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Former state energy official faces fines over conflict

November 28, 2011 |  3:49 pm

A former top official at the California Energy Commission faces $6,000 in fines by the state’s ethics watchdog agency for her role in contract decisions involving a company that was paying consulting fees to her husband.

Claudia Chandler has agreed to pay the fines to the state Fair Political Practices Commission for violating conflict of interest rules while she was the chief deputy director of the energy agency. Chandler participated in decisions regarding contracts with Cambria Solutions even though the company had paid between $1,000 and $10,000 to Ralph Chandler Associates, a consulting firm owned by her husband, according to a memo by the enforcement agency staff.

In one of the violations, Chandler was part of a contract evaluation team that recommended giving Cambria Solutions an information technology contract of $333,813 in 2009. The contract was ultimately approved by a vote of the five-member Energy Commission.

"The significance of the public harm in public officials participating in government decisions that have a material financial effect on them is high," the FPPC staff memo said.

--Patrick McGreevy