Docket No. 338
In the Matter of Walter Brewer
August 28, 1987
This Disposition Agreement (Agreement) is entered into between
the State Ethics Commission (Commission) and Walter Brewer (Mr.
Brewer) 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(j).
On September 15,1986, the Commission initiated a preliminary
inquiry into possible violations of the conflict of interest law,
G.L. c. 268A, involving Mr. Brewer, a supply officer for the
Massachusetts Civil Defense Agency (CDA). The Commission concluded
its inquiry and, on March 16,1987, found reasonable cause to
believe that Mr. Brewer violated G.L. c. 268A, s.6.
The parties now agree to the following findings of fact and
conclusions of law:
1. Mr. Brewer is a supply officer for the CDA. As such, he is
a "state employee," as that term is defined in G.L. c. 268A,
2. As supply officer for the CDA, Mr. Brewer is responsible for
the maintenance and repair of 31 CDA vehicles. Out of 31 CDA
vehicles for which Mr. Brewer is responsible, 15 are owned by the
CDA, and 16 are owned by Motor Vehicle Management (MVM) and leased
3. The procedure that Mr. Brewer follows for choosing a vendor
to repair a vehicle varies depending upon whether the vehicle is
a CDA-owned car or an MVM (but leased to CDA) car.
4. CDA vehicles are generally on the road 24 hours a day. If,
while on the road, a CDA driver has a problem with his vehicle, he
radios Mr. Brewer.
5. Mr. Brewer does not need anyone's approval to choose the
vendor to whom he sends CDA-owned vehicles for repair. When the
CDA-owned car is in the general area of J&J Automotive in Southboro,
MA (J&J), Mr. Brewer assigns it to J&J.
6. If the problem vehicle is owned by MVM (but has been assigned
to CDA), Mr. Brewer telephones MVM for assignment approval.
7. When Mr. Brewer calls MVM seeking vehicle repair approval,
he is asked where he wants to send the vehicle. If the car is
in the general area of J&J, Mr. Brewer recommends assigning it to J&J.
8. In July, 1984 Brewer's son became 50 percent owner of J&J.
9. In November of 1984, J&J as a result of competitive bidding,
became a contract vendor for repairs of state vehicles through the
Motor Vehicle Management Bureau; unrelated to any authority in Mr.
10. J&J Automotive was thereafter utilized by various agencies
such as CDA, MVM, Registry of Motor Vehicles, Water Resources
Authority and Board of Education.
11. On 45 occasions between January 30,1985 and February 27,
1987, Mr. Brewer selected J&J to repair CDA-owned vehicles. The
total of J&J approved payments for the period is $5,125.45.
12. Between March 31, 1985 and November 24, 1986, Mr. Brewer
recommended J&J to do work on 65 MVM vehicles. The total amount
paid J&J by MVM for the period is $3,851.68.
13. The records show that the first CDA payment to J&J for the
repair of a CDA-owned vehicle was made on January 30,1985. The first
recorded payment to J&J for an MVM vehicle occurred on March
14. Section 6 of G.L. c. 268A provides in part that except as
otherwise permitted in s.6 a state employee may not participate as
such in a particular matter in which to his knowledge he or a
member of his immediate family has a financial interest.
15. The decision or recommendation as to where to send a vehicle
for repairs is a particular matter. As set forth in paragraphs 5
through 11 above, Mr. Brewer participated as a CDA supply officer
in such particular matters by sending CDA-owned vehicles to J&J and
by recommending that MVM vehicles be sent to J&J. As a 50 percent
owner of J&J, Mr. Brewer's son had a financial interest in
repairing the CDA and MVM vehicles as identified above. Finally,
Mr. Brewer knew when he so participated that his son had a
financial interest in each such decision or recommendation.
Therefore, by this conduct Mr. Brewer violated s.6.
16. The Commission has no evidence to suggest that Mr. Brewer
was aware that his actions violated G.L. c. 268A when he sent cars
to J&J. In addition, the Commission, in resolving this matter,
takes note of the CDA Director's statements that based on his
dealings with J&J he believes that J&J provided CDA with very good
work at fair prices.
In view of the foregoing violations of G.L. c. 268A, s.6, 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 agreed to by Mr.
1. that he pay to the Commission the amount of two thousand
dollars ($2,000) as a civil penalty for his course of conduct
in violation of s.6;
2. that so long as he is a state employee, he refrain from
participating in any particular matter in which any member of
his immediate family has a financial interest; and
3. 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 civil proceedings in which the Commission is a party.
 Ignorance of the law is no defense to a violation of G.L. c.
268A. In the matter of C. Joseph Doyle. 1980 SEC 11, 13. See also,
Scola v. Scola, 318 Mass. 1, 7, (1945).
 There is no need to prove actual harm to the state or an
undeserved benefit to a private party to establish a conflict of
interest under s.6. Section 6 is intended to prevent any questions
arising as to whether the public interest has been served with the
single minded devotion required of a public employee. See, In the
matter of Mary V. Kurkjian, 1986 SEC 303.