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JAMES YOCABET v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (09/18/87)

decided: September 18, 1987.

JAMES YOCABET, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, STATE ETHICS COMMISSION, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of State Ethics Commission No. 412-R, Issued March 3, 1986.

COUNSEL

James T. Davis, with him, John M. Purcell, Davis & Davis, for petitioner.

John J. Contino, General Counsel, for respondent.

Judges Barry and Palladino, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino.

Author: Palladino

[ 109 Pa. Commw. Page 433]

James Yocabet (Petitioner) appeals from an order of the State Ethics Commission (Commission) which found him in violation of Section 3(a) of the State Ethics Act (Ethics Act)*fn1 and required him to remit the compensation he received as secretary/treasurer of Luzerne Township*fn2 for the years 1980 and 1981. We affirm.

Petitioner was appointed to fill the remainder of the term of a vacated Luzerne Township supervisor position in 1978. Subsequently, he ran for the office and was elected. During his tenure as a supervisor, Petitioner also held the position of township roadmaster and secretary/treasurer.*fn3

The Commission informed Petitioner in July, 1983 that it had received a complaint that he had used his office as supervisor to realize personal financial gain by being appointed or voting for his own appointment as secretary/treasurer of the township. The Commission also informed Petitioner that it would conduct an investigation of this allegation. On September 17, 1984,

[ 109 Pa. Commw. Page 434]

    the Commission issued a preliminary order in which it concluded Petitioner had violated section 3(a) of the Ethics Act.

Section 3(a) of the Ethics Act provides:

No public official or public employee shall use his public office or any confidential information received through his holding public office to obtain financial gain other than compensation provided by law for himself, a member of his immediate family, or a business with which he is associated. (Emphasis added.)

The Second Class Township Code (Code)*fn4 permits township supervisors to appoint themselves to the township offices of roadmaster, secretary and treasurer.*fn5 However, in that situation, the Code requires the township's auditors to set the compensation for these offices.*fn6 The Commission based its preliminary determination that Petitioner was in violation of Section 3(a) of the Ethics Act on its findings that: (1) Petitioner had voted to appoint himself township secretary/treasurer in the years 1979 to 1983; (2) he had received a salary for this position of $6000 in 1978 and $6600 in 1979 through 1984; and (3) the ...


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