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City official: No conflict of interest

By Adam Urquhart - Staff Writer | Mar 28, 2019

NASHUA – Laurie Ortolano of 41 Berkeley St. is still keeping a close eye on the city’s Assessing Department, as she voiced what she believe to be a conflict of interest during the Tuesday Board of Aldermen meeting.

Nashua Human Resources Director Larry Budreau said there is no conflict of interest in the office, he admits in the situation Ortolano presented Tuesday night could be a perceived conflict of interest.

Ortolano digs to find clues as to what really goes on in the department. She said on Friday, she learned the city has a nepotism policy. She claims having two brothers working in the same department is a violation of that policy.

Greg and Gary Turgiss have worked in the department for two decades. When both went to Ortolano’s property on separate occasions to deal with her issues, it seemed like a blatant conflict of interest in her eyes. She said allowing this family relationship is not a good practice for the city.

“I don’t think the brothers should be working in the department together,” Ortolano said. “I don’t think, as you are trying to clean up that department and create public trust and confidence and accountability, you can do that when you’re violating your anti-nepotism policy.”

The situation Ortolano presented during the Tuesday meeting is that Gary did the initial assessment, and when she requested a review of her property, Greg came out to her home to do the review.

When Greg’s business card featured a familiar last name, she questioned if he was related to Gary. Ortolano claims he said yes.

In any event, Ortolano said Greg spent plenty of time at her home, where she went into great detail on what she thought his brother did wrong.

“There is the possibility in this specific situation there could be a conflict of interest,” Budreau said of the situation Ortolano described.

Ortolano said Greg did not answer many of her questions, except to say he would get back to her.

Though Budreau said having the brothers investigate the same complaint may be problematic, he does not believe having siblings working in the same department violates any city policies.

“The department believes there is not a conflict,” Budreau said relative to the two brothers working in the same department.

“In general, the brothers have functioned effectively for many years and we hope they continue to do so,” Budreau added.

Budreau said at this point, city officials are still waiting for a decision from the Board of Aldermen regarding the administrative services director position. Until this position is filled, Chief Financial Officer John Griffin and the Mayor’s Office Chief of Staff Kim Kleiner have a shared responsibility for managing the department.

The city’s nepotism policy states, “No relatives are permitted to work in the same department or in any other positions in which the Human Resources Department believes an inherent conflict of interest may exist.”

Adam Urquhart may be contacted at 594-1206, or at aurquhart@nashuatelegraph.com.

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