Docket No. 347
In the Matter of Mary L. Padula
October 30, 1987
This Disposition Agreement (Agreement) is entered into between
the State Ethics Commission (Commission) and Mary L. Padula
(Senator Padula) 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 June 8,1987, 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,
by Senator Padula. The Commission has concluded that preliminary
inquiry and, on September 16,1987, found reasonable cause to
believe that Senator Padula violated G.L. c. 268A, s.6.
The parties now agree to the following findings of fact and
conclusions of law:
1. Senator Padula has been a state senator since January, 1983.
As such, she is a state employee as defined in s.1(q) of G.L. c.
2. Senator Padula has, at all material times herein, had a
support staff of three or four legislative aides and clerical
3. In the Senate, the Committee on Rules makes the appointments
of all staff assistants to individual senators. The Senate
President is Chairman of the Committee on Rules. As a matter of
practice, a senator's request to fill a staffing position with a
certain individual is directed to the Senate President's attention.
Such requests are typically granted.
4. In the late spring of 1984 there was a vacancy in one of
Senator Padula's legislative aide positions. A member of Senator
Padula's staff suggested the Senator's daughter, Gayle Padula, for
the vacancy. Senator Padula accepted the suggestion.
5. Senator Padula spoke to Senate President William M. Bulger
indicating she would like Gayle Paula hired to fill the above
vacancy. Senate President Bulger directed Senator Padula to put her
request in writing.
6. Senator Padula subsequently caused a letter to be sent to
Senate President Bulger indicating that she had approved the hiring
of her daughter, Gayle Padula, to serve as her legislative aide
subject to Senate President Bulger's approval. She also asked that
Gayle Padula be paid at the same salary level as her predecessor,
such appointment to be effective July 1,1984.
7. By letter dated June 28,1984, Senate President Bulger
notified the Comptroller that Gayle Padula was being hired as a
legislative aide at a salary of $19,500 commencing on July 1,1984.
8. By letter dated January 15,1987, Gayle Padula resigned her
legislative aide position, effective January 14,1987.
9. Section 6 of G.L. c. 268A provides in relevant part that,
except as otherwise permitted by s.6, a state employee is
prohibited from participating, as such an employee, in a particular
matter in which, to his knowledge, a member of his immediate family
has a financial interest.
10. The appointment of Gayle Padula as a legislative aide was
a "particular matter." Senator Padula "participated" in that matter
by approving her daughter to fill the legislative aide position and
then requesting that the Senate President approve the hiring.
Because the position was a paid position, Gayle Padula had, at the
time of the appointment, a "financial interest," in the
appointment. Senator Padula was aware at the time she participated
that her daughter would receive compensation for her services as
a legislative aide.
11. By approving her daughter to be her legislative aide and
requesting the Senate President to approve that selection, all as
described above, Senator Padula participated as a Senator in a
particular matter in which her daughter had a financial interest,
thereby violating G.L. c. 268A, s.6.
12. The Commission has found no evidence to suggest that Senator
Padula was aware that her actions violated G.L. c. 268A. In
addition, the Commission acknowledges Senator Padula's position
that she was not technically the hiring authority for her
In view of the foregoing violation 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 and conditions
agreed to by Senator Padula:
1. that she pay to the Commission the sum of seven hundred
fifty dollars ($750) as a civil penalty for violating G.L. c.
268A, s.6 by participating in the hiring of her daughter as a
legislative aide; and
2. that she waive all rights to contest the findings of fact,
conclusions of law and terms and conditions contained in this
Agreement in any related administrative or judicial proceeding
to which the Commission is or may be a party.
 Section 6 further provides that any state employee whose duties
would otherwise require him to participate in such a particular
matter shall advise the official responsible for appointment to his
position and the state ethics commission of the nature and
circumstances of the particular matter and make full disclosure of
such financial interest, and the appointing official shall
(1) assign the particular matter to another employee; or (2)
assume responsibility for the particular matter or (3) make a
written determination that the interest is not so substantial
as to be deemed likely to affect the integrity of the services
which the commonwealth may expect from the employee. in which
case it shall not be a violation for the employee to
participate in the particular matter. Copies of such written
determination shall be forwarded to the employee and filed with
the state ethics commission by the person who made the
determination. Such copy shall be retained by the commission
for a period of six years.
Senator Padula could not take advantage of this s.6 exception
inasmuch as she is an elected official with no appointing
 Ignorance of the law is no defense to a violation of G.L.
c.268A. In the Matter of Joseph Doyle, 1980 SEC 11, 13. See also,
Scola v. Scola, 318 Mass. 1,7 (1945).
 One does not need to be the sole or ultimate hiring authority
to be prohibited from participating in the hiring decision. Any
participation which is personal and substantial is prohibited. On
these facts, Senator Padula's approval of her daughter's hiring and
request to the Senate President clearly meet that test. That is
particularly true where such requests are typically granted.