ROCKLAND, Maine — The executive board of the International City/County Management Association publicly censured Rockland’s city manager for actions that occurred while he was town manager in Boothbay.
The executive board announced its censure of James Chaousis on Monday in a news release issued by director of ethics Martha Perego. Chaousis, who is a member of the organization, shared the information with city employees on Monday.
Boothbay paid $4,388 in cellphone expenses accrued by Chaousis’ wife and daughter from 2011 until March 2015. Chaousis acknowledged that he discovered the error shortly after accepting the position in Rockland but he concealed knowledge of the error and made reimbursement only after Boothbay conducted an audit and sought reimbursement, Perego said.
According to Perego, the executive board considered the length of time that the personal expenses were inappropriately paid by Boothbay, the fact that Chaousis did not take immediate and affirmative action to resolve the matter when he discovered it, and Chaousis’ obligation as manager to ensure that internal practices were sufficient to protect public resources.
Chaousis said he reported the matter to the association’s executive board immediately after the matter was reported by the Boothbay Register newspaper from a meeting of the Board of Selectmen in that town.
Chaousis said earlier this year that the transactions were inadvertent co-mingling of personal and private expenses. He also pointed out he had been paying the town office’s Internet bill since November but would not request reimbursement for that money.
On Monday, the manager told his staff in an email that “everyone has heard me state that we will create standards and hold ourselves accountable. This is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate that no one is beyond those standards and that people are also fallible. In administering the City of Rockland, we will make mistakes but we will fix our mistakes and improve trust in the local government.”
He said Monday that the censure has no practical effect but puts the member of the association on notice.
Chaousis served as manager of Boothbay from November 2010 until he began work in Rockland in March.