State employee fined for getting free hotel rooms
FAIRFIELD — A state employee has been fined after authorities say she received free hotel rooms for an EMS conference from a now-defunct Fairfield company.
Raffaela Coler of Rocky Hill, paid a $250 civil penalty for violating the Code of Ethics for” using her state position to seek and receive two nights of free hotel stay from the business entity that organized an Emergency Medical Services ("EMS") conference,” according to a press release from the Office of State Ethics.
As the Director of the Office of Emergency Medical Services at the Department of Public Health, Coler was responsible for oversight of state-established regional EMS councils. The councils make up includes representatives from private companies.
In 2017, the councils established a private business, CT EMS Expo, Inc., that organized an EMS-related four-day conference in late May and early June in Uncasville. Prior to attending the conference, Coler requested two free nights at the hotel where the conference was being held. Her request was made to individuals who held positions in businesses or other entities regulated by OEMS and the DPH.
CT EMS Expo, Inc., had an address of 100 Mona Terrace, but has since dissolved.
According to the stipulation and consent order finalized on August 13 by seeking and obtaining two nights free at a hotel by virtue of her state position, Coler violated the Ethics Code that states a public official or state employee is prohibited from using their position to obtain personal financial gain.
"State employees and public officials generally cannot use their positions to get personal benefits, such as hotel stays, from those they regulate," said OSE Executive Director, Carol Carson.