IN THE MATTER OF HUGH JOSEPH MORLEY
Date: October 5, 2004
The State Ethics Commission and Hugh Joseph Morley 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, s. 4(j).
On December 18, 2002, 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 and c. 268B, by Morley. The Commission has concluded its inquiry and, on February 19, 2004, found reasonable cause to believe that Morley violated G.L. c. 268A, s. 23(b)(2).
The Commission and Morley now agree to the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.
Findings of Fact
1. Morley has worked as the Electrical Engineering Manager at Braintree Electric Light Department (BELD) from January 1997 to the present.
2. BELD is a municipal agency of the Town of Braintree. As an employee of a municipal agency Morley is a municipal employee within the meaning of G.L. c. 268A.
3. At all relevant times, as Electrical Engineering Manager, Morley has been responsible for recommending what engineering projects should be undertaken by BELD and who should be hired to do them. He has also been responsible for determining that those so hired perform satisfactorily and, in conjunction with other signatories, approving those vendors' invoices.
4. Power Line Models (PLM) is a corporation that provides consulting, design and engineering services to the electric power industry.
5. Between March 1996 and September 1996, Morley was employed by PLM as an engineer. During that time he shared office space with three other PLM engineers, one of whom was a principal (the "Principal") in the company.
6. At all times relevant, PLM has had four Red Sox season tickets for every other game, which it uses for business purposes in dealing with clients and which it makes available to its own employees.
7. Upon going to work for BELD, Morley assumed responsibility for a number of ongoing projects PLM had with BELD, including determining the satisfactory performance of the work and reviewing and recommending for approval PLM's invoices. He also recommended that PLM be hired, and PLM was hired, for a number of additional projects. Morley supervised PLM's performance under those projects and reviewed the invoices generated in connection with those projects. In so doing, Morley had frequent dealings in his BELD official capacity with the PLM Principal who was his supervisor while Morley worked for PLM.
8. Between 1998 and 2001 PLM did approximately $267,000 in business with BELD. Morley supervised approximately 80% of that business.
9. In the four years between August 1998 and August 2001, PLM provided Morley with four tickets to Boston Red Sox games at Fenway Park on each of five occasions. The four tickets had a face value of $120. Thus Morley and his guests received roughly $600 worth of entertainment at PLM's expense over these four years.
10. Morley received these tickets in the following manner: The PLM principal who was responsible for PLM's projects at BELD would occasionally telephone Morley as BELD's Engineering Manager to make certain that Morley was satisfied with PLM's work. They would refer to these as "calibration" calls.
11. In three of the five incidents where Morley received four Red Sox tickets from PLM, he was offered and accepted the tickets in one of these calibration calls. It is more likely than not that the same protocol was followed as to the other two instances of ticket receipt as well.
12. In June 1999 and again in May 2000, Morley and BELD's Electric Operations Manager played golf with PLM employees, one of whom was the above-described principal. The per-person costs of these outings were $63 and $53, respectively and PLM paid these expenses. On each occasion the principal called Morley and suggested that he (the principal), Morley, BELD's Electric Operations manager, and the PLM engineer who was doing the project work, get together at PLM's offices for a morning business meeting, and then they all played a round of golf that afternoon. Morley and BELD's Electric Operations manager accepted the offers and so played.
Conclusions of Law
Morley's receipt of unwarranted privileges
13. Section 23(b)(2) of G.L. c. 268A 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 which are of substantial value and which are not properly available to similarly situated individuals.
14. Free tickets and golf are privileges.
15. When such privileges are obtained by a public employee because of his public position, they are unwarranted unless such receipt is properly authorized by law, regulation or otherwise. Morley's receipt of free tickets and golf from PLM was unauthorized.
16. When a public employee obtains tickets and golf and he knows, or has reason to know, that those gratuities were given to him because of his public position, that employee uses his position.
17. Morley knew or had reason to know that his receipt of tickets and golf from PLM were given to him substantially or in large part because of his public position in light of: (i) his senior management role and extensive responsibilities from PLM significant contracts with BELD; and (ii) the offer of these tickets or golf arising in the context of a telephone call in which a PLM principal was either ascertaining the degree of Morley's satisfaction with PLM's performance (the "calibration calls") or setting up a meeting to review with Morley and another BELD senior manager, PLM's BELD projects. Accordingly, by receiving tickets to baseball games and free golf from PLM, Morley knew or had reason to know that he was using his official position to obtain unwarranted privileges.
18. The unwarranted privileges were of substantial value and, under the above-described circumstances, were not properly available to similarly situated individuals.
19. Therefore, based on the above circumstances, Morley knew or had reason to know that he was using his official position to secure for himself unwarranted privileges of substantial value not properly available to similarly situated individuals. By doing so, Morley violated G.L. c. 268A, s. 23(b)(2).
In view of the foregoing violations of G.L. c. 268A by Morley, 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 Morley:
(1) that Morley pay to the Commission the sum of $3,0002 as a civil penalty for repeatedly violating G.L. c. 268A, s. 23(b)(2); and
(2) that Morley 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 party.
 By way of defense, Morley testified it was his understanding that he received these tickets primarily as a PLM alumnus and not because he was a BELD official. Nevertheless, as stated above, given the fact that these tickets were offered in "calibration calls," Morley had reason to know that his position as the engineering manager was a substantial factor in his receiving the tickets.
 In setting the amount of the civil penalty in this case, the Commission considered, among many factors (i) the number and value of gratuities Morley received, (ii) his status as a BELD senior manager, and (iii) the previous relationship Morley had with PLM.
End Of Decision