State ethics chief got a friend transferred to her agency

Carol Carson is the executive director of the Office of State Ethics. Courtesy of OSE.

The top ethics official in Connecticut state government got a friend transferred to her agency last year amid agency consolidation, a move she defends as “a business decision.”

Carol Carson, executive director of the Office of State Ethics, said she consulted her agency’s legal division and disclosed her friendship to the chairman of the Citizen’s Ethics Advisory Board during the transfer process.

“She was up front about it,” said David Gay, CEAB chairman. “Because Carol had an occasional friendship with this lady does not disqualify her.”

Carson maintains she did nothing wrong and was meeting the needs of her agency rather than helping a friend.

The effort to negotiate the transfer began last year and received administration approval in November. When state officials rescinded the approval, Carson had to come up with a new approach that did not need their blessing.

OSE and the State Elections Enforcement Commission formalized a final agreement, known as a memorandum of understanding, last month.

Under the MOU, SEEC traded its communications and legislative programs manager, Nancy Nicolescu, for OSE’s unfilled accounts examiner position.

Nicolescu, a state employee with more than 15 years experience, is Carson’s friend.  According to her LinkedIn page, Nicolescu is now the director of education, communications and legislative affairs for OSE.

After union state employees voted down a concession package in the summer of 2011, Nicolescu received a layoff notice alongside many other state employees. When state employees later approved the concession agreement on a revote, the state withdrew Nicolescu’s pink slip, although she is not a union member.

Carson said the agreement is “mutually advantageous” for SEEC and OSE.

“The transfer was a creative solution,” she said.

Carson is lobbying the legislature to make the transfer permanent. The appropriations bill currently under consideration would do just that.

Carson earned $118,759 in 2010, according to Nicolescu earned $86,156.

The legislature and Gov. M. Jodi Rell remade Connecticut’s ethics bureaucracy in the wake of the scandals that led to the resignation and imprisonment of Gov. John Rowland.

Carson, a Massachusetts’s native, left her position at the ethics commission there to become the first leader of the new Office of State Ethics in Connecticut.

In addition to her role as ethics chief, Carson is chairman of the Governmental Accountability Commission, which oversees the Office of Governmental Accountability.

Last year, the Council of State Governments recognized Carson by naming her a Toll Fellow and she serves on the editorial board of Public Integrity Journal.

Carson said the temporary transfer agreement “was meant to get us through this period. And by us, I mean both agencies.”

Carson said Nicolescu is “absolutely not” lobbying for her own job to become permanently part of OSE.

“Our regulations state that I am the primary legislative liaison,” Carson said.

Asked if her friendship with Nicolescu influenced her decision to pursue the transfer, Carson said, “No, it was a business decision.”

According to an April 2011 press release, OSE fined Dr. David Carter, former chancellor of the Connecticut State University System, $2,000 for “failure to inform the Board of Trustees of the CSUS and/or the Office of State Ethics when he was faced with a conflict of interest involving his spouse, a former dean at one of the state universities.”

“The conflict of interest provisions of the Code of Ethics preserve the integrity of public service,” Carson said at the time. “Conflicts of interest must be properly disclosed as required by law, and handled at a level higher than the individual with the conflict.”

Carson said the transfer of her friend’s position is not a conflict of interest because “the statute deals with financial interest.”

When asked about the risk of appearance of conflict, Carson said Connecticut doesn’t have such a provision in statute, but “in states where the code has an appearance section, it’s often cured with disclosure.”

Carson said she disclosed her friendship with Nicolescu.

“I sought advice from the legal division,” she said. “I disclosed it to the chairman. And when the initial transfer took place, I disclosed it to the staff.”

Carson said the reductions in staff at OSE justify the transfer.

According to Carson, OSE lost five employees amid agency consolidation that paired it with eight other small agencies under the umbrella of OGA, which provides administrative services.

She said OSE lost an investigator, an associate account examiner, an office assistant and two finance employees, bringing it from 18 employees to 13.

“In a small agency, people do lots of tasks,” Carson said. “They were not just doing fiscal things. They were doing programmatic things.”

Carson said her first approach to get more help at OSE was to ask the Department of Administrative Services for permission to hire someone.

“I had a hard time getting an appropriate level position approved from the administration,” she said.

Then Carson attempted to get Nicolescu transferred to OSE.

Because DAS would not approve the hiring of a new state employee, Carson’s only option to increase staff at her agency was to find someone already within state government.

She said Nicolescu had the experience needed by OSE.

Carson told the Citizen’s Ethics Advisory Board about the transfer on Nov. 18, 2011, a day after the CEAB had a board meeting.

“I am friendly with Nancy – we worked together extensively during the last legislative session – and was aware that she had applied for a transfer out of SEEC for a variety of reasons,” Carson wrote.

CEAB member Dennis Riley complimented Carson on her ability to negotiate the transfer in an email saying, “Your negotiating skills reflect your Boston background.”

“I grew up in a Boston housing project,” Carson responded, “and there’s a saying: ‘You can take the girl out of the projects but you can’t take the projects out of the girl.’ I had to use my ‘projects’ skills for this one but it turned out for the best of the agency and I’m looking forward to moving forward with a full staff.”

On Nov. 30, 2011, DAS Commissioner Donald DeFronzo wrote an email to Carson and Guay rescinding his agency’s oral approval of the transfer.

“This request had been initially reviewed as an intra-agency transfer within OGA,” DeFronzo wrote. “However, given the independent status of the agencies housed in OGA and, in view of their independent budget authority and recognition that each of the nine agencies comprising OGA are, for the purposes of seniority and re-employment rights, considered to be separate agencies, this action cannot be considered an intra-agency transfer.”

David Guay, executive administrator of OGA, requested a delay in the retraction until OSE and SEEC could negotiate a memorandum of understanding, but DeFronzo declined.

Unlike a transfer, DAS wouldn’t need to approve an MOU.

About a month later, two days before Christmas, Carson and SEEC chairman Stephen Cashman signed an agreement in principle on the job-sharing arrangement. According to the agreement, Nicolescu would begin working for OSE and OSE would pay her salary as long as the two agencies eventually completed an MOU.

Carson and the new executive director and general counsel of SEEC, Michael Brandi, signed the MOU on March 12.

The agreement, which lasts through Oct. 31, moved Nicolescu’s salary onto OSE’s budget and put 80 percent of her time at the agency’s disposal.

In return, SEEC got an unfilled auditing position, but DAS has not given permission to fill that position yet. Under the agreement, the accounts examiner would work for SEEC 80 percent of the time and OSE 20 percent of the time.

Carson said SEEC benefits even though the auditing position isn’t filled because OSE is paying Nicolescu’s whole salary.

Guay said Carson makes decisions and he executes them. “I do my best to execute the decision,” Guay said.

“In many ways I’m like the broker,” he said. “I execute the trade.”

As chairman of the Governmental Accountability Commission, Carson oversees Guay. His salary is

OGA provides administrative services for a group of small agencies, including OSE, SEEC and the Freedom of Information Commission.

SEEC and FOIC are led by executive directors who double as general counsel for the agency.

Carson, not a lawyer, hires and oversees the general counsel, enforcement officer and the rest of OSE staff. “I was and continue to be the executive director of the Office of State Ethics,” she said.

She said before Nicolescu joined OSE she had received support from other employees to do legislative affairs. “I’ve always used staff to support that function.”

Asked why she increased the hours of the communications manager to full time, Carson said, “You are wrong. The previous position was a full-time position. It was funded as that and it was in our budget as that.”

“The position was a full-time position. That is 100 percent true,” she said. “The individual worked part-time but the position was full-time.”

Meredith Trimble, who held that position, earned $43,989 in 2010.

The previous person in charge of education and communication worked less than full time since 2007. Before that – “for a period of time,” according to Carson – the person worked full time.

Carson said the need to increase the hours worked stemmed from the reduction of OSE staff by five people, or almost a third. “We had a significant cut of resources,” she said.

Carson said education is a “driver” of OSE’s success.

“When we do more education, we have more compliance. We have more complaints,” she said, explaining that both are good measures of success.

Carson said education is the joint responsibility of the executive director and the general counsel.

AnneMarie says:

Actually, rules don’t apply to Carol. It’s all about power for her. I have no clue who on earth would have hired her for that job.

karma says:

Carol, seriously….

a former co-worker says:

I worked with her in MA. SHE WAS HORRIBLE. She pulled the same shit in Boston. Except she makes much more $ in CT.

zombie_woof says:

Frankly I have no more use for “repugnicans” than I do “democraps” as I see the expansionist government being enabled in part because to so-called opposition puts up little more than symbolic resistance to it… and vice versa… conferring individual status to corporations giving them free speech rights amounting to a metaphorical amplified loudspeaker to drown out individual voices who must get corporate approval (via newspaper editor for instance) to be heard… meaning only the grass roots opinions convenient to the editorial stance of the publication will be respectfully printed while corporations have the deep pockets to saturate media with their messages, PSAs and other candidate endorsements…. and the business of government as presented via sound bytes in the news has increasingly struck me as theater for the masses… essentially pantomime debates to reinforce what is likely an illusion that policies are originating with, debated by, and voted on by our legislators when it’s very possible that the agenda has been pretty thoroughly mapped out by those to whom representatives and senators owe their jobs to through campaign contributions and favorable press… with the TRUE function of our government to package new policies that have anything but our best interests at heart as though they were. Characters like “El Rushbo” serve a very useful role in assembling verifiable factoids into giant lies pitting significant portions of the grass roots political spectrum against one another- and exactly one half of the government on the false premise that the other half actually gives the slightest damn about the revenue garden commonly known as the American taxpayer. it’s a morbidly entertaining puppet show filled with painfully transparent dialog and populist pandering- particularly on the part of the democrats- so simplistic that it is insulting. It’s one thing to be shown flashes of the contempt held for us and the republicans tend to do that- it’s offensive but at least it’s honest… the democrats expend incredible amounts of energy and effort to try and convince us that their concerns are for the most vulnerable among us… take for instance the minimum wage debate in this state… all this rhetoric about seeing to it that the lowest income families can make ends meet… and the littl4e school children have food in their bellies in the morning…blah blah blah… when the effect of driving up the minimum wage in this recession, which isn’t over by any stretch, will be to put the mommies and daddies of those widdle school children out of work and the people debating that KNOW THAT TO BE THE CASE!!! The purpose of the wage hike is most likely to establish a higher baseline on which union pay is formulated, since it is the unions- particularly public sector unions- that are making out in this economic climate. Everyone else, including small businesses got a record tax increase shoved down our throats… who was thinking of those “widdle school children” then? The government isn’t above taking food out of their mouths in order to say “thank you” to unions for helping our governor get elected but we are supposed to believe that it is out of concern for those same children that motivates an increase in minimum wage? How about exploring ways of bringing the costs of basics down so the current wage will go a bit further? that won’t be accomplished by the exponential expansion of the bureaucracy through stifling new regulations and costly mandates that are conceived without regard to the effects that they will have on the little school children and the food in their tummies.

I see the democrats taking the extra step in their deceit in trying to get us to want an out of control government- as though the only way to address problems is to throw more and more money at them…. and whose money is to be used? Why, it’s yours and mine. I’m in favor of a free market- but only if the consumer is properly educated. In this system the regular person is woefully misinformed- particularly in the power vested- not in his or her vote using a ballot but in the vote using the dollar. An educated consumer would appreciate the value of keeping their spending local and huge corporations would become more and more uncommon as regular folks began to comprehend the value and strength of an active and strong local economy. I see most of the people held transfixed by the disease that is our economic and political culture– and it is played out with a genius that one can’t help but admire- that an entire people being fooled and hoodwinked into a situation where their rights, freedom, and access to prosperity are parceled out- leaving them with no future- all the while they are being purposefully misinformed about the nature of what besets them- and pitted against one another via purposefully drawn lines of imaginary differences and class envy…. every time I hear Obama talk about the rich paying their fair share and spewing rhetoric about “millionaires and billionaires” I am absolutely certain that he is just trying to play me for the fool he thinks that I am- to actually believe that the country’s fiscal woes would be cured by punishing the very rich when it is always the working class that gets soaked. It will be no different this time- because those contemptible millionaires and billionaires have the wherewithall to avoid paying those punishing taxes and even if they DID pay up 100% it would not make any real meaningful difference with the budget. The only logical purpose for the class envy garbage is to soften us for the mother of all tax increases that await us… if we imagine that Bill Gates is getting hurt more then we won’t feel so bad about giving up 35 to 40% or more of our hard earned money to service a bureaucracy that has been expanded despite the fact that those responsible for that expansion are well aware that we cannot afford it.

the fact is that they don’t care about us any more than they care about the small businesses they cripple with increasing burdens of new regulation or about the little children whose parents will be put out of work because the increase in minimum wage will force their layoffs. They reflect an awareness of the problem by the rhetoric they use to convince us that they are looking out for our interests but their actions tell of a complete lack of any concern for the working class. If it weren’t guaranteed to exact a steep political price for them they’d let the working class starve to death but that would wake too many people up- enough to realize that the marginal ethical issue represented by the article that we’re both responding to does not come close to equaling the gravity of what’s to come if we do not begin the process of reigning in the sociopathic runaway greed and avarice not only in government but also with big banks and corporations.

really, REALLY says:

Dear Woof, (sounds much nicer than zombie)
Time is a luxury I can`t afford so I shall make this short, and sweet??
Yes, I am a liberal… now that we are labeling….the kind that El Rushbo` warns about…”like a snake in the tall grass”…or my personal favorite “like a horse with a broken leg on the side of the road. The only thing that could cure it is a bullet to the head”
It is not an intrusive government that is responsible for where we are today. That is the biggest pipe dream the right wing has been pushing for decades now. It is the “WHOLY OWNED SUBSIDIARY OF CORPORATIONS” politicians, bought and paid for by the RICH who can afford such expensive lap dogs that are responsible for it. It is a government that is ever increasingly being used as a pawn by corporations that have no allegiance to a country (state, city town or worker), other than to the bottom line. Along with a select few individuals (known to us as the 1%ers), they are the ones that control the discussion and agenda for our government. Sure, I can present a lot of evidence about the fact that the democrats have, to a certain extent, attempted to help the middle and lower class, but that argument will fall on deaf ears, especially in this crowd. The term used for it by the right wing propaganda machine is “welfare state”, or by you as “relief dependant population”…but wait, the word welfare comes right out of the Constitution…who so very few people actually read …LONG LIVE THE WELFARE QUEENS!!! And how could I overlook the “budget restraints” need it during these hard times of “lagging tax revenue”. Talk about using key words and targeted messaging…it` almost as if I’m reading the ALEC training manual for freshman republican legislators, manual by the way, written by corporations.
Here`s a liberal`s take on this mess, woof: Ppoliticians see that the treasury is running a surplus, and in a effort to get re-elected they give the populace a tax rebate. The re-election prospects are good, so they go in for another rebate. The people are ecstatic, the crowd goes wild. What the hell, they say, let`s go for broke, and lower the tax rate altogether. They do so, FOR A SELECT FEW (1%) but now they are running in red again. We know how to fix this, they say, let`s reduce the amount of money we send back to the states, and they do. The state now has to make up the difference by increasing taxes reducing aid to the towns, education, infrastructure, research, etc. The towns, in turn, have to increase the taxes to make up the difference. You see Woof, this is what I call “trickle down misery” (I shall trademark the term) that is the DIRECT result of “lagging tax revenue” because the “job creators” needed more wealth to create lots more jobs….by the way, where are these jobs???.
Between the creation of the Federal reserve bank, the decision to give a corporation the same personhood rights as an individual, the creation of the SUPER PAC and the Supreme Court`s decision to allow corporations to spend unrestricted money to fund political campaigns, we, and that means both YOU AND ME are up the proverbial creek, without a paddle….or a boat. You and I will NEVER have the same rights that they do. The game is fixed in their favor, by referees they paid for, following rules that they wrote. You keep calling me a liberal, I’ll keep calling you….I don`t know, libertarian maybe, or fiscal conservative, and no one cares. It`s a strategy that has worked since the dawn of time, divide and conquer. THE SECOND I CALL THEM 1%`ers, the whole world erupts with indignation about “class warfare” on the “job creators” It is them that control an almost puppet like government which is why things will NEVER CHANGE.
Don`t worry, they will soon be able to eliminate the need for the government as well. Private security, private police force, private army, and even private jails where to lock up “trouble makers” such as liberals, anarchists, and socialists (hell, why stop there, let`s lock up some of the misfits too, you know the ones that are different or maybe don`t look quite like the rest).
Ok, I’m done, never to be heard from again. By the way Woof, until you raised a family on minimum wage, you may never understand why such a wage NEEDS to be raised. It has been fun chatting with you, and I’m sure I will come across you again, on the comments pages of another right wing blog proclaiming doom with the re-election of President Obama. I wish you well.

zombie_woof says:

Dear REALLY (x2)

Thank you for making assumptions about me. You have furnished a reasonably well written tutorial on how to effectively discredit an opposition by lumping a voice with a class of people being demonized by the powers that be whose actions belie their words that are intended to create the impression that they care about what the working class is going through. If I’m a 1%er then this is a third world country. I’ve fairly recently returned to work after a six month stint on unemployment during which I made some extraordinary efforts to cut short the time I was collecting. I got the chance to see things as they are. a difficult job market that our so-called “leaders” are more interested in hiding than curing. The crisis presents an opportunity for both sides… the incumbents can dole out “relief” to an increasing portion of the population dependent on it and cast the opposition as heartless monsters who wish to put the elderly and children out on the streets for (presumably) advocating budget restraints in the midst of lagging tax revenues created by an economic downturn that was enabled in part by a governmental dereliction of duty in refusing to properly regulate banking and investment sectors while the sub-prime scheme was going full tilt and the illusion was palpable that the economy was booming.

The boom was a mirage that almost vanished in a scare about ten years earlier but our legislators in Washington passed a moratorium on regulation to protect the criminals who were fencing toxic sub prime mortgages into derivative packages that rating agencies obediently rubber-stamped as AAA investments. This happened under Clinton’s watch and continued unabated under Dubya- who was intent on prosecuting wars of dubious justifications at any cost- literally. Meanwhile he campaigned for reelection partially on declaring the era of home ownership leading up to the ’04 campaign. He aimed that largely at minorities who “coincidentally” got disproportionately hit by the mortgage default end of the crisis. Meanwhile, his foreign policy exploits helped to run up a then record deficit when the card house that was the economy collapsed when toxic mortgages variable rates kicked in and bloated property assessments transformed a few percentage points in change into budget busting increases in payments for people who had not business signing mortgages to begin with. Are ya following me? In case you haven’t noted, I’ve strayed a bit off topic but I’m establishing a political environment to put this “scandal” into perspective.

Conservative “hero” Ronnie Reagan had rolled back banking regulation decades earlier as part of his smaller government and trickle down economics campaigns. This permitted financial institutions to declare a large part of their solvency in terms of the stock and bond investments they held and less in actual liquidity- when markets are going well this is fine but when they crash, suddenly the financial sector becomes exposed when they do not have capitol on hand to cover the accounts on their ledgers… FDIC to the rescue- and the selling point for PRINTING trillions of TARP and BAILOUT fiat currency… all made possible by bipartisan action.

The response of this state government in terms of action has reflected what I see as a refusal to recognize the need for tax relief of the working class level. This governor, whose palpable contempt for the little guy saw fit to enact a record tax increase- going so far as to make the income tax hike retroactive- looting hard earned income to cover an immense deficit while going through pantomime negotiations with the state workers union to produce a “concessions” deal that reveals little to no real concessions when exposed to the light of day AND railroading through billions of dollars in pet projects that will not serve the interests of the state residents beyond the union labor that will benefit from working on them by contract. Meanwhile, roads and bridges steadily crumble- neglected when the fund supposedly intended for them get diverted.

I see layers of deception, hypocrisy, and corruption at all levels of government currently and in this backdrop the story surfaces of an executive director of an ethics agency pulling some strings to help a friend. Is the act fair? No. Should there be some sort of repercussion? Probably… but I take into account the fact that Carson was open about the friendship from the get-go… she did not behave like the stereotypical guilty party and while the act was ethically dubious it was done in a relatively honorable manner, considering the ethical environment she is operating in. The “offense” seems to me to be the equivalent of jaywalking in an illegal red light district. The position should be filled via proper avenues, the friend disqualified from assuming the job and Ms. Carson reprimanded and possibly suspended- nothing more.

The manner in which you chose to respond raises questions about you. Ordinarily I am moved to feel compassion for an ordinary citizen who is brainwashed by the rhetoric of the conservative vs liberal game played out in the mainstream public discourse but the manner in which you’ve chosen to belittle in your response plus some of your word choices has me considering the possibility that you are a liberal shill bent on keeping alive divisions amongst the “sheeple” who have been fed propaganda that among other things has us seeing our neighbors as adversarial threats to our rights and freedoms instead of the real threat of an intrusive government… and when there’s real outrage building at what I see as a criminal organization, its paid minions dutifully go out and fan the flames of trivial differences, distract with irrelevant “offenses” for the purpose of diffusing pent up outrage, and furthering class envy rhetoric that would have the brainwashed masses assume that the straw man “millionaires and billionaires” are directly responsible for the working class situation so we can feel good that they are supposedly being “punished” by revenue (tax) increases that are enacted concurrent with real tax hikes at the middle class level… all the while refusing to offer any real relief for the working poor (formerly the middle class) and using speeches suggesting intent to help as stalling tactics establishing a premise to act when the policies consistently indicate that there’s zero intent to help us at all.

The real criminals are those enabling the destruction of the working class as well as their shills who serve the function of perpetuating the infighting that draws attention away from the treasonous affairs of our legislators, administrations, and the folks really calling the shots.

So as you can see, I do not regard this breach of ethics to measure up to the standard that should inspire real outrage considering the political atmosphere in which it was committed.

Thank you for your time… I’d reconsider the broad brush you wish to paint me with as you move to discredit. I’m working class and currently do not have abundant time to research, but six months of unemployment furnished some spare time to do some reading.


Dear Zombie,
Spoken like a true ‘government is the root of all evil’ person, with some common sense and even a little bit of impartiality…a little bit.
I actually find your post more insightful than the original piece of, Koch brothers sponsored right wing ‘journalism’, and I find myself compelled to respond.
Your outrage directed to the culture of nepotism that, according to you and most of the other right wing blog readers, seems to be so pervasive during this democratic administration, is at a minimum naive, and at worst hypocritical on every level. It`s funny how ONLY the democrats and liberals conduct themselves in this fashion, yet when a republican administration, and it`s surrogates engage in transgressions that are significantly more serious, most on the right wing folks are mum.
As for the “job killing”, “middle class destroying”, “tearing at the fabric of our very existence as a state and republic” increase in the minimum wage…here`s an Oracle prediction…NOTHING WILL HAPPEN TO YOU, YOUR BANK ACCOUNT, YOUR WEALTH, OR TAX RATE!!!!!
Trust me, you and the “1% `ers “ will be fine. As a matter of fact, you will be more than just fine. If you do not believe me, just look at the impact THE OTHER increases in the minimum wage have had on the state. None of the dire consequences actually ever took place. The little guy was more than happy to IMMEDIATELY spend the few little extra dollars they got to pay bills, buy products and services. It actually served as a BOOST to the state`s economy. But we can`t let a little thing like the truth to get in the way of our beliefs.
Sure, I had to pay the state a little more in taxes this year, but isn`t that my duty, as a proud, patriotic citizen, to pay my taxes? I say to the government:” fix a bridge, plug a pot hole, build a road (to the newest 500k house subdivision), hire a teacher, or secretary, or janitor, or whatever…spend it wisely government, as you need to, as long as it`s not another tax subsidy, or tax cut, for people and companies that REALY DON`T NEED IT”.
I say to you, Mr. Zombie, the world will not end because a republican is not running the state. Our lives will not be worst because the policies of this governor BARELY benefits the low end workers, and, the sun WILL rise again the day after the minimum wage increase. There is enough wealth to go around in this state.
Let`s not “cut off the beast`s head”…let`s see if the beast might actually be right, and help our state pull itself out of the whole created for US, the WORKING AND MIDDLE CLASS people of this country.
Created and delivered to us by the few, “the unaffected”, “how`s my account in Switzerland doing”, “what recession?” “1% `ers”.

Dickmanpriscilla says:

Absolutely, I am the one who has the belief that the truth will set the story straight soon enough. Stay tuned….all issues are on appeal. When you fight the bureaucracy of the state for justice you better be strong enough to with stand the heat. I can tell you the secret to success is not caring what others think but knowing you will be vindicated one day. That is how you survive what has been tossed my way and still get up to fight another day. So again as I said stay tuned.

really,REALLY!! says:

Love your ‘holmes’ like smarts and witts, but this here “nancy” is NOT a she. Peace out!

06238inct says:

Priscilla Dickman – Hey, you’re a real credible source to be commenting on ethics. Aren’t you the gal everyone saw convicted in an ethics trial on the CTN channel !!! On top of that, after a quick check to the state criminal conviction web site (see below) and we all see more felony convictions. Boy, you’re a great source of trusted, unbias, objective information, NOT!!!!!!

PRISCILLA C 1956 Hartford GA 14 H14H-CR11-0649124-S Guilty 3/1/2012
DICKMAN PRISCILLA C 1956 Hartford GA 14 H14H-CR07-0609403-S Guilty 7/20/2011
DICKMAN PRISCILLA C 1956 Rockville GA 19 T19R-CR07-0089295-S Guilty 5/15/2008

Dickmanpriscilla says:

This sounds like a pattern. When hiring the new Ethics Enforcement Officer-the decision was made to increase his salary(which had not been approved for the job he had applied for) and the records/emails show that the Ethics agency stated they must make the change “prior to DAS catching wind of it'”…

Seems like business as usual…………………

Open Mind says:

I am inclined to give this ethics boss the benefit of the doubt until she has a chance to clarify the nature of her friendship. Still, it does not look good on the face of it for high ranking ethics professionals.

tryingforpeace says:

To really,REALLY!! Calm down, Nancy; you’re just going to make it worse.

zombie_woof says:

I look at it as more a broken system that would make ethically permissible such apparent acts akin to nepotism (I realize that it was a friend and not family) than an egregious act on the part of the individual who in reality was taking advantage of leeway granted within the bounds of the rules here… and I don’t immediately see upon skimming the article where the qualifications of the beneficiary are called into question so I must infer that at very least the friend is qualified to do the job.

Fair? no- but what in life is truly fair? I’d hesitate to join the presumed chorus demanding justice here as there are far more critical acts being committed by far higher ranking people within the government to expend our pent up outrage on- like a governor quite possibly violating the state constitution in sidestepping legislative procedures via executive orders granting authority for outside union activists to harass independent PCAs and day care providers to railroad the their unionization- a process that will only benefit the unions and the administration whose campaign was supported by them.

There’s the railroading of a huge minimum wage increase on the premise that it will help the poorest among us in with rhetoric of the “who’s thinking of the children” ilk when the increase will drive up labor costs and actually increase the joblessness of the lowest wage earners as well as increase the costs of the services they provide which will most likely pour ice water on any economic recovery that would otherwise be happening.

The large scale damage being (deliberately?) perpetrated on the middle class and the economy here really makes this miniature sweetheart deal fairly minor- as emblematic as it might be to the culture of corruption that would make such apparent conflicts permissible. The tactics being employed by this governor fuels my sense of urgency that he must be removed as soon as possible before he hasn’t permanently destroyed the ability of the private sector economy to support a robust middle class- if that hasn’t happened already.

Cut off the head of the beast and its subservient parts- likely including Ms. Carson and her friend will go away without any special attention or effort. Excise a pocket of rot without dealing with the environment that fosters it and you will ensure that more problems will supplant the one that has presumably been dealt with. Don’t miss the forest for the trees. There are far bigger fish to fry.

really,REALLY!! says:

I can`t quite figure you out…but i`m sure that if she had a crowbar, and was gonna use it, she would have beem paid at the female rate, you know, 60 to 75% of what her male tough boston couterpart would have earned.
…you should have taken the full time job…

really,REALLY!! says:

See reply below, about things being out of context. But i guess it does not matter as long as it fuels your anger.

really,REALLY!! says:

Surely, Ms Carson`s statement WAS NOT AT ALL taken out of context. That woud be reprehansible for a ‘journalist’. Keep drinking the punch, it`s not spiked.

really,REALLY!! says:

You know, it`s like when you have a manager, and assistant manager, both with the same objective, but with many other diffrent tasks they are responsible for. Notice how they BOTH have the ‘manager’ term in their titles?

reader says:

Work hard, and mabe one day you too could do that as well. You do know that even state workers have to do their job, right?

really,REALLY!! says:

make sure that the bar you set is high enough for you to pass under!!!!

really,REALLY!! says:

How do you know she`s not qualified? Do you know that they are REALLY friends?
Why do you question Ms Carson`s conduct all on the comments of a blogger?
This is how people like ‘el rushbo’, or the ‘savage’ fella get traction. They can say anything they want, fact of fiction, and the angry crowds take it as gospel.

really,REALLY!! says:

Was I the only person that read this “article”? Even the Koch brothers representative in CT (the “article” writer) was not able to actually determine the nature of this “friendship”. I believe the term used was “friendly with”…you know, that stage in a professional relationship when you talk about your family, home, weather, likes and dislikes. I`m sure that Mr. Janoski was able to verify that the “friendly with” relationship was deep and personal, with pictures of the two people sharing a vacation home, at the beach, or enjoying a cup of coffee by the fireplace, the two husbands drinking beer around a grill, or ANY OTHER REASONABLE PIECE OF EVIDENCE that the friendship had crossed from the realm of, everyday “friendly with” stage, to the deeply personal, when one shares resources or helps financially, the family like bond, or the kind of bond that would make one ignore common sense and hire their best friend for a job they are not qualified to have or can`t do effectively . What we have here is hardly worth the outcry of the writer (who we all know to be objective and ‘fair and balanced’, in the ‘fix’ news channel way), and better yet, the outcry of some of the respondents, who are more than willing to throw mud at any state worker, as long as it is not a John Rowland crony, or appointee (or a blood relative of the ‘great communicator’ himself, the godfather of the selfish, hateful, anti state workers, modern right wing movement). Please blow the whistle when the system is abused, state resources are being wasted, or cronyism is pervasive and blatant, not just when it serves the personal or political agenda of a few people. Sorry fellas, but there is no `GOTCHA moment here.

Had enough says:

Got to love an ethics director who self consciously promotes street tactics as her method of operation. We have the most lovely people working for us.

Reader says:

Also love that the person they want to transfer aggrandized her title on her web profile. Only in CT do we have people lying about ethics positions!

Guest says:

The real question: is the General Assembly going to do the right thing here and stop this or are they going to cower under Carson’s tough Boston tacticts? I’d put money on the latter (and you’d better pass it quick guys, in case she’s got a crowbar…)

How about some common sense? says:

To quote the former S.E.C. chair: “It is not an adequate ethical standard to aspire to get through the day without getting indicted.”

It looks like having “ethics” on her business card might be fueling professional hubris. Perhaps they should make her go through a business ethics class if they value education as much as they say.

Stsb says:

great. the ethics office turns out to be just another personal empire run out of the public purse where the agency head boasts about street thug tactics to slip her friend in the back door. there is probably no way to fire these people. oh no! ms. Carson might get a letter of reprimand or verbal warning.

Dangermouse says:

so at a time when lots of qualified applicants rush to apply for any job, ms. carson intended just to appoint her friend as her subordinate without any search or public process? rather than looking out for the best value for tax payer money she seems to be rewarding her friends at tax payer expense. this kind of appointment is something I would expect from political actors. ms. Carson should be setting a high bar of conduct for the state. instead she has shown that her ethics are just rewarding your friends on the public’s dime. let’s watch her lower the bar further by pretending that just because she gets off on a technicality that she did nothing wrong. it is always the denials that dig them deeper.

Alfred1963 says:

This article has stupid all over it. My favorite part is self referencing when more recent data are available for anybody who cares to look on the state transparency website. So you did Meredith a favor. Nice boy.

Guest says:

…let me guess…you would like to keep this position as part time…hmmmm…just like the good old days…

Notyourstoknow says:

I like your use of “key” words, such as alarming, scheme, boss, dems, redundant, higly paid…the koch brothers would be so proud of you…

CTCitizen says:

OMG…you guys serious want your ETHICS HEAD using her “Boston Projects” skills when above-board methods failed??? Yes, I guess this is Corrupticut!!

Confused says:

The Executive Director states her main duty is legislation, the statute says education rests with the General Counsel, and the agency lost finance and clerical personnel that are now operating on its behalf in the new umbrella office. And somehow this justifies an $86k/year hire to do education and legislation? I guess I don’t understand…

VotersRememberThis says:

What’s more alarming than a boss maneuvering to spend more than needed to hire a friend is the Appropriations Committee passing through this permanent scheme. It’s almost laughable that the Dems went through the process of consolidating agencies one year, only to fill them with redundant, highly-paid positions the next.

Guest says:

Since 2007, the education needs of the agency were met with a part-time staffer. The consolidations that lowered the ethics staff also increased the staff of the umbrella organization’s back office. So, while the OSE staff is less, so are its functions. Faced with a downsize, Ms. Carson publicly and repeatedly called for a plan to make the education position permanently part time. When you think about it, with such a post at part time, she would have the resources to hire support staff, thus increasing her net personnel. Instead, she chose to fight solely for the exact position that would suit her close friend in terms of job duties and pay scale. Citizens and legislators alike should understand that such a position at full time is redundant and needless. Ms. Nicolescu herself says she is the Director of, among other things, “Legislative Affairs,” yet Ms. Carson claims legislation as one of her main job duties, along with communications. As the ethics director is uniquey not combined with the General Counsel duties as is the case with the other major watchdogs, Ms. Carson’s functions of legislation and communications were probably valid. But hiring her friend at nearly $90K per year to perform those duties creates two highly-paid individuals in an agency of only 10 or 11 people doing the same exact things. How can the Appropriations committee pass through such bloat?