This Disposition Agreement is entered into between the State
Ethics Commission and Thomas Chilik pursuant to Section 5 of the
Commission's Enforcement Procedures. This Agreement constitutes a
consented-to final order enforceable in Superior Court, pursuant to
G.L. c. 268B, s. 4(j).
On November 12, 2003, the Commission initiated, pursuant to
G.L. c. 268B, s. 4(a), a preliminary inquiry into possible
violations of the conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A, by
Chilik. The Commission has concluded its inquiry and, on February
11, 2004, found reasonable cause to believe that Chilik violated
G.L. c. 268A, s. 23(b)(3).
The Commission and Chilik now agree to the following findings
of fact and conclusions of law:
Findings of Fact
1. The Greenfield Montague Transportation Area ("GMTA") is
a state agency providing bus services. Since 1980, Chilik has
served as the general manager of the GMTA. As such, he is a state
employee as that term is defined in G.L. c. 268A, s. 1.
2. A four-member board of trustees oversees the GMTA.
Chilik reports to this board.
3. Chilik's job responsibilities as general manager include
participating in personnel matters affecting subordinate GMTA
4. Kathleen Williams ("Williams") has been a GMTA employee
5. In 1999, Chilik and Williams began dating exclusively.
On June 9, 2003, they were married.
6. During the time they were dating, Chilik participated as
general manager in personnel matters affecting Williams including
reviewing and approving her pay increases, authorizing her to
attend out-of-state conferences (which he also attended), and
promoting her in 1999 from administrative assistant to GMTA office
manager. In addition, he was her day-to-day supervisor.
7. The GMTA trustees were aware of Chilik's participation in
personnel matters affecting Williams and deemed such actions
appropriate. The GMTA trustees, however, were not aware of
Chilik's personal relationship with Williams.
8. Chilik did not file a written disclosure regarding this
personal relationship until late spring/early summer 2003, when
Chilik and Williams notified the GMTA trustees of their wedding
plans. At that point, the GMTA put appropriate safeguards into
place to ensure Chilik's compliance with the conflict of interest
Conclusions of Law
9. G.L. c. 268A, s. 23(b)(3) prohibits a public employee
from, knowingly or with reason to know, acting in a manner that
would ca use a reasonable person having knowledge of the relevant
circumstances, to conclude that any person can improperly influence
or unduly enjoy the employee's favor in the performance of the
employee's official duties, or that the employee is likely to act
or fail to act as the result of kinship, rank, position or undue
influence of any party or person. A public employee can avoid a
violation of s. 23(b)(3) by making an advance written disclosure to
his appointing authority of the facts that would lead a reasonable
person to conclude that he could be unduly influenced.
10. By participating as general manager in personnel
decisions involving a subordinate he was dating, Chilik acted in a
manner that would cause a reasonable person to believe that
Williams could unduly enjoy his favor in the performance of his
official duties. By so acting, Chilik violated s. 23(b)(3).
11. Before so participating, Chilik should have disclosed in
writing to his appointing authority that he was dating Williams.
Alternatively, he should have abstained as general manager from
participating in any personnel matters involving Williams. Section
23(b)(3)'s requirement of advance written disclosure prior to
participation is not a technical requirement. Even where actions
regarding personnel matters affecting a subordinate that a
supervisor is dating are appropriate, the disclosure lets the
appointing authority (and the public) know the relevant facts and
provides the appointing authority the opportunity to fully
scrutinize the actions knowing all of the relevant circumstances
and put into place appropriate safeguards to protect the public
interest under the circumstances.
In view of the foregoing violation of G.L. c. 268A by Chilik,
the Commission has determined that the public interest would be
served by the disposition of this matter without further
enforcement proceedings, on the basis of the following terms and
conditions agreed to by Chilik:
(1) that Chilik pay to the Commission the sum of $2,000 as a
civil penalty for violating G.L. c. 268A, s. 23(b)(3); and
(2) that he waive all rights to contest the findings of fact,
conclusions of law and terms and conditions contained in this
Agreement in this or any other related administrative or
judicial proceedings to which the Commission is or may be a
STATE ETHICS COMMISSION
Peter Sturges, Executive Director
Dated: March 4, 2004
Dated: January 28, 2004