You are an employee of state agency ABC.
Prior to your appointment, you were a partner in a firm (Firm)
which provides contractual services to state agencies and the human
service providers which receive state agency funding. Upon entering
state service, you took a leave of absence from the Firm. Under the
terms of the leave, your equity and retirement interest with the
Firm will be frozen, and you will not be receiving Firm benefits
which are attributable to services performed by the Firm after you
began service with ABC.
You also serve as an unpaid member of the board of directors of
two corporations. The first, DEF, provides software development
and information for the spot oil industry and contracts with oil
companies. The second, GHI, is an investment banking company which
private university intellectual property and out-of-state student
housing. Neither of the corporations has any dealings with state
1. What limitations does G.L. c. 268A place on your ABC
activities while you are on leave from the Firm?
2. While serving as a state employee, can you maintain your
directorships with DEF and GHI?
1. You are subject to the restrictions described below.
You are a state employee for the purposes of G.L. c. 268A. Three
sections of G.L. c. 268A are relevant to your questions.
I. Limitations as ABC employee
Under G.L. c. 268A, s.6, absent an exemption, you may not
participate as a state employee in any particular matter
affecting the financial interest of a business organization with
which you have an arrangement for future employment.
During the period of your leave of absence from the Firm, you
have an arrangement for future employment with the Firm.
Consequently, s.6 prohibits you from participating as a state
employee in matters in which the Firm has a financial interest. For
example, you may not review contracts between state agencies and
the Firm, or recommend that such contracts be extended. The
prohibition also extends to your participation in contracts between
human service providers and the Firm, and in-state contracts made
by other accounting firms which compete with the Firm for the
contracts under review.
Because Firm contracts will customarily come before you, you
must disclose to your appointing official and the Commission the
fact that these contracts are pending. Your appointing official has
1. he may appoint certain employees to review the contracts;
2. he may review the contracts himself or
3. he may exempt you from the prohibitions of s.6 by
determining in writing that the Firm's financial interest is
not so substantial as to be deemed likely to affect the
integrity of the services which the state expects from you,
and by forwarding a copy of the determination to the
Absent your receipt of a written exemption from your appointing
official, you must abstain from participating in the review of Firm
Under s.23(b)(3), you must avoid conduct which creates a
reasonable impression that your official actions are unduly
influenced by your status as a partner on leave. For example,
because the Firm contracts with the Executive Office of Human
Services (EOHS), you may create a reasonable impression of undue
favoritism toward EOHS in your ABC activities. To dispel any such
impression, you must disclose in writing to your appointing
official the state agency and human service provider clients of the
Firm. You must also avoid actually granting unwarranted privileges
or exemptions of substantial value to agencies which contract with
the Firm. See, G.L. c. 268A, s.23(b)(2).
2. Limitations on your Outside Activities
Nothing in G.L. c. 268A prohibits your serving as an unpaid
director of DEF or GHI, inasmuch as neither corporation has any
current dealings with state agencies. Should either of the
companies plan to conduct dealings with state agencies, you should
renew your request for an advisory opinion. Based on the facts
surrounding those future dealings, we will examine the application
of the s.4(c) restrictions on your acting as a corporate agent in
matters in which the state is a party or has a direct and
substantial interest Independent of the extent of state dealings
by the corporations, you must refrain from using state resources
for your private corporate activities. G.L. c. 268A, s.23(b)(2).
 "Particular matter," any judicial or other proceeding,
application, submission, request for a ruling or other
determination, contract, claim, controversy, charge, accusation,
arrest, decision, determination, finding but excluding enactment
of general legislation by the general court and petitions of
cities, towns, counties and districts for special laws related to
their governmental organizations, powers, duties, finances and
property. G.L.c. 268A, s.1(k).
 In the alternative, you ask how G.L. c. 268A would apply if you
resigned from the Firm and terminated your leave of absence. While
the restrictions of s.6 would no longer apply because you would not
have an arrangement for future employment, you will remain subject
to the provisions of s.29 discussed above.
 Inasmuch as your compensation from the Firm will be calculated
based on services which you performed prior to your becoming a
state employee, you will not be deemed to have a financial interest
in, or to be receiving compensation from, the Firm's contracts with
state agencies or vendors while you remain a state employee. See,
G.L. c. 268A, s.4(a), 7.
End Of Decision