ConnDOT: Governor Rell Announces New DOT Policies on Family Members Doing Business with State




FOR RELEASE: October 19, 2007
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Governor Rell Announces New DOT Policies on Family
Members Doing Business with State

            Governor M. Jodi Rell and Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Ralph J. Carpenter announced today that the Department has developed a new policy on nepotism and a supplemental ethics policy regarding the disclosure of family members working for firms who hold state contracts – both designed to minimize any potential for conflicts of interest and the appearance of impropriety.

“I will continue to implement and enforce the highest possible standards of ethics and integrity in government,” Governor Rell said.  “Our state employees must adhere to both the letter and spirit of employment policy as it applies to family members and relatives. Our policies must uniformly foster public confidence in the way Connecticut conducts its business.”

            Commissioner Carpenter said, “These two policy statements are aimed at eliminating any possible ambiguity regarding the hiring of relatives or employment of family members by firms working on DOT contracts. We have worked hard to make sure that all employees know – and play by – the rules and these policies are another tool to help us tighten compliance.”

            The new polices have been distributed to DOT employees. Other state agencies handling large numbers of contracts maintain similar policies.

            The purpose of the new DOT nepotism policy is to “avoid hiring, transferring, or promoting relatives of employees into situations where the possibility of, or appearance of, favoritism or conflicts of interest might exist.”

            “These goals reflect the basic tenets of our management philosophy and serve to reinforce a positive value system for the Department,” the introduction to the policy states. “There are certain situations where the employment of close relatives (husband, wife, son, daughter, etc.) can create the appearance of impropriety or have the potential for significant abuse.”

            The policy will apply to current DOT employees and those seeking DOT employment.

            The ethics document states that “it is the policy of the Department that no DOT employee participate in any manner involving a contractor, consultant or vendor … that employs such employee’s spouse, child (including stepchild) brother, sister (including stepbrother, stepsister, half brother and half sister), mother, father, or brother-in-law, sister-in-law, mother-in-law or father-in-law.”

            If a DOT employee learns of a project or solicitation that might be pursued by a contractor employing a family member, the employee is required to inform his or her supervisor of the conflict and the need to be assigned to other projects or work not involving that contractor. The employee is also barred from disclosing the information to subordinates or other employees who may be involved in the selection of the contractor. In addition, the employee and supervisor must meet with the Department’s Ethics Compliance Officer to determine if any additional steps should be taken.

            “Policies like these underscore our commitment to honesty, integrity and quality of performance, not only for state agencies and their employees, but for Connecticut taxpayers,” Governor Rell said. “The public deserves every assurance that state government is taking all possible steps to eliminate conflicts of interest and even the appearance of conflict or other impropriety. I am pleased that Commissioner Carpenter has taken the lead in developing and reinforcing such policies at the DOT.”