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Wareham School Official Admits Violating Conflict of Interest Law

A Wareham Public Schools administrator has paid a $4,000 civil penalty after admitting she violated the commonwealth’s conflict of interest law in the hiring of two family members.

Student Services Director Melissa Fay hired her mother to provide translation and interpretation services to the district eight times between 2018 and 2020 without seeking or receiving the required superintendent approval, according to a news release from the State Ethics Commission. Fay’s mother was paid a total of $5,975.

In 2019, Fay helped hire her son as a paraprofessional for Wareham’s extended school year program “by recommending that the superintendent hire him along with 24 other candidates,” the commission said. Fay’s son did not submit an application as required until after he was hired. He was never interviewed, the commission said. He was paid $1,461 for his work with the district.

Fay signed a disposition agreement in which she admitted to the violations and waived her right to a hearing.

The conflict of interest law prohibits municipal employees from participating in matters in which immediate family members have financial interests.

The commission encourages public employees to contact its legal division at 617-371-9500 for free advice.

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