Montour schools superintendent to pay for ethical violation
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A long-running investigation into Montour schools Superintendent Donald Boyer has ended with his agreement to pay the district $5,000 for an Ethics Act violation, even though he was cleared of the 2010 allegation that led to the investigation.
Mr. Boyer erred, the state Ethics Commission found, in an order dated April 25 and released Wednesday, only after he was told that he was the subject of an investigation. He then engineered transactions that resulted in an $8,600 gain for Education Management Group, a business in which he is a co-owner.
The finding won't likely result in a change in Mr. Boyer's job status, but could prompt a public airing of the transactions.
"I certainly believe that the public deserves an explanation," board member Cynthia Morrow said. "Certainly, it doesn't look good, I'll tell you that."
Mr. Boyer was acting superintendent from September 2009 to September 2010, sometimes as an employee and sometimes through a contract between the district and EMG. At the end of that time, the district inked a $4,300-a-month contract with EMG to provide business management services, and made Mr. Boyer its full superintendent.
The pact with EMG was the focus of the ethics complaint, which accused Mr. Boyer of using his position to steer a contract to a company in which he owns a 20 percent stake.
In January 2011, after he was formally advised of the investigation, Mr. Boyer refunded EMG $8,600, representing two months of payments that had flowed from the district to EMG and then to him. EMG wrote a check in the same amount to the district.
If cashed, that would have reimbursed the district for business management work done by Mr. Boyer while he was also superintendent. However, Mr. Boyer ordered district employees not to cash that check, and it was returned to EMG.
"That's the course of conduct that, in the end, we believe violated the Ethics Act, because at that point in time he was making decisions as a superintendent, as a public official, that financially benefited a business that he was associated with," said commission Executive Director John Contino.
Attorney James Ross, who represents Mr. Boyer, said the superintendent sent the check back to EMG because the district owed EMG around $10,000 for a traffic study.
First Published May 31, 2012 12:00 am