The Coventry woman accused of violating state ethic’s policy while working at the University of Connecticut Health Center is appealing the $15,000 fine issued to her last week by the state ethics board.
Priscilla Dickman is also accusing health center and Office of State Ethics officials of harassing and targeting her, adding they “manufactured” evidence in the case and acted unethically.
The OSE had charged Dickman with using state time and health center computers, the e-mail system, telephones, Internet access and printers for business ventures.
The state’s Citizen’s Ethics Advisory Board issued the $15,000 fine Friday after ruling she had violated state ethics policies. It released the information Saturday.
But Dickman, who worked as a medical technologist at the health center from 1978 through 2005, denies doing any work while on state time.
She also said the health center had no policy in place prohibiting employees from using their e-mail accounts for personal reasons until after she retired and the OSE was using a policy from May 2006 in its case.
“You can’t put a rule in place after I leave and hold me to it,” she said.
OSE spokesman Meredith Trimble, though, said witnesses testified the health center had a policy on computer usage and supervisors instructed Dickman to stop using her e-mail for personal usage.
Dickman also accused OSE employees, including enforcement officer T.J. Jones, of “manufacturing” evidence and copying documents in order to provide “copious amounts” of the same data to demonstrate probable cause.
She also accused Jones of violating ethics policies pertaining to computer usage, saying she has obtained e-mails showing Jones spent “excessive time” addressing personal matters.
Dickman, who has started a blog to track her complaints, said she got the e-mails via Freedom of Information requests, but Trimble said she has not seen any evidence of wrongdoing by Jones.
Dickman also accused the OSE of changing statutes and policies during the process and even questioned the appointment of its chairman.
She said she and her attorney, John Geida, have already filed an appeal, and will take the case to any appropriate court, whether it’s an appellate court or the state Supreme Court.
Trimble, though, said she has not seen any information about an appeal or complaint from Dickman “in any official terms” and only heard of it through media reports.
Dickman has also filed a civil complaint in July against Jones, OSE investigator Michael Morrissey and seven health center officials.
Dickman said in the complaint health center employees discriminated against her after she suffered a back injury in 1979 that resulted in a disability and she required special accommodations.
In the complaint, she said health center officials failed to make such accommodations and questioned her doctor’s diagnosis, prognosis and directions, and she was forced to retire because of this in April 2005.
Dickman then filed a complaint with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, leading to additional harassment from other health center officials, according to the complaint.
The complaint also alleges health center employees “manufactured” an ethics complaint against her and the OSE has continued to prosecute Dickman while ignoring similar activity by other health center employees.
Dickman said Tuesday her ethics complaint was put on hold pending the outcome of the advisory board’s hearing, but it is now “very much active.”