State Says Weatherization Workers Face Discipline

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(Host) Employees in the state office of Economic Opportunity will face disciplinary action after an investigation revealed a conflict of interest in a training contract.

Steve Dale is commissioner of the state Department for Children and Families, which includes the Office of Economic Opportunity.  Dale said an internal investigation focused on three employees who oversaw over a weatherization training contract.

Dale said some of the workers were later hired by Vermont Technical College to implement the training program. He says that is a conflict of interest, because the workers were also in charge of disbursing the training funds.

(Dale) "They were delivering services for the dollars that they were paid privately, but obviously huge conflict. If you’re in charge of a program on behalf of the taxpayers of the state of Vermont you cannot also be doing private work under that program for you own personal gain."

(Host) The employees were put on paid leave last month while officials investigated the allegations. Dale would not name the employees and he said personnel actions are still pending. He said the contracts at issue were worth about $20,000.

Dale also said that the issue should not take away from the success of the weatherization program – which he said has successfully retrofitted thousands of homes to make them more energy efficient.

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