Docket No. 614
In the Matter of Ralph Shalsi
March 15, 2001
The State Ethics Commission and Ralph Shalsi enter into this
Disposition Agreement pursuant to 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.40).
On September 19, 2000, the Commission initiated, pursuant to
G.L. c. 268B, s.4(a), a preliminary inquiry into possible
violations of the conflict of interest law by Shalsi. The
Commission concluded that inquiry, and on December 13, 2000, found
reasonable cause to believe that Shalsi violated G.L. c. 268A,
The Commission and Shalsi now agree to the following findings
of fact and conclusions of law:
1. From January 1998 through July 31, 2000, Shalsi served as
the Everett 911 Emergency Services Director. As such, he was a
municipal employee within the meaning of s. I of the conflict of
interest law, G.L. c. 268A.
2. During the relevant time, Beth Frongillo served as a
dispatcher at the Everett 911 Emergency Communications Center.
Shalsi, as the 911 director.. was Frongillo's supervisor. Shalsi
had the ability to and did take action concerning Frongillo's
3. Shalsi and Frongillo had no private business or social
4. In spring 1999, certain employees of the 911 Department
ordered shirts with embroidered work. Shalsi's order came to $130.
In May 1999, Shalsi told Frongillo that he was short on funds and
asked her to loan him $130 to pay his outstanding shirt debt.
Frongillo agreed to loan Shalsi the money and wrote out a $130
check. There was no understanding as to when the loan was to be
repaid. Frongillo testified that Shalsi being her boss was a factor
in her agreeing to loan Shalsi the money.
5. In June 1999, Shalsi, again finding himself short on funds,
asked Frongillo to loan him an additional $200. Frongillo refused
6. In July 1999, after Frongillo made requests for repayment,
Shalsi paid Frongillo the $130 he had borrowed from her.
7. Section 23(b)(2) of G.L. c. 268A prohibits a municipal
employee from knowingly or with reason to know using or attempting
to use his position to obtain for himself or others an unwarranted
privilege of substantial value which is not properly available to
similarly situated individuals.
8. Shalsi requested loans of $130 and $200 from his
subordinate Frongillo. Where Shalsi was Frongillo's superior, had
the ability to and did take action concerning her employment, and
had no friendship or other personal relationship outside the
employment relationship, Shalsi knew or had reason to know that he
was using his official position in his requests for the loans. That
is, Shalsi knew or had reason to know that Frongillo would, in
part, be motivated to agree to loan him the money because of his
official position as her supervisor.
9. The ability to borrow significant monies is a special
benefit and thus is a privilege.
10. Borrowing money from a subordinate with whom one has no
private business or social relationship is
an unwarranted privilege. Inevitably, such a solicitation is
inherently coercive as it is based in part on the exploitable
nature of the superior-subordinate relationship.
11. The ability to borrow significant monies (here $130 and
$200) from a subordinate is of intangible substantial value.
12. The ability of a supervisor to request and/or obtain loans
from a subordinate is not permitted in the workplace. Therefore it
is not properly available to similarly situated individuals.
13. Thus, by using his official position as the 911 director
in securing for himself the unwarranted privilege of a loan of $130
and in attempting to obtain a $200 loan, both from his subordinate,
Shalsi violated G.L. c. 268A, s.23(b)(2).
In view of the foregoing violations of GL. c. 268A, 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 Shalsi:
(1) that Shalsi pay to the Commission the sum of $500 as a
civil penalty for the violation of G.L. c. 268A, s.23(b)(2);
(2) that Shalsi 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 proceeding to which the Commission is or may be a