State fines Uniontown mayor for votes to promote himself, daughter to public positions
Uniontown Mayor Ed Fike has been cited for a conflict of interest violation stemming from his appointment as mayor in January 2018, the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission said Monday.
Fike must reimburse the city $2,446.04 and pay $500 to the state ethics commission for violating the Public Official and Employee Ethics Act, the commission said.
Fike was investigated by the ethics commission for a complaint that he improperly voted to appoint himself mayor and his daughter city administrator at a city council meeting Jan. 8, 2018.
The ethics commission found Fike’s actions constituted a conflict of interest under the state ethics law because he used the “authority of his public position” in a way that resulted in monetary benefits to himself and his daughter, Kim Marshall.
But Fike said — in a statement released by his attorney, Ronald J. Brown — the ethics inquiry was a “politically motivated attack meant to detract from (Fike’s) exemplary leadership of the city.”
Fike said his votes were the result of “inaccurate” and “erroneous” legal advice received from then-solicitor J.W. Eddy.
“Notably, sufficient votes had already been cast, rendering (Fike’s) vote legally unnecessary and of no consequence,” the statement said. “Most importantly, (Fike’s) actions resulted in only a technical violation, and there was no actual loss to the city or its taxpayers.”
Brown said Fike is running for re-election this year and is looking forward to serving another term as mayor.
Fike served as mayor from 2008-15, when he was unseated by Bernie Kasievich. Fike was about to be sworn in as a city councilman Jan. 2, 2018, when it was learned Kasievich had resigned.
Council accepted Kasievich’s resignation and appointed Fike to fill the last two years of Kasievich’s unexpired term. Fike voted to make it 4-0 to appoint himself as mayor and Marshall as city administrator, the ethics commission said.
At a special council meeting called Jan. 8, Fike, as mayor, voted in the affirmative five times to, among other things, accept his resignation from council, to rescind Marshall’s appointment as city administrator and to appoint her as city clerk, according to the ethics commission.
The $2,446 that Fike was ordered to pay is the difference between what he would have made as councilman and what he earns as mayor. Brown noted Fike does not keep his salary but donates it to charity.
Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Stephen at 724-850-1280, [email protected] or via Twitter .