Docket No: 325
In the Matter of Marjorie Goudrealt
January 29, 1987
This Disposition Agreement (Agreement) is entered into between
the State Ethics Commission (Commission) and Marjorie Goudreault
(Ms. Goudreault), 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 Ms. Goudreault, a city councillor in the
city of Haverhill. The Commission concluded its inquiry and, on
December 8,1986, found reasonable cause to believe that Ms.
Goudreault violated G.L. c. 268A, s.19.
The parties now agree to the following findings of
fact and conclusions of law:
1. Ms. Goudreault is an elected member of the Haverhill City
Council, a position for which she receives $8,000 per year. As a
city councillor, Ms. Goudreault is a municipal employee as that
term is defined in G.L. c. 268A, s.1(g).
2. William Ryan is Ms. Goudreault's brother and is the elected
mayor of Haverhill. Mr. Ryan is a member of Ms. Goudreault's
immediate family as that term is defined by G.L. c. 268A, s.1(g).
3. In May, 1985, on a motion by Ms. Goudreault, the Haverhill
City Council requested the city's Director of Finance and Records
to conduct a salary survey for administrative and professional
positions within city government. As a result of the study, Mr.
Klueber submitted a proposed municipal reorganization ordinance on
February 10, 1986.
4. The proposed ordinance included two attachments. Attachment
A related to the reorganization of the structure of Haverhill
municipal government. Attachment B related to proposed salaries for
administrative and professional positions within the city
government, listing each position on a two page schedule. The
mayor's salary was listed as $37,500, to be increased to $47,500
effective July 1,1986. Forty nine other positions were listed,
although there was no bottom line total for the salaries listed on
the schedule. The ordinance was brought before the city council for
a vote on February 25,1986. Ms. Goudreault was present at that
meeting and voted in favor of tabling the ordinance until March 11,
5. On March 11,1986, the city council voted to delete Attachment
A in its entirety, and to pass only Attachment B of the ordinance.
Ms. Goudreault was present and voted in favor of the ordinance as
amended. The vote was six to three.
6. According to G.L. c.44, s.33A, a two-thirds vote of the city
council is needed to pass an ordinance relating to salaries.
7. At the time the ordinance was being considered by the city
council, there was discussion of the document as a whole, but no
discussion of any individual on the schedule. Ms. Goudreault did
not participate in any of the discussions.
8. According to the Haverhill City Charter, the city council has
the power to determine the mayor's salary by ordinance.
9. General Laws chapter 268A, s.19 prohibits a municipal
employee from participating as such in a particular matter in which
he or a member of his immediate family has a financial interest.
10. By voting to approve the proposed administrative salaries
as described above, Ms. Goudreault participated in a particular
matter in which her brother had a financial interest, thereby
Based on the foregoing facts, 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 Ms. Goudreault:
1. that she pay to the Commission the amount of five hundred
dollars ($500) as a civil penalty for her violation of s.19;
2. that, in the future, she refrain from participating in any
matter in which her brother has a financial interest; and.
3. that she 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 proceeding in which the Commission is a party.
 Ms. Goudreault violated s.19 by voting on the salary ordinance.
even though it affected other administrative positions in addition
to her brother's. As the Supreme Judicial Court made clear in
Graham v. McGrail, 370 Mass. 133 (1976), a public official is
barred from more than just those particular matters which affect
only his immediate family member. "A decision to increase the
[family member's] salary seems to a to be a particular matter in
which the [family member] has a financial interest, even though a
number of other employees are given similar increases." Id. at 133.
In giving the statute a workable meaning, the Court went on, to say
that the public official could participate in a vote on a
consolidated budget including the salaries, once the salaries were
approved without the involvement of the disqualified official.
Finally, the Court observed that the best course in such
circumstances is not only to abstain but also to leave the room
during the discussion and vote on the matter.