This Disposition Agreement is entered into between the State
Ethics Commission and Stephen Shiraka 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 Shiraka. The
Commission has concluded its inquiry and, on October 7, 2003, found
reasonable cause to believe that Shiraka violated G.L. c. 268A, s.
The Commission and Shiraka now agree to the following findings
of fact and conclusions of law:
Findings of Fact
1. Since June 2000, Shiraka has served as the Manager of Facilities
and Grounds for the Old Rochester Regional School District (the
"School District"). The School District serves three towns:
Marion, Mattapoisett and Rochester. Shiraka reports to the School
District's Associate Superintendent for Finance and Planning.
2. While Shiraka is employed by the School District, which operates
the regional middle school and high school, his responsibilities
extend to the Marion, Mattapoisett and Rochester elementary
schools. Shiraka's job responsibilities include acting as
supervisor on all new construction projects as representative of
the School District and the town School Committees.
3. In December 2000, Mattapoisett, through its school building
committee, retained Turner Construction Company ("Turner") to serve
as project manager on the modernization and expansion of its two
elementary schools. Shiraka attended - together with Turner
representatives, the architect, and school building committee
members - weekly progress meetings, and performed site visits with
this group as well. He also advised School District and
Mattapoisett officials on Turner's management of the modernization
4. Between October 2001 and January 2002, Shiraka, acting in his
private capacity, logged 44.25 hours reviewing documents for Turner
in connection with two Turner projects in other school districts.
He was paid $25 per hour, and so was paid more than $1,100 for his
document review. At the same time he was reviewing these documents
for Turner, Shiraka was advising School District and Mattapoisett
officials on Turner's management of the modernization and
5. According to Shiraka, prior to performing the document reviews
for Turner, he had orally apprised the School District's
superintendent of his work, and she approved the arrangement. He
did not file a written disclosure. The superintendent does not
recall discussing the matter with Shiraka, but stated that she
would not have had a problem with it if she had known.
6. In summer 2002, the Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School District was
seeking a project manager to oversee the renovation of its high
school. Turner bid for and won the Dennis-Yarmouth contract, and
retained Shiraka as a part-time Turner consultant on the project on
retainer for $3,000 per month. Shiraka continued to work full-time
for the Old Rochester Regional School District.
7. Shiraka began his work as a consultant for Turner in November
2002, earning $3,000 per month. Turner paid Shiraka $18,000 for
his first six months of work.
8. Shiraka's immediate School District supervisor, the School
District superintendent, and the Mattapoisett building committee
chair all informally approved of Shiraka's work for Turner.
Shiraka did not file a written disclosure, and the approvals were
not in writing.
9. In spring 2003, when the Commission began to review this matter,
Shiraka and Turner suspended the consulting arrangement.
Conclusions of Law
10. G.L. c. 268A, s. 23(b)(3) prohibits a municipal employee from,
knowingly or with reason to know, acting in a manner that would
cause a reasonable person having knowledge of the relevant
circumstances, to conclude that any person can improperly influence
or unduly enjoy the employee's favor in the performance of the
employee's official duties, or that the employee is likely to act
or fail to act as the result of kinship, rank, position or undue
influence of any party or person. A municipal employee can avoid
a violation of s.23(b)(3) by making an advance written disclosure
to his appointing authority of the facts that would lead a
reasonable person to conclude that he could be unduly influenced.
11. By advising Mattapoisett on its supervision of Turner while
being paid privately by Turner to review documents and later while
serving as a paid consultant for Turner on another district's
construction project, Shiraka acted in a manner that would cause a
reasonable person to believe that Turner could unduly enjoy his
favor in the performance of his official duties. Shiraka filed no
12. The law's provision for advance written disclosure to dispel
the appearance of a conflict of interest is not a technical
requirement. Such a written disclosure is a public record; it
avoids later disputes over whether an arrangement was disclosed,
and more important subjects the arrangement to public review. That
public review usually leads to a heightened review of the
arrangement by those officials charged with overseeing the public
13. Despite Shiraka's good faith effort to secure his superiors'
approval of his consulting work, because of the failure to file a
written disclosure neither Shiraka's arrangement with Turner nor
his appointing authority's awareness of that arrangement was open
to public scrutiny. Given the nature of Shiraka's relationship
with Turner, it would be very difficult for a member of the public
to discover the relationship, absent a written disclosure.
In view of the foregoing violation of G.L. c. 268A by Shiraka,
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 Shiraka:
(1) that Shiraka pay to the Commission the sum of $1,000.00 as
a civil penalty for violating G.L. c. 268A, s. 23(b)(3); and
(2) 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: January 5, 2004
/s/Stephen V. Shiraka
Dated: December 15, 2003
I, Stephen V. Shiraka, 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 $1,000.00 to the State Ethics
Stephen V. Shiraka
Dated: December 15, 2003
 While a public employee's supervisors should appreciate
the need for a written disclosure in cases such as this, ultimately
it is the employee's responsibility to comply with the law.