IN THE MATTER OF DAVID E. MAY
Date: October 21, 1983
This Agreement is entered into between the State Ethics
Commission ("Commission") and David E. May ("Mr. May") pursuant to
Section 11 of the Commission's Enforcement Procedures. This
agreement constitutes an assented to final Commission order
enforceable in Superior Court pursuant to General Laws Chapter
268B, section 4(d).
On February 4,1983, the Commission initiated a preliminary
inquiry pursuant to G.L. c. 268B, s.4(a), into possible violations
of the conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A, involving Mr. May,
former Mansfield selectman. The Commission concluded that
preliminary inquiry and, on May 24, 1983, found reasonable cause
to believe that Mr. May had violated chapter 268A. Adjudicatory
proceedings were initiated with the issuance of an Order to Show
Cause on June 28,1983.
The parties now agree to the following findings of fact and
conclusions of law:
1. Mr. May was a member of the Mansfield Board of Selectmen
from February, 1980 through December, 1982; he was chairman from
March, 1981 through February, 1982. As such, he was a "municipal
employee" as defined in G.L. c. 268A, s.1(g).
2. The Mansfield selectmen serve as commissioners of the
town's electric department and appoint Mansfield's town manager,
the full-time administrator responsible for the operations of all
3. Mr. May's wife has been employed by the town since 1977
and, during this time, was a member of the Mansfield Clerks'
Association, a collective bargaining unit representing oifice and
clerical employees of various town departments.
4. On June 10,1981, a contract between the town and the
Mansfield Clerks' Association relating to, among other things,
hours of employment, salary and other employee benefits came before
the selectmen for their approval. Mr. May seconded the motion to
approve and then voted to approve this contract. It was approved
by the selectmen and, the next day, executed by the town manager
and members of the Clerks' Association, including Mr. May's wife.
5. Section 19 of G.L. c. 268A prohibits a municipal employee
from participating as such in a particular matter in which to his
knowledge, he or a member of his immediate family has a financial
6. By seconding the motion and voting to approve a contract
between the town and the Clerks' Association of which his wife was
a member, Mr. May violated s.19.
7. During the spring of 1982, the Mansfield Board of Selectmen
conducted a search for a new town counsel. Resumes were received
by the end of March, 1982, and the selectmen interviewed the
various candidates in early May. One of the applicants for the
position was John Dwyer, an attorney representing Mr. May's son,
a minor, in criminal proceedings. (The proceedings were concluded
on April 21, 1982, with a not guilty finding.)
8. On May 12,1982, the selectmen voted, 3 to 2, to appoint
Attorney Dwyer as town counsel. Mr. May participated in the
interviewing process and voted to appoint Attorney Dwyer.
9. At the time the selectmen were engaged in this process of
finding and appointing a new town counsel, Attorney Dwyer was
representing Mr. May's son and was owed approximately $625 for his
services. While Mr. May disclosed that Attorney Dwyer had
represented his son, Mr. May did not disclose that his son still
owed Attorney Dwyer money.
10. Sometime after his son was arrested, during the first half
of 1982, Mr. May asked the director of Mansfield's electric light
department whether Paradise Cleaners, his son's former employer
and the complainant in the criminal matter, owed anything on its
electric bills. When told that Paradise Cleaner's payments were a
little in arrears, Mr. May asked the director if there was anything
he could do about that arrearage.
11. In March, 1982, Mr. May's son received a speeding ticket
issued by the Mansfield police. The ticket indicated that the
posted speed for Franklin Street, where the violation occurred, was
40 miles per hour.
12. Mr. May contacted the town manager and told him that a
constituent had received a speeding citation from the Mansfield
police on Franklin Street and that the ticket was invalid because,
in fact, the speed limit sign where the citation had been issued
was missing. Mr. May asked the town manager for a letter verifying
that fact to be used in the constituent's defense. Mr. May made
this request twice and was twice refused.
13. At the April 7,1983 meeting of the board of selectmen, Mr.
May told the selectmen that a Franklin Street resident had
requested a listing of speed limit signs on the street because of
a citation received on the part of Franklin Street where there was
no speed limit sign. Mr. May moved to have the town manager prepare
a letter stating where the speed limit signs were placed on
Franklin Street and voted in support of that motion. The motion
14. The town manager wrote a memorandum on the location of
speed limit signs on Franklin Street, as the selectmen had
directed, and Mr. May gave his son a copy of the memorandum to be
used in his defense. The memorandum was in fact not used.
15. Section 23 (para. 2) (3) of G.L c. 268A forbids a public
official from giving reasonable basis for the impression that any
person can improperly influence or unduly enjoy his favor in the
performance of his official duties, or that he is unduly affected
by the kinship, rank, position or influence of any party or person.
16. By this course of conduct - (a) as a selectmen, voting to
appoint an attorney as town counsel without disclosing that the
attorney was still owed money by his son; (b) as a light department
commissioner, suggesting that the electric light department
director do something about arrearages of a business which had
brought a criminal complaint against Mr. May's son; and (c) as a
selectmen, twice requesting that the town manager create a
memorandum to be used in Mr. May's son's defense of a speeding
charge - Mr. May gave reasonable basis for the impression that he,
in the performance of these official duties as selectman and
electric light department commissioner, was unduly affected by his
son's interests, thereby violating s.23 (para. 2) (3) of Chapter
17. Pursuant to petitioner's motion to amend, the Commission
had dismissed paragraphs 9-12 of the Order to Show Cause relating
to the request made by Mr. May of the Mansfield town manager in
connection with the police's handling of the prosecution of his
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 representations and terms agreed to by Mr. May:
1. That he pay to the Commission the sum of $250.00 as a civil
penalty for violating G.L. c. 268A, s.19;
2. That he pay to the Commission the sum of $250.00 as a civil
penalty for violating G.L. c. 268A, s.23 (para. 2) (2); and
3. That he waive all rights to contest the findings of fact,
conclusions of law and terms and conditions contained in this
agreement or any related administrative or judicial proceeding to
which the Commission is a party.
End Of Decision