August 9, 2011
The State Ethics Commission ("Commission") and John Judd ("Judd") enter into this Disposition Agreement pursuant to Section 5 of the Commission's Enforcement Procedures. This Agreement constitutes a consented-to final order enforceable in the Superior Court, pursuant to G.L. c. 268B, § 4(j).
On May 20, 2011, the Commission initiated, pursuant to G.L. c. 268B, § 4(a), a preliminary inquiry into possible violations of the conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A, by Judd. The Commission has concluded its inquiry and, on July 15, 2011, found reasonable cause to believe that Judd violated G.L. c. 268A.
The Commission and Judd now agree to the following findings of fact and conclusions of law:
Findings of Fact
- Judd has been a member of the Goshen Board of Selectmen ("BOS") since May 2010.
- Judd's cousin, Francis Judd, operates George D. Judd & Sons, LLC, which is in the business of selling stone, sand, and gravel.
- In August 2009, Goshen participated in a cooperative purchasing arrangement with the Hampshire County Council of Governments to purchase 3,000 tons of "washed screened sand." The council followed a standard procurement process by which it issued a request for quotes. The low bidder bid $12 per ton and was awarded the contract. George D. Judd & Sons provided a bid for $8.25 per ton, but its bid was deemed unresponsive since it was for screened sand, not washed screened sand, as specified in the request for quotes.
- At the October 12, 2010 BOS meeting, Judd, in his capacity as a selectman, raised the issue of the town sand contract. Judd said the town should re-bid the contract to get a better price. Judd criticized the highway superintendent for not buying the sand from Judd's cousin. Judd provided the BOS with a proposed contract for the BOS to sign which stated that the town would purchase 50% of its "screened sand" as needed from George D. Judd & Sons for $9 per ton ("the proposed sand contract"). The value of the proposed sand contract was approximately $13,500. The BOS did not sign the proposed sand contract.
Conclusions of Law
- As a BOS member, Judd is a municipal employee as defined by G.L. c. 268A, § 1.
- Section 23(b)(2)(ii) of G.L. c. 268A prohibits a municipal employee from, knowingly, or with reason to know, using or attempting to use his official position to secure for himself or others unwarranted privileges or exemptions which are of substantial value and which are not properly available to similarly situated individuals.
- There is a standard contract bid process for the town sand contract. Judd attempted to have the BOS purchase 50% of the town's requirement for sand from his cousin's company, George D. Judd & Sons, without going through the standard contract bid process. Where the standard contract bid process would not have been followed, the proposed sand contract would have been an unwarranted privilege.
- The proposed sand contract was of substantial value because the contract was valued at approximately $13,500.
- Judd used his official position as a BOS member to attempt to secure for his cousin's company, George D. Judd & Sons, this unwarranted privilege by having the BOS members sign the proposed sand contract he provided.
- This privilege was not otherwise properly available to similarly situated individuals, such as other potential businesses that would have wanted the proposed sand contract and would have been required to follow the standard contract bid process for the town sand contract.
- Therefore, by as a selectman attempting to have the BOS purchase 50% of the town's requirement for sand from his cousin's company, George D. Judd & Sons, without going through the standard contract bid process, Judd knowingly used his BOS position to attempt to secure for his cousin's company, George D. Judd & Sons, an unwarranted privilege of substantial value that was not properly available to similarly situated individuals, thereby violating § 23(b)(2)(ii).
In view of the foregoing violation of G.L. c. 268A by Judd, the Commission has determined that the public interest would be served by the disposition of this matter without further enforcement proceedings, based on the following terms and conditions agreed to by Judd:
- that Judd pay to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, with such payment delivered to the Commission, the sum of $2,500 as a civil penalty for violating G.L. c. 268A, § 23(b)(2)(ii);
- that Judd meet with State Ethics Commission staff to receive training regarding the requirements of the conflict of interest law; and
- that Judd waive all rights to contest, in this or any other administrative or judicial proceeding to which the Commission is or may be a party, the findings of fact, conclusions of law and terms and conditions contained in this Agreement.
STATE ETHICS COMMISSION
_ //signed//_______ 7/21/11__ _ //signed//_______ 8/09/11__
John Judd Date Karen L. Nober Date
I, John Judd, have personally read the above Disposition Agreement. I understand that it is a public document and that by signing it, I will have agreed to all of the terms and conditions therein, including payment of $2,500 to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, with such payment delivered to the State Ethics Commission.
_ //signed//_______ 7/21/11__
John Judd Date