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707-S BrownPHONE: 717-783-1610 TOLL FREE: 1-800-932-0936 In Re: Danielle M. Brown, Respondent STATE ETHICS COMMISSION FINANCE BUILDING (lei 001010111 Before: File Docket: X-ref. Date Decided: Date Mailed: FACSIMILE: 717-787-0806 WEBSITE: www.eWcs.Da.C10V 21-033-P Order No. 707-S 9/15/21 9/17/21 Nicholas A. Colafella, Chair Mark R. Corrigan, Vice Chair Roger Nick Melanie D,ePalma Michael A. Schwartz Shelley Y. Simms This is a final adjudication of the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission as to the alleged delinquency and/or deficiency of Statement(s) of Financial Interests required to be filed pursuant to Sections 1104 and 1105 of the Public Official and Employee Ethics Act ("Ethics Act"), 65 Pa.C.S. § 1101 et sue, The Investigative Division initiated these proceedings by filing with the State Ethics Commission and serving upon Respondent a Petition for Civil Penalties. An Order to Show Cause was issued to Respondent. An Answer was not filed by the Respondent, and a hearing was deemed waived. The record is complete. The Findings in this Order are derived from the Petition for Civil Penalties filed by the Investigative Division. I. FINDINGS: Respondent is an adult individual who resides or maintains a mailing address at [address redacted]. 2. At all times relevant to these proceedings, Respondent has been an Unemployment Compensation Claims Examiner with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, and as such, Respondent has at all times relevant to these proceedings been a "public employee" as defined in Section 1102 of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1102. Respondent as a public employee is subject to the Statement of Financial Interests filing provisions of the Ethics, Act. 4. Respondent has failed to provide frill financial disclosure as required by the Ethics Act. Respondent has failed to file Statements of Financial Interests for calendar years 2018 and 2019, which Statements of Financial Interests were to be filed by May I of 2019 and May Brown, 21-033-P Page 2 1 of 2020, respectively. Respondent has therefore transgressed Sections 1104 and 1105 of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. §§ 1104, 1105. 5. By Notice letter dated October 21, 2020, Respondent was served with Notice in accordance with Section 1107(5) of the Ethics Act of the specific allegations against Respondent concerning the above transgressions. Said Notice letter provided Respondent an opportunity to avoid the institution of these civil penalty proceedings by filing accurate and complete Statements of Financial Interests for calendar years 2018 and 2019 within twenty (20) days of the date of the Notice letter. Respondent has failed and refused to file accurate and complete Statements of Financial Interests for calendar years 2018 and 2019 so as to comply with the specific requirements of the Ethics Act. 6. By Notice letter dated December 15, 2020, Respondent was served with Notice in accordance with Section 1107(5) of the Ethics Act of the specific allegations against Respondent concerning the above transgressions. Said Notice letter provided Respondent an opportunity to avoid the institution of these civil penalty proceedings by filing accurate and complete Statements of Financial Interests for calendar years 2018 and 2019 within twenty (20) days of the date of the Notice letter. Respondent has failed and refused to file accurate and complete Statements of Financial Interests for calendar years 2018 and 2019 so as to comply with the specific requirements of the Ethics Act. 7. Section I I09(f) of the Ethics Act provides: § 1109. Penalties (f) Civil penalty. --In addition to any other civil remedy or criminal penalty provided for in this chapter, the commission may, after notice has been served in accordance with section 1107{5) (relating to powers and duties of commission) and upon a majority vote of its members, levy a civil penalty upon any person subject to this chapter who fails to file a statement of financial interests in a timely manner or who files a deficient statement of financial interests, at a rate of not more than $25 for each day such statement remains delinquent or deficient. The maximum penalty payable under this paragraph is $250. 65 Pa.C.S. § 1109(o. 8. For each violation the Commission finds, Respondent is subject to civil penalty liability under Section 1109(f) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1109(f), at a rate of not more than $25.00 per day for each day the Statement of Financial Interests remains delinquent or deficient, for a maximum civil penalty of $250.00 per violation. Because Respondent has committed two violations alleged herein, Respondent is subject to total maximum civil penalty liability of $500,00. Brown, 21-033-P Page 3 9. There are no mitigating circumstances and Respondent should be assessed the maximum civil penalty of $500.00, in that the twenty -day deadline set forth in the said final Notice letter to Respondent has expired and the Respondent has not complied. 11. DISCUSSION: As an Unemployment Compensation Claims Examiner for the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry ("Department of Labor and Industry"), Danielle M. Brown ("Brown") was at all times relevant to these proceedings a "public employee" subject to the provisions of the Public Official and Employee Ethics Act ("Ethics Act"), 65 Pa.C.S. § 1101 et seq. Pursuant to Section 1104(a) of the Ethics Act, Brown was specifically required to file Statements of Financial Interests for calendar years 2018 and 2019 with the Department of Labor and Industry on or before May 1, 2019, and May 1, 2020, respectively. Section 1104(a) provides: § 1104. Statement of financial interests required to be fled (a) Public official or public employee. --Each public official of the Commonwealth shall file a statement of financial interests for the preceding calendar year with the commission no later than May 1 of each year that he holds such a position and of the year after he leaves such a position. Each public employee and public official of the Commonwealth shall file a statement of financial interests for the preceding calendar year with the department, agency, body or bureau in which he is employed or to which he is appointed or elected no later than May 1 of each year that he holds such a position and of the year after he leaves such a position. Any other public employee or public official shall file a statement of financial interests with the governing authority of the political subdivision by which he is employed or within which he is appointed or elected no later than May 1 of each year that he holds such a position and of the year after he leaves such a position. Persons who are full-time or part-time solicitors for political subdivisions are required to file under this section. 65 Pa.C.S. § 1104(a). The complete financial disclosure which Brown as an Unemployment Compensation Claims Examiner for the Department of Labor and Industry was required to provide in the Statement of Financial Interests form is statutorily mandated in detail at Section 1105 of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1105. Section 1109(f) of the Ethics Act provides as follows: § 1109. Penalties (f) Civil penalty.-- In addition to any other civil remedy or criminal penalty provided for in this chapter, the commission may, after notice has been served in accordance with section 1107(5) (relating to powers and duties of commission) Brown, 21-033-P Page 4 and upon a majority vote of its members, levy a civil penalty upon any person subject to this chapter who fails to file a statement of financial interests in a timely manner or who files a deficient statement of financial interests, at a rate of not more than $25 for each day such statement remains delinquent or deficient. The maximum penalty payable under this paragraph is $250. 65 Pa.C,S. § 1109(f). An application of Section 1109(f) to this case establishes that this Commission has the discretion to levy a maximum civil penalty against Brown for each delinquent Statement of Financial Interests for calendar years 2018 and 2019. The prerequisite service of a Notice letter in accordance with Section 1107(5) was satisfied. Brown did not remedy the failure to comply with the Ethics Act although given more than the usual grace period following Notice in which to do so. The Investigative Division then instituted formal proceedings against Brown by filing with the State Ethics Commission and serving upon Brown a Petition for Civil Penalties. The Commission Chair issued an Order to Show Cause, ordering Brown to show cause why civil penalties should not be levied against her. Brown did not file an answer to the Order to Show Cause. There is nothing of record that would constitute a defense or excuse for Brown's failure to comply with the Ethics Act. Brown has failed to show cause why civil penalties should not be levied against her in this matter. We find that Brown, as an Unemployment Compensation Claims Examiner for the Department of Labor and Industry, failed to comply with Section 1104(a) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1104(a), when she failed to file Statements of Financial Interests for calendar years 2018 and 2019 with the Department of Labor and Industry. We hereby levy two maximum civil penalties against Brown, each at the rate of Twenty - Five Dollars ($25.00) per day, for each day her Statements of Financial Interests for calendar years 2018 and 2019 have remained delinquent. Given the number of days during which the Statements of Financial Interests have remained delinquent, the resultant amount to be levied against Brown is Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00). Brown shall be ordered to make payment of the above civil penalties in the total amount of $500.00 by no later than the thirtieth (301h) day after the mailing date of this adjudication and Order, by forwarding a check to this Commission made payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, for deposit in the State Treasury. Brown shall be ordered to file complete and accurate Statements of Financial Interests for calendar years 2018 and 2019 with the Department of Labor and Industry by no later than the thirtieth (30th) day after the mailing date of this adjudication and Order, with a copy of each such filing forwarded to this Commission for compliance verification purposes. III. CONCLUSIONS OF LAW: Danielle M. Brown ("Brown"), as an Unemployment Compensation Claims Examiner for Brown, 21-033-P Page 5 the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, was at all times relevant to these proceedings a "public employee" subject to the provisions of the Public Official and Employee Ethics Act ("Ethics Act"), 65 Pa.C.S. § 1101 et seq. 2. Brown, as an Unemployment Compensation Claims Examiner for the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, failed to comply with Section I I04(a) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § I I04(a), when she failed to file Statements of Financial Interests for calendar years 2018 and 2019 with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. Notice of the delinquency of Brown's Statements of Financial Interests for calendar years 2018 and 2019 was previously served upon her in accordance with Section 1107(5) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1107(5). 4. Based upon the totality of the circumstances in this case, the imposition of two maximum civil penalties in the total amount of $500.00 is warranted. In Re: Danielle M. Brown, File Docket: 21-033-P Respondent Date Decided: 9/15/21 Date Mailed: 9/17/21 ORDER NO. 707-S Danielle M. Brown ("Brown"), as an Unemployment Compensation Claims Examiner for the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, failed to comply with Section 1104(a) of the Public Official and Employee Ethics Act ("Ethics Act"), 65 Pa. C.S. § 1104(a), when she failed to file Statements of Financial Interests for calendar years 2018 and 2019 with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. 2. This Commission hereby levies two maximum civil penalties against Brown, each at the rate of Twenty -Five Dollars ($25.00) per day, for each day her Statements of Financial Interests for calendar years 2018 and 2019 have remained delinquent, for total civil penalty liability of Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00). Brown is ordered to pay said civil penalties 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. 3. Brown is ordered to file complete and accurate Statements of Financial Interests for calendar years 2018 and 2019 with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry by no later than the thirtieth (30th) day after the mailing date of this Order, with a copy of each such filing forwarded to the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission for compliance verification purposes. 4. Failure to comply with Paragraph 2 or 3 of this Order will result in the initiation of an appropriate enforcement action. BY THE COMMISSION, Nicholas A. Colafella, Chair