IN THE MATTER OF ELLIS JOHN HATEM
Date: November 22, 1982
This disposition agreement ("agreement") is entered into
between the State Ethics Commission ("Commission") and Ellis John
Hatem ("Mr. Hatem") pursuant to Section 11 of the Commission's
Procedures Covering the Initiation and Conduct of Preliminary
Inquiries and Investigations. The parties agree that this agreement
constitutes a consented to final order of the Commission
enforceable in the Superior Court, pursuant to G.L. c. 268B, s.4(d).
On May 18, 1982, the Commission initiated a preliminary
inquiry, pursuant to G.L. c. 268B, s.4(a), into possible violations
of the Conflict-of-Interest Law, G.L. c. 268A, involving Mr. Hatem,
Director of Support Services at the Walter E. Fernald School
("school"), a Department of Mental Health facility.
The Commission has concluded that preliminary inquiry and, on
September 7, 1982, found reasonable cause to believe that Mr. Hatem
has violated G.L. c. 268A, s.3(b). The parties now agree to the
following findings of fact and conclusions of law:
1. At all times material herein, Mr. Hatem was Director of
Support Services for the school and, as such, was a state employee
as defined in G.L. c. 268A, s.1(q).
2. As Director of Support Services, Mr. Hatem had
administrative control over nine different departments, including
the laundry, housekeeping and maintenance.
3. From 1979 through 1981, Charles Young ("Mr. Young") was a
representative of various chemical supply companies and sold
housekeeping chemicals to the school. Mr. Young also was used by
school officials to procure other items, e.g., trash cans, paper
towels, as needed.
4. During that period, Mr. Hatem made purchases for or
approved purchases by the departments under his supervision from
Mr. Young. All such purchases were subject to further approval by
the school steward's office.
5. In February of 1980, Mr. Hatem, his wife and son traveled
to Lake Placid, New York to attend the Winter Olympics. The costs
of their transportation and tickets to the Olympics (valued at $110
per person) were paid for by Mr. Young.
6. General Laws, Chapter 268A, s.3(b) provides, in pertinent
part, that a state employee, other than as provided by law for the
proper discharge of official duty, shall not directly or indirectly
accept, receive or agree to receive anything of substantial value
for himself for or because of any official act or acts within his
official responsibility performed or to be performed by him.
7. By receiving from Mr. Young items of substantial value,
i.e. transportation and tickets to the Olympics for himself and
family, Mr. Hatem violated s.3(b). These items were given to Mr.
Hatem in view of his official duties in making or approving
purchases of products from Mr. Young.
As the Commission stated in In the Matter of George A.
Michael, Commission Adjudicatory Docket No. 137, Decision and
Order, pg. 31 (September 28,1981):
A public employee need not be impeded to wrongdoing as
a result of receiving a gift or gratuity of substantial value,
in order for a violation of Section 3 to occur. Rather, the
gift may simple by a token of gratitude for a well-done job
or an attempt to foster good-will. All that is required to
bring Section 3 into play is a nexus between the motivation
for the gift and the employee's public duties. If this
connection exists, the gift is prohibited. To allow otherwise
would subject public employees to a host of temptations which
would undermine the impartial performance of their duties, and
permit multiple remuneration for doing what employees are
already obliged to do a good job. Sound public policy
necessitates a flat prohibition since the alternative would
present unworkable burdens of proof. It would be nearly
impossible to prove the loss of an employee's objectivity or
to assign a motivation to his exercise of discretion. If
public credibility in government institutions is to be
fostered, constraints which are conducive to reasoned,
impartial performance of public functions are necessary, and
it is in this context that Section 3 operates.
WHEREFORE, 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
representations agreed to by Mr. Hatem:
1. That in light of the conduct described above, he pay the
Commission the sum of one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) forthwith
as a civil penalty for violating G.L. c. 268A, s.3(b); and
2. That he pay the Commission three hundred and thirty dollars
($330.00) as forfeiture of the economic advantage gained by himself
and his family as a result of this violation of G.L. c. 268A,
3. That he waive all rights to contest the findings of fact,
conclusions of law and conditions contained in this agreement in
this or any related administrative or judicial proceedings.
End Of Decision