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City Employee Gets Big Fine For Small Sticker

Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011


If you are caught using city property for a purpose other than city business you will probably be disciplined or fined for an ethics violation. But one Seattle employee is unhappy about the $300 he must pay for putting a police sticker on the back of his personal car.
Joseph Benavides, who works for the city’s Department of Transportation, said when he found the 4-inch by 4-inch sticker with the Seattle Police Department logo in the traffic sign shop, he stuck one on his SUV “as an experiment” to see if it would hold up in the weather.
The black sticker differs from the standard blue one issued to the police department. “I didn’t think anything about it,” he said. An ethics complaint was filed by a whistle blower, and the executive director of the commission said the “decal in the rear window of his blue Chevy Suburban could lead to confusion over whether his car was an official police vehicle.”
After acknowledging he violated the code when he misused city property Benavides said,“ I had no idea it was wrong, none at all.”
Was the sticker small? Yes. Was the $300 fine appropriate? What do you think?


Tags: ethics violations, Seattle

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