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It's never a good idea to take advantage of the people that work for you -- particularly if you're employed by the City of New York.

Erica Zigelman is a principal at Middle School 322 (MS 322)  here in Manhattan.

In 2006, through 2007, three teachers from the school were asked to assist Zigelman's daughter with her Math, Spanish and English assignments.

Of course, the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board (COIB) eventually got wind of the arrangement (as did the New York City Department of Education (DOE) ) and an investigation ultimately resulted in an admission by Zigelman that her conduct violated  DOE 's Rules and Procedures and the New York City Charter.

According to materials released by COIB on May 8, 2008, the principal's children attended school up in Rockland County. Since that County had a greater number of weather-related school closures (due to snow), Zigelman claimed to have had only "two choices:" stay home with her daughters or bring them to MS 322 . (She obviously chose the latter.) Zigelman also claimed that a "sex offender" was "loose" in the neighborhood and that she was uncomfortable leaving her daughters at home while she was at work.

Notwithstanding these explanations, Zigelman eventually conceded that her conduct violated rules which prohibit City employees from using their positions to secure any "personal or financial benefit" for themselves or "any person or firm associated" with them, and, agreed to pay fines totaling $3000.

We're thinking it would have been a whole lot cheaper to hire a babysitter.

To download a copy of the underlying papers released by COIB , please use this link: Press Release, Stipulation & Disposition