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Conflict of Interest Debated by Easton Selectmen

EASTON, Conn. –  Would it be a conflict of interest if a member of an Easton board got a paycheck from the Board of Education? That is the question that left members of the Board of Selectmen scratching their heads Thursday night.

The selectmen were supposed to deliberate on the possible appointment of two residents as alternates to the Board of Finance. One is Paul Lindoerfer, who previously worked on several tax-related committees in Easton.

Lindoerfer was hoping the selectmen would appoint him to the finance board, but instead the conversation turned to a possible conflict of interest after another person said Lindoerfer was a substitute teacher in town.

Easton resident Dori Wollen told the Board of Selectmen she felt there was a “conflict of interest” with Lindoerfer’s possible appointment because he gets paid by the Board of Education. He subs at Helen Keller Middle School a few times a month, earning $85 each day he works.

“It doesn’t seem to me as a conflict of interest because (the Board of Finance) has nothing to do with the salary of pay for substitute teachers,” Lindoerfer told the selectmen. If he were voted onto the board, he didn’t think “anything I would do would raise or lower substitute teacher’s pay," he said.

But the Board of Finance plays a major role in almost all financial requests in town, such as the town budget.

First Selectman Thomas Herrmann said this was an issue the board needed to look into further because the Board of Finance could be considered by some “to be the most powerful board in town.”

Herrmann said to “avoid even an appearance of impropriety” the matter needed to be tabled until the next meeting for further review.

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