Ethics Commission fines Boston City Councilor Fernandes Anderson for hiring sister, son to staff

Boston City Councilor Tania Fernandes Anderson will pay a $5,000 civil penalty after admitting to violating the state conflict of interest law.

The state Ethics Commission on Tuesday said the first-term councilor broke the law by hiring her sister and son to paid positions on her city council staff.

Fernandes Anderson appointed her sister to be her full-time director of constituent services shortly after her election, the commission said. Fernandes Anderson then participated in the full council's vote to approve the appointment, and set her salary at $65,000.

In June 2022, the commission said Fernandes Anderson appointed her son as her full-time office manager, with a salary of $52,000. She again participated in the council vote approving the appointment, and later raised the salary to $70,000.

Fernandes Anderson ended the family members' employment in August 2022.

The Ethics Commission said Fernandes Anderson has now signed a disposition agreement where she admits to the violations and agrees to pay the $5,000 penalty.

The maximum penalty for breaking the conflict of interest law is $10,000, according to a commission spokesperson.

Councilor Fernandes Anderson did not respond to a request for comment. But she appeared to apologize to her sister in a Twitter post Tuesday, writing "if it wasn’t unethical I would do it again."

The news of the fine is the latest development for a council increasingly consumed by ethical lapses and scandal.

Last month another city councilor, Ricardo Arroyo, agreed to pay a $3,000 fine for violating the conflict of interest law.

Arroyo admitted that he provided legal representation to his brother in a lawsuit involving the city of Boston, even after Arroyo was elected as a Boston City councilor.

And Councilor Kendra Lara is facing criminal charges after crashing an unregistered and uninsured car into a house in Jamaica Plain last month. Police say her license had been suspended for a decade.

Lara pleaded not guilty in a court hearing last week.


Walter Wuthmann General Assignment Reporter
Walter Wuthmann is a general assignment reporter for WBUR.



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