April 23, 2010

Disposition Agreement

The State Ethics Commission and Daniel Rowan ("Rowan") 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 September 21, 2007, the Commission initiated, pursuant to G.L. c. 268B, § 4(a) a preliminary inquiry into alleged violations by Rowan of G.L. c. 268A, the conflict of interest law. On May 15, 2009, the Commission concluded its inquiry and found reasonable cause to believe that Rowan violated G.L. c. 268A, §§ 23(b)(2) and 23(b)(3).

The Commission and Rowan now agree to the following findings of fact and conclusions of law:

Findings of Fact

County Employment

1. Rowan was employed by the Plymouth County Sheriff's Department ("PCSD") from January 2005 through May 2007. Rowan was on leave from January 2007 through May 2007 and did not perform work for the PCSD during that period.

2. From January 2005 through December 2006, Rowan performed his duties as the PCSD Fleet Supervisor ("Fleet Supervisor").

3. As Fleet Supervisor, Rowan was responsible for maintaining and servicing more than 100 vehicles and pieces of farm equipment owned by the PCSD. As such, Rowan had the authority to recommend purchases of new vehicles. He also had the authority on his own to purchase certain equipment for vehicles, such as sirens and lights, in an amount up to $500 for each item.

Municipal Headquarters, Inc.

4. Municipal Headquarters, Inc. ("MHQ") is a vendor of vehicles and equipment to municipalities and public agencies, including police, sheriff, and fire departments.

5. MHQ sells new vehicles to municipalities and also purchases from municipalities their used vehicles.

6. Frank Chase ("Chase") is President of MHQ and has been employed by the company for approximately 28 years.

7. During the relevant time period, MHQ had a contract with Plymouth County to provide vehicles and related equipment to the PCSD.

8. Rowan, in his capacity as the Fleet Supervisor, would occasionally purchase vehicle equipment from MHQ, including, typically, items such as sirens and emergency lights.

9. From January 2005 to March 23, 2006, Rowan, in his capacity as Fleet Supervisor, made a number of equipment purchases from MHQ totaling at least $2,000.

Crown Victoria

10. Starting in or about October 2005, Rowan began telling Chase that he was interested in privately buying a good quality used police car from MHQ for his personal use. Rowan broached the possibility of purchasing such a vehicle several times with Chase.

11. In March 2006, Chase contacted Rowan and advised him that he had a vehicle that Rowan might be interested in. The vehicle was a 1999 Ford Crown Victoria (the "Crown Victoria") previously used by a police chief. Rowan was told that the Crown Victoria had 105,802 odometer miles and a price of $800.

12. On March 23, 2006, Rowan visited MHQ to view the Crown Victoria. Rowan was satisfied with the vehicle and reached an understanding with Chase that he could buy and take possession of the Crown Victoria that day, and also receive the bill of sale and title that day, but that he could pay for the vehicle later.

13. According to Rowan, some time after taking possession of the Crown Victoria, he gave Chase $800 in cash as payment for the vehicle. According to Chase, MHQ never received payment for the Crown Victoria.

14. Rowan never filed a disclosure with his appointing authority at the PCSD disclosing his private business relationship with MHQ/Chase.

Rowan's MHQ Purchases after Taking Possession of the Crown Victoria

15. From March 23, 2006, through December 2006, Rowan, in his capacity as the Fleet Supervisor, made purchases from MHQ, including purchases of a paint job and emergency lights, which purchases totaled at least $3,000. In addition, Rowan, as Fleet Supervisor, also had extensive interactions with Chase in or about November/December 2006 regarding a seized engine on a van that MHQ had sold to the PCSD.



Conclusions of Law




16. As the PCSD Fleet Supervisor, Rowan was at all relevant times a county employee as defined in c. 268A, §1(d).

23(b)(2) Violation



17. Section 23(b)(2) prohibits a public 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 of substantial value not properly available to similarly situated individuals.

18. In EC-COI-92-7, the Commission stated that a public employee who has a business relationship with a vendor within his regulatory jurisdiction violates § 23(b)(2) unless (1) the business relationship is entirely voluntary; (2) it was initiated by the vendor; and (3) the employee's public written disclosure under § 23(b)(3) states facts clearly showing elements (1) and (2).

19. As a purchaser of MHQ's products and services in his capacity as the Fleet Supervisor, Rowan had a regulatory relationship with MHQ.

20. Rowan initiated the purchase of the Crown Victoria. It was not initiated by MHQ/Chase, the vendor.

21. Based on the facts as described above, it cannot be established whether the sale by MQH was entirely voluntary.

22. By obtaining the Crown Victoria under the circumstances described above, Rowan used his official position to obtain an unwarranted privilege of substantial value not otherwise available to similarly situated individuals.

23. Therefore, Rowan violated § 23(b)(2). [1]

23(b)(3) Violation

24. Section 23(b)(3) prohibits a public employee from knowingly, or with reason to know, acting in a manner which would cause a reasonable person, knowing all of the relevant facts, to conclude that any person can improperly influence or unduly enjoy his favor in the performance of his official duties, or that he is likely to act or fail to act as a result of kinship, rank, position or undue influence of any party or person.

25. Rowan, in his capacity as the Fleet Supervisor, had official dealings with MHQ as described above after he took possession of the Crown Victoria on March 23, 2006.

26. When he had official dealings with MHQ as described above after taking possession of the Crown Victoria, Rowan knew, or should have known, that he was acting in a manner which would cause a reasonable person, knowing all of the relevant facts, to conclude that MHQ might improperly influence or unduly enjoy his favor in the performance of his official duties, or that he was likely to act or fail to act as a result of kinship, rank, position or undue influence of MHQ.

27. Rowan did not make any disclosure to his appointing authority of the above facts.

28. Therefore, Rowan violated § 23(b)(3).

Resolution



In view of the aforementioned violations of G.L. c. 268A by Daniel Rowan, 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 Daniel Rowan:

(1) that Daniel Rowan pay to the Commission the sum of $1,500 as a civil penalty for violating G.L. c. 268A, §§ 23(b)(2) and 23(b)(3), as noted above; and,

(2) that Daniel Rowan 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 the terms and conditions contained in this Agreement.

STATE ETHICS COMMISSION

__ //signed// ________ 3/29/10_____ __ //signed//______________ 4/23/10_____

Daniel Rowan Date Karen L. Nober Date
Executive Director

I, Daniel Rowan, 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 $1,500 to the State Ethics Commission.

__ //signed// ______ 3/29/10_________

Daniel Rowan Date



[1] G.L. c. 268A was amended by c. 28 of the Acts of 2009. The language of § 23(b)(2) now appears in § 23(b)(2)(ii) of G.L. c. 268A, as amended.