We’ve discovered a few more potential problems for Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Sheldon Berman that, in our opinion, happens to be the epitome of the appearance of impropriety.
KRS 11A.020 – Public servant prohibited from certain conduct — Exception — Disclosure of personal or private interest.
(1) No public servant, by himself or through others, shall knowingly:
(a) Use or attempt to use his influence in any matter which involves a substantial conflict between his personal or private interest and his duties in the public interest;
(b) Use or attempt to use any means to influence a public agency in derogation of the state at large;
(c) Use his official position or office to obtain financial gain for himself or any members of the public servant’s family; or
(d) Use or attempt to use his official position to secure or create privileges, exemptions, advantages, or treatment for himself or others in derogation of the public interest at large.
11A.040 – Acts prohibited for public servant or officer — Exception.
(1) A public servant, in order to further his own economic interests, or those of any other person, shall not knowingly disclose or use confidential information acquired in the course of his official duties.
(2) A public servant shall not knowingly receive, directly or indirectly, any interest or profit arising from the use or loan of public funds in his hands or to be raised through any state agency.
(3) A public servant shall not knowingly act as a representative or agent for the Commonwealth or any agency in the transaction of any business or regulatory action with himself, or with any business in which he or a member of his family has any interest greater than five percent (5%) of the total value thereof.
(4) A public servant shall not knowingly himself or through any business in which he owns or controls an interest of more than five percent (5%), or by any other person for his use or benefit or on his account, undertake, execute, hold, bid on, negotiate, or enjoy, in whole or in part, any contract, agreement, lease, sale, or purchase made, entered into, awarded, or granted by the agency by which he is employed or which he supervises, subject to the provisions of KRS 45A.340.
61.252 – Prohibition against city officers and employees contracting with city or city agency for property or services — Exceptions — Penalty.
(1) No officer or employee of any city or city agency shall directly or through others undertake, execute, hold, or enjoy, in whole or in part, any contract made, entered into, awarded, or granted by the officer’s or employee’s city or city agency.
Long story short: We still think Berman has a lot of explaining to do.
UPDATE: Just to clarify – KRS 11A doesn’t apply to school district employees. According to John Steffen at the Executive Branch Ethics Commission, school employees don’t technically fall under the jurisdiction of the Executive Branch for the purposes of the Code of Ethics… even though they’re state employees.
Which begs the question – why on earth is the Commonwealth of Kentucky giving public school and state university employees more freedom to do these questionable things than we do state government employees and elected officials?
Oh, the tangled webs our corrupt state legislature weave.
Guess Berman’s office has been burning up the phone lines today to complain.