Docket No. 545

In the Matter of Marilyn Mondeau

Date: March 11, 1996

Disposition Agreement


The State Ethics Commission ("Commission") and Marilyn Mondeau
("Mondeau") enter into this Disposition Agreement ("Agreement")
pursuant to s.5 of the Commission's Enforcement Procedures. This
Agreement constitutes a consented to final order enforceable in the
Superior Court, pursuant to G.L. c. 268B, s.4(j).

On November 15, 1995, the Commission initiated, pursuant to
G.L. c. 268B, s.4(j), a preliminary inquiry into possible
violations of the conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A, by
Mondeau. The Commission has concluded its inquiry and, on February
14, 1996, found reasonable cause to believe that Mondeau violated
G.L. c. 268A, s.19.

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

1. Mondeau has been an appointed member of the East
Bridgewater Wage & Personnel Board (the "Board") since July 1994.
As such, Mondeau is a municipal employee as that term is defined in
G.L. c. 268A, s.1.

2. The Board has jurisdiction over wage and personnel issues
affecting non-union town employees.[1] (Policies affecting
unionized positions are determined by the Board of Selectmen.[2])

3. Jeanne Bennett ("Bennett") is Mondeau's daughter.
Bennett has been the Police Department administrative specialist
since 1990.

4. During a Board meeting on March 15, 1995, Mondeau
seconded a motion to maintain an existing wage pay grid for non-
union administrative positions.[3] The motion carried unanimously.
The Board also voted to increase each step in the grid by 3% to
reflect a cost of living adjustment. Mondeau participated in the
discussion and voting of these matters.

5. The 3% increase would allow anyone below step 6, the
highest step on the grid, to receive a step increase and the 3%
increase until they reached step 6. Other than the director of
Elder Affairs, Bennett was the only employee who had not yet
reached step 6.

6. As of March 15, 1995, Bennett was at step 4 in her
position. Under the amended wage grid, which first had to be
approved by Town Meeting, Bennett's pay would increase between 6%
and 7% (from $25,348 to $27,277).

7. When she discussed and voted in favor of maintaining the
grid and approving a 3% across-the-board increase, Mondeau was
aware that her daughter was one of the employees not yet at the
highest step.

8. The grid was approved by town meeting vote in June 1995.

9. General Law c. 268A, s.19, in pertinent part, prohibits
a municipal employee from participating as such in a particular
matter[4] in which to her knowledge a member of her immediate
family[5] has a financial interest.

10. The decisions to maintain the wage grid and to approve an
across-the-board 3% increase for non-union administrative employees
were particular matters.

11. Mondeau participated[6] in those particular matters by
discussing both issues, seconding the motion regarding the grid,
and voting in favor of maintaining the grid and approving the 3%
increase.

12. Mondeau's daughter had a financial interest in those
decisions by virtue of the fact that as the Police Department
administrative assistant not yet at the top step on the wage grid,
she had an interest in the grid being maintained, as well as an
obvious interest in any across-the-board increase.

13. Mondeau was aware of her daughter's financial interest in
these matters.

14. Therefore, by acting as described above, Mondeau
participated as a Wage & Personnel Board member in a particular
matter in which to her knowledge a family member had a financial
interest, thereby violating s.19.[7]

15. Mondeau cooperated with the Commission's investigation.

In view of the foregoing violation of G.L. c. 268A by Mondeau,
the Commission has determined that the public interest would be
served by the disposition of this matter without further
enforcement proceedings, on

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the basis of the following terms and conditions agreed to by
Mondeau:

(1) that Mondeau pay to the Commission the sum of five
hundred dollars ($500) as a civil penalty for violating G.L.
c. 268A, s.19;

(2) that Mondeau waive all rights to contest the findings of
fact, conclusions of law and terms and conditions contained in
this Agreement in this or any other related administrative or
judicial proceedings to which the Commission is or may be a
party.

-------------------------

[1] Planning Board clerk, Police Department administrative
specialist, Water Department administrative assistant, Elder
Affairs director, and selectmen administrative assistant (as of
October 1, 1995).

[2] The three members of the Board of Selectmen also serve as
members of the Wage & Personnel Board.

[3] This grid consists of six grade steps.

[4] "Particular matter," any judicial or other proceeding,
application, submission, request for a ruling or other
determination, contract, claim, controversy, charge, accusation,
arrest, decision, determination, finding, but excluding enactment
of general legislation by the general court and petitions of
cities, towns, counties and districts for special laws related to
their governmental organizations, powers, duties, finances and
property. G.L. c. 268A, s.1(k).

[5] "Immediate family," the employee and his spouse, and their
parents, children, brothers and sisters. G.L. c. 268A, s.1(e).

[6] "Participate," participate in agency action or in a
particular matter personally and substantially as a state, county
or municipal employee, through approval, disapproval, decision,
recommendation, the rendering of advice, investigation or
otherwise. G.L. c. 268A, s.1(j).

[7] In her defense, Mondeau observes that she believed she
could participate because these matters involved several people,
and not just her daughter. Mondeau was mistaken in her
understanding. The Commission has made clear that a municipal
employee may not participate in a raise affecting an immediate
family member even if it also involves many other municipal
employees. In re Goodreault, 1987 SEC 280 (disposition agreement
in which a Haverhill city councillor paid a $500 fine for violating
s.19 by participating as a city councillor in approving a two-page
schedule of proposed salary increases for city employees, including
her brother as mayor).

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End of Decision