Docket No. 356

In the Matter of William E. Turner, Jr.

May 27, 1988

Disposition Agreement



This Disposition Agreement (Agreement) is entered into between
the State Ethics Commission (Commis sion) and William E. Turner,Jr.
(Mr. Turner) pursuant to section 11 of the Commission's Enforcement
Procedures. This Agreement Constitutes a consented to final
Commission order enforceable in the Superior Court pursuant to G.L.
c. 268B, s.4(d).

On September 16, 1987, the Commission initiated a Preliminary
Inquiry into possible violations of the conflict of interest law,
G.L. c. 268A, involving Mr. Turner, Chairman of the West
Bridgewater Zoning Board of Appeals (Board of Appeals). The
Commission concluded its inquiry and on February 3, 1988, found
reasonable cause to believe that Mr. Turner violated G.L. c. 268A,
s.17.

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

Mr. Turner is the Chairman of the Board of Appeals and was a
member of the Board of Appeals at all times relevant to this
proceeding. As a member of the Board of Appeals, Mr. Turner is a
municipal employee as that term is defined in G.L. c. 268A, s.1(g).

At all times material herein, Mr. Turner has been a stockholder
and member of the board of directors of the Turner Steel Company,
Inc. (Turner Steel). Mr. Turner has also been a trustee and one-
third beneficial owner of the Turner Industrial Park Realty Trust
(TIPRT). TIPRT has owned the real estate, including the buildings,
which houses Turner Steel, and has leased that property to the
company.

On October 27, 1982, Mr. Turner presented a request to the Board
of Appeals on behalf of TIPRT for a special permit to construct a
new building. Mr. Turner did not act as a Board of Appeals member
at the meeting. The permit was granted unanimously.

On September 16, 1985, an application was made to further extend
the Turner Steel buildings. The building permit application was
signed by Mr. Turner on behalf of TIPRT and was subsequently
approved.

Prior to their reprinting in 1980, the West Bridgewater Zoning
Bylaws read, concerning land and industrial zones, that 'no
building shall be erected, altered or placed within 50 feet of any
street line, or 'within 40 feet of a sideline, nor within 40 feet
of a rear lot line," (Site plans for the first extension of the
Turner Steel facility, dated July 26, 1982, indicate the 40-foot
setback line.) When the bylaws were reprinted for the town in 1980,
the sideline setback requirement was omitted. The sideline setback
requirement was reinstated in 1986, after its omission was brought
to town officials' attention. The 1985 extension of the Turner
Steel buildings brought the structures to within 40 feet of the
sideline.

A complaint was submitted to the Board of Selectmen in January,
1986, asserting that Turner Steel had violated the sideline setback
requirement. The chairman of the Board of Selectmen asked TIPRT to
apply to the Board of Appeals for a variance. Mr. Turner, as a
trustee on behalf of TIPRT, filed a request for a variance on
January 24, 1986, pleading hardship and unintentional error.
Shortly thereafter, and prior to any advertisement or notice to
abutters, Mr. Turner withdrew his variance appeal.

On March 24, 1986, the West Bridgewater Building Inspector
issued an occupancy permit for the expanded Turner Steel building.

On June 90, 1986, an appeal of the Turner Steel building permit
was filed with the Board of Appeals.

The Board of Appeals held a public hearing on this

Page 352

appeal on August 18, 1986. Mr. Turner appeared at this hearing as
a trustee on behalf of TIPRT in order to answer questions addressed
to him by the Board of Appeals. Mr. Turner was not there, nor did
he act, as a member of the Board of Appeals.

On September 11, 1986, the Board of Appeals issued its decision
on this appeal. The Board of Appeals determined that TIPRT must
request a variance within 60 days of the decision. Mr. Turner, as
a trustee on behalf of TIPRT, filed such a request on October
27, 1986.

On November 25, 1986, the Board of Appeals held a public hearing
to consider TIPRT's request for a variance. Mr. Turner appeared at
the hearing as a trustee on behalf of TIPRT. Mr. Turner requested
that the Board of Appeals approve the variance and allow the
building to stand due to financial hardship if the building had to
be torn down.

The Board of Appeals issued its decision on January 7, 1987,
granting TIPRT a variance on the 40-foot sideline restriction. The
Board of Appeals cited its reasons for the decision as hardship and
lack of knowledge of the sideline restriction by both the applicant
for the variance and the building inspector.

General laws c. 268A, s.17 prohibits a municipal employee,
otherwise than as provided by law for the proper discharge of his
official duties, from acting as agent or attorney for anyone in
connection with any particular matter in which the same town is a
party or has a direct and substantial interesL

By appearing before the Board as a trustee on behakf of TIPRT
on October 27, 1982, August 18, 1986 and November 25, 1986, Mr.
Turner acted, otherwise than in the proper discharge of his duties,
as agent for TIPRT in connection with particular matters in which
the town had a direct and substantial interest, thereby violating
G.L. c. 268A, s.17(c) on each of those occasions.

By filing the September 16, 1985 building permit application and
the January 24, 1986 variance application on behalf of TIPRT, Mr.
Turner acted, otherwise than in the proper discharge of his duties,
as agent for TIPRT in connection with matters in which the town had
a direct and substantial interest, thereby violating s.17(c) on
each of those occasions.

The Commission has found no evidence suggesting that Mr. Turner
was aware that his actions violated the conflict of interest law.

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 terms
and conditions agreed to by Mr. Turner:

1. that he pay to the Commission the amount of one thousand
dollars ($1,000.00) as a civil penalty for his course of conduct
in violation of s.17(c); and

2. that he waive all rights to contest the findings of fact,
conclusions of law and terms and conditions proposed under this
agreement in this or any related administrative or judicial
proceeding to which the Commission is or may be a party.