Baker-Era State Employee Pays $70,000 Penalty In Conflict Case

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By Michael P. Norton
State House News Service

A former state programmer in the Massachusetts Executive Office of Education has paid a $70,000 civil penalty and admitted to violating the state’s conflict of interest law in connection with consultant hires that led to her family’s company receiving substantial recruiting fees.

Last week, the State Ethics Commission announced the disposition agreement involving Radhika Uppaluri, who also held positions in her family’s company, Shri Radhe Krishna Corporation (SRK). As a state employee between 2017 and 2019, Uppaluri hired four IT consultants recruited through SRK, resulting in the company receiving $124,832 in recruiting fees, according to the commission.

“When hiring the consultants, Uppaluri failed to follow EOE’s standard procedure of posting the positions on the Commonwealth’s official Commbuys procurement system and hiring through an approved vendor,” the commission reported. “Uppaluri instead hired the four consultants through SRK, which was not an approved vendor.”

The commission said Uppalari violated the state conflict of interest law that bans state employees from participating, in their official capacity, in matters in which they know that they, their immediate family, or their business organization have a financial interest.

Uppaluri’s husband served as SRK’s president, treasurer, and secretary in 2018 and 2019, and “at all relevant times” Uppaluri was an account owner and signatory for SRK’s financial account, according to the agreement. She resigned from the state Executive Office of Education in July 2019 when officials “became aware of her private involvement with SRK.”

A press release from the commission did not say whether the company was able to keep the fees, which totaled about $55,000 more than the civil penalty. A commission spokesman said that because the question of whether the fees were kept or not isn’t addressed in the disposition agreement, he could not comment on it.


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