In The Matter of Kenneth Karlson
January 16, 2008
RULING AND ORDER ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY DECISION

Appearances: Karen Beth Gray, Esq.

Counsel for Petitioner

Commissioners: Daher, Kane, Kempthorne, Veator

Presiding Officer: Commissioner Jeanne M. Kempthorne

On December 7, 2007, Petitioner, the Enforcement Division of the State Ethics Commission, filed a Motion for Summary Decision and Order Cancelling the January 7, 2008 Adjudicatory Hearing. As grounds for the motion for summary decision, Petitioner stated that an Order to Show Cause was filed on October 17, 2007, and that Respondent, Kenneth Karlson, had failed to file an Answer. [1]

Pursuant to 930 CMR 1.01(6)(f)2, [2]the full Commission may enter a summary decision in favor of the Petitioner when the record discloses a Respondent's failure to file required documents, respond to notices or correspondence, or comply with orders of the Commission or a Presiding Officer, or when the record otherwise indicates a substantial failure to cooperate with an adjudicatory proceeding.

On January 2, 2008, pursuant to 930 CMR 1.01(6)(f)2, the Presiding Officer ordered Karlson to file an Answer by January 11, 2008, or otherwise show cause why a summary decision should not be entered against him. The order provided that if Karlson failed to do so by January 11, then the Commission would consider whether summary decision should be entered against him during its meeting on January 16, 2008.

Karlson did not file an Answer by January 11, 2007, and he otherwise has failed to show cause why summary decision should not be entered against him. The record therefore warrants the entry of a summary decision.

The OSC alleges that in the summer of 2004, as a member of the Rockland Conservation Commission, Karlson addressed an application by the Massachusetts Sports Club to construct a skating rink and parking lot. In August, 2004, the Conservation Commission allegedly issued an Order of Conditions that included grading requirements. Petitioner alleges that the developer of the project, who had appeared before the Conservation Commission as an engineer in connection with the matter, hired Karlson in the spring of 2005, and that Karlson performed excavation work to satisfy the grading requirements in the Order of Conditions. The Order to Show Cause alleges that Karlson violated G.L. c. 268A, section 17(a) [3]by receiving $10,000 from the developer as compensation for this work.

Because of Respondent's failure to defend or otherwise respond to the allegations, we conclude that Respondent has violated section 17(a). We regard the alleged conduct as a serious violation because Karlson received compensation in connection with a matter under the jurisdiction of his own board. Accordingly, we find that the maximum statutory fine of two thousand dollars ($2,000) is warranted.

Pursuant to G.L. c. 286B, section 4(j)(3), we hereby ORDER the Respondent, Kenneth Karlson, to pay the Commission a civil penalty of two thousand dollars ($2,000) within thirty days of receipt of this ruling.

DATE AUTHORIZED: January 16, 2008

DATE ISSUED: January 16, 2008

_______________________ _______________________

E. George Daher, Matthew N. Kane

Chair

______________________ _______________________

Jeanne M. Kempthorne David L. Veator



[1] Under 930 C.M.R. section 1.01(5)(b), an Answer was due within twenty-one days of the issuance of the OSC, or by November 7, 2007. Karlson did not file an Answer either by that date or by or after November 13, 2007, when a Pre-Hearing Conference was held in this matter.

[2] 930 C.M.R. 1.01(6)(f) provides as follows:

1. Any Party may with or without supporting affidavits move for summary decision in his favor, as to all or part of a matter. If the motion is granted as to part of the matter and further proceedings are necessary to decide the remaining issues, a hearing shall be so held. Such a motion may be granted only by the Commission.

2. When the record discloses the failure of the Respondent to file documents required by 930 CMR 1.00 et seq., to respond to notices or correspondence, or to comply with orders of the Commission or Presiding Officer, or otherwise indicates a substantial failure to cooperate with the Adjudicatory Proceeding, the Presiding Officer may issue an order requiring that the Respondent show cause why a summary decision should not be entered against him/her. If the Respondent fails to show such cause, a summary decision shall be granted only by the Commission, shall be a Final Decision, and shall be made in writing as provided in 930 C.M.R. 1.01(9)(m).

[3] G.L. c. 268A, section 17(a) provides, "No municipal employee shall, otherwise than as provided by law for the proper discharge of official duties, directly or indirectly receive or request compensation from anyone other than the city or town or municipal agency in relation to any particular matter in which the same city or town is a party or has a direct and substantial interest."