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Ex-FEMA official pleads guilty to conflict of interest

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Local,Crime,Scott McCabe

A former director of human resources at the Federal Emergency Management Agency pleaded guilty Tuesday to a conflict-of-interest charge for negotiating a job with a polling company while working to secure federal money for the firm.

Timothy W. Cannon, 63, faces a maximum of five years in prison at his sentencing set for April 9 before U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson.

Charging documents say that Cannon got FEMA to hire the Gallup Organization in August 2008 to conduct polls of the agency's managers and provide employee training. The five-year contract was worth $6 million to Gallup.

About the same time, Cannon began talking to Gallup about working for the polling company. While pursuing the job, Cannon got FEMA to add another $1.6 million to the contract.

On Jan. 6, 2009 - six days before Cannon was to interview at Gallup - Cannon emailed the company, saying, "I got another 500k put on the contract. Cool huh?"

Cannon accepted the job with the polling firm the next month.

The job offer was withdrawn two months later after Gallup employees began raising questions about the ethics of the hire.

smccabe@washingtonexaminer.com

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