Collaboration in Civic Spheres

DSHS manager fined for misusing public facilities

by January 14th, 2013

The Building Manager for the Children’s Administration of the State of Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services will pay a $2,000 fine in an adjudicative settlement obtained today from the state’s Executive Ethics Board, for using his workplace garage in Tacoma to store his own private vehicles and motorcycles. The so-called stipulation says that Ray Meinzer admitted that over the course of 18 months he stored two private vehicles and at different times, one to two of his own motorcycles in the garage of the DSHS facility where he worked, at 2121 S. State Street. The stipulation says that the the average cost of private storage for one vehicle and one motorcycle is about $1,200 per year. This ethics case is the 64th – most from within Washington State – that we’ve detailed at Public Data Ferret since 2010. (See archive at bottom).

So-called “aggravating factors” in determining the amount of Meinzer’s fine, according to the ethics board, were that he “had significant official, management and supervisory responsibilities; he was motivated by financial gain; the violation was continuing in nature; and he committed the violation with the knowledge that the conduct constituted a violation.”

Meinzer in 2011 earned $58,044 in pay, not including benefits, according to the state employee salary database provided by the Spokane Spokesman-Review. In its stipulation with Meinzer, the ethics board stated his fine would be $4,000, but half would be suspended so long as he refrains from state ethics lapses in the next two years. He will have to pay the $2,000 to the state by late February.

The state’s Ethics in Public Service Act prohibits the use of public resources for private purposes.

The Meinzer settlement is one more in a continuing series of ethics troubles for employees of the mammoth Washington state DSHS reported on by Public Data Ferret:

  • $61K DSHS Supe Used Work As Playground; Pays $1.5K Fine
  • State Ethics Sanctions For Four DSHS Workers
  • State Worker Sexually Abused Vulnerable Patient At Shoreline Facility

  • We’ve also reported on cases involving four- to five-figure settlements in Executive Ethics Board stipulations with workers from other state agencies. These include:

  • Ethics Troubles Mount For State Minority Business Unit
  • Ex-State Agency Head To Pay $12.5K Fine For Ethics Goofs
  • $2.5K Fine For Evergreen College-Tacma’s Chief

  • These and and an array of additional stories on public sector ethics-related settlements within Washington state – currently totaling 64 – are in our Public Data Ferret ethics archive.

    Public Data Ferret is a news knowledge base program of the 501c3 public charity, Public Eye Northwest. Ferret In The News. Donate; subscribe (free)/volunteer.

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