This Disposition Agreement is entered into between the State
Ethics Commission and John Sanna Jr. 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 August 14, 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 Sanna. The
Commission has concluded its inquiry and, on October 7, 2003, found
reasonable cause to believe that Sanna violated G.L. c. 268A, s.
The Commission and Sanna now agree to the following findings
of fact and conclusions of law:
Findings of Fact
1. Since April 2001, John Sanna has been an elected Buzzards
Bay Water District Commissioner. The three-member commission
oversees all aspects of the operation of the water district, and
has the authority to hire and fire water district personnel.
2. In March 2002 the State Ethics Commission notified Sanna
that he appeared to have violated the conflict law when he borrowed
water district equipment in fall 2001, and that the Commission was
unlikely to resolve another violation privately.
3. Despite the Commission's warning, in late summer 2002 Sanna
borrowed the district's paint spray gun. A paint spray gun can be
rented for approximately $30 per day.
4. In or about December 2002, Sanna borrowed one of the
district's metal detectors. The cost to rent a metal detector is
approximately $20 per day.
5. Sanna failed to return the items until he was contacted by
the State Ethics Commission in August 2003.
6. The water district has a policy barring loans of water
district equipment except in "extraordinary circumstances...and
then only with the permission of a Supervisor or the
Conclusions of Law
7. Section 23(b)(2) prohibits municipal employees from,
knowingly or with reason to know, using or attempting to use their
official position to secure for themselves or others unwarranted
privileges or exemptions of substantial value not properly
available to similarly situated individuals.
8. As a Buzzards Bay Water District Commissioner Sanna is,
pursuant to G.L. c. 268A, s. 1(g), a municipal employee.
9. When he borrowed water district equipment, Sanna knew or
had reason to know that the decision to allow him to take the
equipment would be influenced by his authority as a Water District
Commissioner. Sanna therefore knew or had reason to know that he
was using his position to obtain the paint spray gun and the metal
10. Because non-official use of the property is not allowed
under the water district's policies except in "extraordinary
circumstances," borrowing the equipment under the circumstances
Sanna borrowed them was an unwarranted privilege not available to
similarly situated individuals.
11. The costs to rent a paint spray gun for almost a year and
a metal detector for nine months exceed $50. Therefore, the
unwarranted privileges were of substantial value.
12. Accordingly, Sanna violated G.L. c. 268A, s. 23(b)(2) when
he borrowed the paint spray gun and the metal detector. Sanna's
violations warrant a substantial fine because he disregarded a
prior State Ethics Commission warning that borrowing equipment
under these conditions violated the conflict-of-interest law.
In view of the foregoing violation of G.L. c. 268A by Sanna,
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 Sanna:
(1) that Sanna pay to the Commission the sum of $2,000.00 as
a civil penalty for violating G.L. c. 268A, s. 23(b)(2); and
(3) 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
/s/Peter Sturges, Executive Director
Dated: November 24, 2003
/s/John Sanna Jr.
Dated: November 7, 2003
I, John Sanna Jr., 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 $2,000.00 to the State Ethics