the Board appproving the hiring of J. Justin Sivick. However, Menditto and Vollmer both recall such a vofie taking place with Respondent abstaining. J. Justin Sivick was employed by the Township from June 10, 2013, to June 30, 2016. The employment position filled by J. Justin Sivick had not been advertised; however, the Township does not utilize advertisements for open employment positions. Payments for Township road crew employees are based on timesheets that the employees complete and submit to Respondent as Public Works Director. Respondent examines the timesheets for accuracy and completeness, and then signs them and passes them along for additional checking by the administrative secretary and Secretary/Treasurer. Each pay is disbursed only after a signature has been made on the employee's timesheet. From the pay period beginning on June 2, 2013, until the pay period ending on July 9, 2016, J. Justin Sivick received pay from the Township during 81 separate pay pperiods, with a timesheet accompanying each pay period. Respondent signed 79 of J. Justin Sivick's timesheets. Respondent also voted to approve employee payroll throughout J. Justin Sivick's employment with the Township but was absent from the May 18, 2016, meeting. Payroll was approved by the Board as a "grand total" amount and was not Sivick, 16 -001 age 20 delineated for individual employees. From the pay period beginning on June 2, 2013, until the pay period ending on July 9, 2016, J. Justin Sivick received total gross pay of $126,552 24 and total net pay of $87,949.36. Respondent timely filed SFIs for calendar years 2011 through 2015 with the Township. On Respondent's SFI for calendar year 2011, Block 5, requiring disclosure of the governmental entity served, was not completed. Additionally, Block 10, requiring disclosure of any direct/indirect source of income totaling in the aggregate $9,300 or more, did not identify the Township as a source of income. On Respondent's SFI dated March 30, 2015 -- ostensibly for calendar year 2014 -- Block 7, requiring disclosure of the calendar year for which the form was being filed, was not completed. Having summarized the above relevant facts, we determine that each element of a violation of Section 1103(a) of the Ethics Act has been established. Respondent used the authority of his public positions for the private pecuniary benefit of his son, J. Justin Sivick, when he participated in discussions and actions of the Board to eliminate the Township's Nepotism Policy with the intent and for the purpose of having his son hired as a Township road crew employee; when he discussed, recommended, lobbied, influenced, or sought the support of the Board to effectuate the hiring of his son as a Township employee; and when he verified Township records enabling and/or otherwise directing the payment of salary/wage to his son from public monies. Hirings for the Township road crew were generally made based upon Respondent's recommendations. In late 2012, Respondent verbalized to his fellow elected Supervisors, in one -on -one meetings which were not advertised meetings of the Board, his interest in his son, J. Justin Sivick otentially working for the Township. During hese discussions, each of the Supervisors, p including Respondent, recognized that the Nepotism Policywould need to be removed from the employee handbook. When Vollmer raised concerns about hiring Respondent's son and specifically mentioned the employee handbook, Respondent stated, "...we're going to have to change the book then." (Stipulated Record, at 69, lines 6 -7). Vollmer then agreed and said, "okay we'll change the book." ti u ated Record, at 69, line 7). Respondent used the authority of his public office as a Supervisor by participating in the aforesaid discussions as well as later discussions with his fellow Supervisors regarding the changes to the employee handbook to remove the Nepotism Policy. Respondent's discussions /actions to effectuate the removal of the Nepotism Policy —a policy that Respondent had voted to approve only a few years earlier —were undertaken with the specific intent, motivation, and purpose of enabling the hiring of Respondent's son, J. Justin Sivick, by the Township. Although Respondent abstained from the January 7, 2013, vote of the Board that approved the revised employee handbook, he had already used the authority of his office to effectuate the removal of the Nepotism Policy from the employee handbook prior to the vote. At this juncture, it is appropriate to note that the "conscious awareness" factor of Kistler, supra, is further satisfied by the evidence that Respondent directed Menditto to re rain from preparing an errata sheet identifying the changes to the employee handbook, despite the Board's general practice of doing so. Sivick, 16 -001 T55-g-e-21 Respondent used the authority of his public office as a Supervisor when he discussed, recommended, lobbied, influenced, or sought the support of the Board to effectuate the hiring of his son as a Township employee. Respondent "pled his case" to Vollmer about seeing his son "gget a chance.' Fact Finding 35 d(2); Stipulated Record, at 75, lines 23 -24. After the Nepotism Policy had been removed rom t e emp oyee handbook, Respondent again asked Vollmer if it would be alright if he brought his son in to be a Township employee. When Vollmer asked Respondent if J. Justin Sivick had qualifications forthe Township position, Respondent responded affirmatively and informed Vollmer of his son's qualifications. Respondent argues: • That he did not use the authority of his public office or employment, and specifically, that he did not exercise the powers unique to his office to eliminate the Nepotism Policy or to get his son hired; • That the removal of the Nepotism Policy was not the equivalent of appointing his son to an employment position and that no benefit was conferred until the position was filled; • That he removed himself from the policy revision and the appointment decision; • That the mere private introduction of the discussion topic of potential Township employment of his son was not the exercise of the unique powers of his office but rather the exercise of free speech available to all Americans; and • That the employment of his son yielded services for the benefit of the Township and no one else. (Respondent's Initial Brief, at 16 -21, 31; Supplemental Brief of Respondent Based on Stipulated ecor, at 4-5 . We reject Respondent's aforesaid arguments. We initially note that Respondent has mischaracterized the statutory definition of "authority of office or employment" as requiring an exercise of unique powers of public office or employment. See, Respondent's Initial Brief, at 16 -1 9; bueplemental Brief of Res ondent Based on Stipulated-Record, at4 -5. Rather, authority of office oremployment is "ft] he actual power prove e y law, the exercise of which is necessary to the pe ormancduties and res onsibilities uni ue to a particular public office or position of public employment. 65 Pa. 102 (Emphasis added). Respondent used the authority of his public office when he used the actual power he had by being a Township Supervisor to access and influence his fellow Township Supervisors to effectuate both the elimination of the Township's Nepotism Policy and the hiring of Respondent's son. Given that the Nepotism Policy ould have precluded the hiring of Respondent's son, and given that at least one of the Supervisors (Vollmer) raised concerns regarding hiring Respondent's son, it is clear that J. Justin Sivick would not have been hired as a Township employee but for Respondent's use of the authority of his public office as a Supervisor to engage in discussions with and make recommendations to his fellow Supervisors and to lobby /influence or seek the support of those Supervisors with regard to eliminating the Nepotism Policy and hiring his son. But for being a Supervisor, Respondent would not have been in a position to engage in such communications and to exert such influence to effectuate the hiring of his son. Respondent was consciously aware of the private pecuniary benefit his son would receive if hired by the Township, and Sivick, 16 -001 1 e 22 Respondent's actions in getting the Nepotism Policy eliminated and his son hired were steps to secure that private pecuniary benefit.3 See, Kistler, supra. Respondent argues in vain that a conflict of interest violation must be based upon personal financial gain other than compensation provided by law and that there is no evidence in this case that Respondent's son failed to perform the employment services for which he was compensated or received a lightened workload or a preferential allocation of overtime hours. (�See, Respondent's Initial Brief, at 21 -31). Under the current version of the Ethics Act, the financial gain that must be established to find a conflict of interest is a "private pecuniary benefit." A private pecuniary benefit may include, but is not limited to, compensation not provided by law. As clearly stated in Sn der v. State Ethics Commission, 686 A.2d 843 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1996), allocatur den D029 M.D. Allocatur Docket 1997 (Pa. December 22, 1997), the Ethics Act current�lict of interest standard bases conflicts of interest on private pecuniary gain regardless of whether such compensation is otherwise provided for by law. Id. at Note 16. Furthermore, the private pecuniary gain Respondents son received in theT orm of employment compensation was other than compensation provided by law because the law does not authorize a pu�liic official to use the authority of his public office to effectuate the hiring of his son.4 In his capacity as Public Works Director, Respondent signed 79 of his son's 81 timesheets as verification to effectuate payments to his son for hours of work claimed. Without such signatures, J. Justin Sivick would not have been paid by the Township. Respondent also participated as a Supervisor in Board votes to approve employee payroll throughout J. Justin Sivick's employment with the Township. Although Respondent contends that the class /subclass exclusion to the definition of "conflict' or "conflict of interest" would be applicable to the aforesaid actions, that argument fails. The review of each individual employee's timesheets and the subsequent approval of that individual's payroll as part of the total payroll for Township employees would not fall under the class/subclass exclusion because the review and approval as to each employee would be separate and specific to that individual based upon iris /her timesheet. Respondent's use of the authority of his public positions to have the Nepotism Policy eliminated, to have his son hired, and to sign timesheets and effectuate payments to his son for hours of work claimed resulted in a private pecuniary benefit consisting of the compensation J. Justin Sivick received from the Township for a job he would not otherwise have held. From the pay period beginning on June 2, 2013, until the pay period ending on July 9, 2016, J. Justin Sivick received total gross pay of $126,552.24 and total net pay of $87,949.36. With each element of a violation of Section 1103(a) established, we hold that Respondent John P. Sivick violated Section 1103(a) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. 1103(a), when he used the authority of his public positions for the private pecuniary benefit of his son, J. Justin Sivick, when he participated in discussions and actions of the Board to eliminate the Township's Nepotism Policy with the intent and for the purpose of having his son hired as a Township road crew employee; when he discussed, recommended, lobbied, influenced, or sought the support of the Board to effectuate the hiring of his son as a Township employee; and when he verified Township records enabling and/or otherwise directing the payment of salary/wage to his son from public monies. 3 Respondent acknowledges that there is evidence of his conscious awareness of a private pecuniary benefit to his son. Respondent's Initial Brief, at 16. 4 The cases relied upon by Respondent are factually inapposite. In the instant matter, Respondent's actions were specifically directed toward achievingg his goal of getting his son hired by the Township In contrast, in Kraines v. State Ethics Commission, 80,13 Ed 677 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2002), alloc. den., 572 Pa, 761, 818 A.2d 506 raines spouse a een pertorming the services in question utopsies) at the discretion of the ounty Coroner for years before Kraines, his wife, was elected County Controller, and Kra ines' involvement was limited to approving payments to her spouse via application of her signature stamp. In Pulice v. State Ethics Commission, 713 A.2d 161 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1998), alloc. den., 557 Pa. 642 732 A.2d 12�8)�fie employment position in question was created without any indicat5on of who would ultimately fill the position. Sivick, 16 -001 f ya—g e-2 3 As for Respondent's SFIs, Respondent timely filed SFIs for calendar years 2011 through 2015 with the Township. On Respondent's SFI for calendar year 2011, Block 5, requirinq disclosure of the governmental entity served, was not completed. Additionally, Block 10, requiring disclosure of an direct/indirect source of income totaling in the aggregate $1,300 or more, did not identify the Township as a source of income. On Respondent's SFi dated March 30, 2015 -- ostensibly for calendar year 2014 - -Block 7, requiring disclosure of the calendar year for which the form was being filed, was not completed. Respondent acknowledges the aforesaid deficiencies on his forms but essentially argues that someone reviewing the forms could infer or discover through other means the information he failed to plainly disclose on his SFI forms. See, Respondent's Initial Brief, at 35 -38. For the calendar year 2011 form, Respondent notes that via Blocks 4 and 6 of the form, Respondent disclosed his positions as Township Supervisor, Roadmaster, and Public Works Director, and he argues that his filing of the form with Lehman Township for these local government positions would have signaled that Lehman Township was where he was serving. See, Res ondent's Initial Brief, at 37). Additionally, Respondent asserts that the fact that he was entit a to compensation from the Township was a matter of general public knowledge, and the amounts are accessible from other sources and by other means, such as a review of the minutes of the Township Board of Auditors or through Right -to -Know Law requests. Id. For Respondent's SFI dated March 30, 2015 -- ostensibly for calendar year 2014- - Respondent contends that the date on the form signaled that it was for calendar year 2014 as no one could reasonably infer that the form filed in March of 2015 would reliably disclose information for the next nine months. See, Respondent's Initial Brief, at 37). Respondent further argues that because Respondent filed other l- s or ca en ar years 2010, 2011, 2012, ancf 2013, there was no other possible year the form dated March 30, 2015, could have covered. (See, Respondent's Initial Brief, at 38). It is the filer's duty to properly complete the SFI form. Respondent's deficiencies may not be dismissed merely because a savvy reviewer of his SFI forms might have been able to infer or discover through other means what Respondent failed to disclose. Accordingly, we hold that Respondent John P. Sivick violated Sections 1105(a) and 1105 b (Nthe of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. §§ 1105(a), (b)(5), but did not violate Section 1104(x) f h Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1104(a), when he filed timely but deficient SFIs for calendar years 2011 and 2014. We further hold that to the extent Respondent John P. Sivick received compensation from the Township when he did not have accurate and complete SFIs on file with the Township, such compensation was received in contravention of Section 1104(d) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1104(d). We shall now consider the financial penalty(ies) to be imposed upon Respondent The private pecuniary benefit that J. Justin Sivick received as a result of Respondents violation of Section 1103(a) of the Ethics Act was $87,949.36. Although there is certainly a legal basis for imposing restitution in the amount of $87,949.36, we will, in the exercise of our discretion, limit the amount of restitution to be paid by Respondent to $30,000.00, with such restitution to be paid to the Pennsylvania Office of the State Treasurer, through this Commission, for deposit in the General Fund of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Sivick, 16 -001 X24 Accordingly, Respondent John P. Sivick shall be ordered to make payment of restitution in the amount of $30,000.00 by certified check or money order in the amount of $30,000.00 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 adjudication and Order, which payment shall be forwarded by this Commission to the Pennsylvania Office of the State Treasurer for deposit in the General Fund of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In the exercise of our discretion, we shall not require disgorgement of the compensation Respondent received from the Township when his SF Is for calendar years 2011 and 2014 were deficient. However, to the extent he has not already done so, Respondent shall be ordered to file complete and accurate amended SFIs for the 2011 and 2014 calendar years with the Township, through this Commission, by no later than the thirtieth (30th) day after the mailing date of this adjudication and Order. Non - compliance will result in the institution of an order enforcement action. IV. CONCLUSIONS OF LAW: 1. In his capacities as a Supervisor and Public Works Director for Lehman Township ( "Township "), Pike County, Pennsylvania, John P. Sivick ( "Sivick ") was a public official /public employee subject to the provisions of the Public Official and Employee Ethics Act ( "Ethics Act "), 65 Pa.C.S. § 1101 et seg. 2. Sivick violated Section 1103(a) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1103(a), when he used the authority of his public positions for the private pecuniary benefit of his son, J. Justin Sivick, when he participated in discussions and actions of the Township Board of Supervisors ( "Board ") to eliminate the Township's Nepotism Policy with the intent and for the purpose of having his son hired as a Township road crew employee; when he discussed, recommended, lobbied, influenced, or sought the support of the Board to effectuate the hiring of his son as a Township employee; and when he verified Township records enabling and/or otherwise directing the payment of salary /wage to his son from public monies. 3. Sivick violated Sections 1105(a) and 1105�b)(5) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1105(a), (b)(5), but did not violate Section 104(a) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. 1104 a , when he filed time/ but deficient Statements of Financial Interests for calendar years 2011 and 2014. 4. To the extent Sivick received compensation from the Township when he did not have accurate and complete Statements of Financial Interests on file with the Township, such compensation was received in contravention of Section 1104(d) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1104(d). In Re: John P. Sivick, Respondent File Docket: 16 -001 Date Decided: 211118 Date Mailed: 218/18 ORDER NO. 1731 1. John P. Sivick ("Sivick"), a public official /public employee in his capacities as a Supervisor and Public Works Director for Lehman Township ( "Township "), Pike County, Pennsylvania, violated Section 1103(a) of the Public Official and Employee Ethics Act ( "Ethics Act "), 65 Pa.C.S. § 1103(a), when he used the authority of his public positions for the private pecuniary benefit of his son, J. Justin Sivick, when he participated in discussions and actions of the Township Board of Supervisors ('Board ") to eliminate the Township's Nepotism Policy with the intent and for the purpose of having his son hired as a Township road crew employee; when he discussed, recommended, lobbied, influenced, or sought the support of the Board to effectuate the hiring of his son as a Township employee; and when he verified Townshi p records enabling and /or otherwise directing the payment of salary/wage to his son from public monies. 2. Sivick violated Sections 1105(a) and 1105(b)(5) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1105(a), (b)(5), but did not violate Section 11104(a) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. 1104 a , when he filed time[ but deficient Statements of Financial Interests for calendar years 2011 and 2014. 3. To the extent Sivick received compensation from the Township when he did not have accurate and complete Statements of Financial Interests on file with the Township, such compensation was received in contravention of Section 1104(d) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa. C.S. § 1104(d). 4. Sivick is ordered to make payment of restitution in the amount of $30,000.00 by certified check or money order in the amount of $30,000.00 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, which payment shall be forwarded by this Commission to the Pennsylvania Office of the State Treasurer for deposit in the General Fund of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 5. To the extent he has not already done so, Sivick is ordered to file complete and accurate amended Statements of Financial Interests for the 2011 and 2014 calendar years with the Township, through this Commission, by no later than the thirtieth (301h) day after the mailing date of this Order. 6. Non - compliance with Paragraph 4 or 5 of this Order will result in the institution of an order enforcement action. BY THE COMMISSION, 4 4 r F.X. .� FINE • FFTM-