October 4, 2012

DISPOSITION AGREEMENT

 

The State Ethics Commission (“Commission”) and John O’Brien (“O’Brien”) 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 December 16, 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 O’Brien.  The Commission has concluded its inquiry and, on July 20, 2012, found reasonable cause to believe that O’Brien violated G.L. c. 268A.

The Commission and O’Brien now agree to the following findings of fact and conclusions of law:

 

FINDINGS OF FACT

 

1.  O’Brien was the City of Melrose Fire Chief from August 2003 until his retirement in June 2012. 

2.  Cataldo Ambulance Service, Inc. (“Cataldo Ambulance”) is the primary emergency medical services (“EMS”) provider to the City of Melrose (the “City”) 
     pursuant to a contract with the City. 

3.  The City’s Fire Department’s support is an important consideration in the awarding of the City’s EMS contract.

4.  In early summer 2010, the City put the EMS contract out to bid.  A committee comprising the mayor, the mayor’s chief of staff, and O’Brien reviewed the 
    bids.  The committee awarded the City’s new three-year EMS contract, commencing on September 1, 2010, to Cataldo Ambulance. 

5.  In November 2010, Cataldo Ambulance gave O’Brien two Boston Bruins premium club tickets that O’Brien used to attend the November 17, 2010 game.

6.  The Boston Bruins tickets O’Brien received were worth approximately a total of $350.

7.  O’Brien knew or had reason to know that Cataldo Ambulance gave him the tickets because of O’Brien’s official position as fire chief.

 

CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

 

8.  Section 23(b)(2)(i) of G.L. c. 268A prohibits a municipal employee from, knowingly, or with reason to know, soliciting or receiving anything of substantial 
     value for such officer or employee, which is not otherwise authorized by statute or regulation, for or because of the officer or employee's official position.

9.  As the City’s fire chief, O’Brien was a municipal employee as defined by G.L. c. 268A, § 1.

10.  O’Brien received two Boston Bruins premium club tickets from Cataldo Ambulance.

11.  The two tickets were of substantial value as they were worth approximately $350.[1]

12.  The receipt of the tickets was not authorized by statute or regulation.

13.  The tickets were received by O’Brien from Cataldo Ambulance because of O’Brien’s official position as the City’s fire chief. 

14.  When he received these tickets from Cataldo Ambulance, O’Brien knew or had reason to know they were given to him because of his official position as the 
       City’s fire chief. 

15.  Therefore, by so receiving the two Boston Bruins tickets from Cataldo Ambulance, O’Brien, knowingly, or with reason to know, received something of 
        substantial value for himself, which was not otherwise authorized by statute or regulation, for or because of his official position, in violation of § 23(b)(2)(i).

 

In view of the foregoing violation of G.L. c. 268A by O’Brien, 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 O’Brien:

  1. that O’Brien pay to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, with such payment delivered to the  Commission, the sum of $1,500 as a civil penalty for  violating G.L. c. 268A, § 23(b)(2)(i); and
  2. that O’Brien 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//                       10/04/12
Karen L. Nober            Date
Executive Director

 

  //signed//                  8/24/12  
John O’Brien               Date

 

 

I, John O’Brien, 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 Commonwealth of Massachusetts, with such payment delivered to the State Ethics Commission.  

 

  //signed//                  8/24/12
John O’Brien               Date

 

[1]The Commission has established a $50.00 threshold to determine “substantial value.”  930 CMR 5.05.