August 2, 2012

DISPOSITION AGREEMENT

 

The State Ethics Commission (“Commission”) and Charles F. Fisher, II (“Fisher”) 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 October 14, 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 Fisher.  On July 20, 2012, the Commission concluded its inquiry and found reasonable cause to believe that Fisher violated G.L. c. 268A, § 17.

The Commission and Fisher now agree to the following findings of fact and conclusions of law:

 

Findings of Fact

 

1. Fisher was, during the time relevant, an elected member of the Somerset Board of Water and Sewer Commissioners.

2. The Somerset Board of Water and Sewer Commissioners, directly and/or through its staff, approves applications for sewer tie-ins and repairs, and issues 
     permits.

3. Fisher is licensed to perform sewer tie-ins, and is president of Charles F. Fisher and Sons, Inc., a family-owned company through which Fisher performs water 
    and sewer tie-in work.

4. In or about July 2001, Fisher contacted the Legal Division of the State Ethics Commission to request advice as to whether he could perform water and sewer 
    work for private individuals in Somerset while serving on the Somerset Board of Water and Sewer Commissioners.

5. A Legal Division attorney advised Fisher in or about July 2001 that      G.L. c. 268A, § 17 prohibited Fisher from performing such private work while serving 
    on the Somerset Board of Water and Sewer Commissioners.

6. Between 2006-2011, Fisher, as a paid employee of Charles F. Fisher and Sons, Inc., performed at least 60 sewer tie-ins and/or repairs for private individuals 
    in relation to permits issued by the Somerset Board of Water and Sewer Commissioners.

7. Fisher was a 50% shareholder in Charles F. Fisher and Sons, Inc.

8. Charles F. Fisher and Sons, Inc., earned an estimated $31,310 in profit from these sewer tie-ins and/or repairs.

9. During this period, Fisher earned an annual salary of approximately $58,000 from Charles F. Fisher and Sons, Inc., which was, in part, in relation to the private 
    sewer work he had performed in Somerset.

 

Conclusions of Law

 

10. Section 17(a) of G.L. c. 268A prohibits a municipal employee from, otherwise than as provided by law for the proper discharge of official duties, directly or 
       indirectly receiving compensation from anyone other than the municipality in relation to a particular matter in which the municipality is a party or has a direct 
       and substantial interest.

11. As a Somerset Board of Water and Sewer Commissioners member, Fisher was a municipal employee as that term is defined in G.L. c. 268A, § 1(g).

12. The decisions to issue sewer permits were particular matters.

13. Because the permits required approvals by the Somerset Board of Water and Sewer Commissioners, directly or through its staff, the Town of Somerset had a 
      direct and substantial interest in these particular matters.

14. In addition, by receiving an annual salary of $58,000 from his company, Charles F. Fisher and Sons, Inc., between 2006-2011, part of which was for the 
      private sewer work he had performed in the Town of Somerset, Fisher received compensation from someone other than the Town of Somerset in relation to 
      particular matters in which the town had a direct and substantial interest.  By doing so, Fisher repeatedly violated § 17(a).

 

In view of the foregoing violations of G.L. c. 268A by Fisher, 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 Fisher:

  1. that Fisher pay to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, with such payment to be delivered to the Commission, the sum of $25,000 as a civil penalty for violating G.L. c. 268A, § 17(a); and
  2. that Fisher 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//____              8/2/12
Karen L. Nober             Date
Executive Director

 

//signed//__________7/11/12                      
Charles F. Fisher, II      Date       

 

I, Charles F. Fisher, II, 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 $25,000 to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, with such payment to be delivered to the State Ethics Commission.

 

                                                          

//signed//                   _ 7/11/12
Charles F. Fisher, II      Date