Frye: Lawmaker seeks investigation
TribLIVE Sports Videos
A local lawmaker has asked the State Ethics Commission to investigate a possible conflict of interest involving the director of the Pennsylvania Game Commission's bureau of wildlife habitat management.
Bill Capouillez's job with the agency involves, among other things, negotiating oil and gas leases on state game lands.
After work, on his own, he has long had a side business negotiating similar leases for private landowners with those same companies. It's been lucrative; Capouillez said in a recent newspaper article he no longer needs his Game Commission salary for day-to-day living.
Some have complained in the past that represents a conflict of interest, but the Game Commission never has agreed.
Butler County Republican Daryl Metcalfe, majority chairman of the House of Representatives state government committee, wants an outside opinion, however. Last week he asked the ethics commission to examine Capouillez's outside work.
“You can't have an employee of the state doing a job during business hours and then changing hats and negotiating on a private basis after hours with the exact same people,” Metcalfe said. “It's a conflict of interest.”
Metcalfe isn't sure how long an ethics commission investigation may take. Commission officials told him they're short-staffed.
But he expects an investigation to get under way soon, with a ruling delivered this fall, he said.
Game Commission executive director Carl Roe declined to address the issue. Through press secretary Travis Lau, he said it's a personnel issue.
Capouillez disputed the idea of any conflict of interest, however, in a letter released to the media.
“I am confident that if (Metcalfe) were presented with the magnitude of evidence and actual facts regarding my state employment as compared to that of my supplemental employment, he, too, would come to the same conclusions that many already have … that there just simply is no conflict of interest,” he said.
He pointed out that while he still works with previous clients, he hasn't taken a new one in three years. Even at that, he has “consistently complied” with the Governor's Code of Conduct.
“The standards for complying with any ‘supplementary employment' are very high and since my initial supplementary employment approval, I have never been notified of any ethical violations,” he added.
That doesn't seem as if it's going to be enough to satisfy Metcalfe. He said if the ethics commission doesn't find Capouillez to have violated existing statutes, “common sense” says the statutes are not sufficiently strong, and he'll introduce legislation to rework them.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Fish and Boat Commissioners look for chances to get kids outside
- Game lands permit idea by Pennsylvania Game Commission upsets hikers
- Pa. Fish and Boat Commission makes controversial trout decision
- Wilderness school offers teachers, students unique opportunity
- Frye: Mentored youth proposal a hot-button issue
- Outdoors notebook: Bevy of outdoors shows scheduled
- Outdoors notices: Jan. 19, 2015
- Frye: Mystery rifle stirs memories
- Outdoor notices: Jan. 25, 2015
- Forbes Trail Chapter revs up youth conservation, fly fishing program
- Frye: Chronic wasting disease vaccine offers hope