Docket No. 512
In the Matter of John Ruffo
January 4, 1995
The State Ethics Commission ("Commission") and John Ruffo
("Ruffo") 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 July 12, 1994, the Commission initiated, pursuant to G.L.
c. 268B, s.4(a), a preliminary inquiry into possible violations
of the conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A, by Ruffo. The
Commission has concluded its inquiry and, on December 14, 1994,
found reasonable cause to believe that Ruffo violated G.L. c.
The Commission and Ruffo now agree to the following findings
of fact and conclusions of law:
1. At all relevant times, Ruffo was employed as a senior
plumbing inspector for the City of Worcester. As such, Ruffo
was a municipal employee as that term is defined in G.L. c. 268A,
2. Ruffo's official duties as a Worcester plumbing
inspector included the issuing of plumbing and gas permits for
construction being done in the city and ensuring all work
performed pursuant to such permits complied with local building
3. Ruffo's son, Mark Ruffo, is a local plumbing contractor
doing business through K&N Plumbing & Supply.
4. Ruffo, in his capacity as a Worcester plumbing
inspector, issued the following plumbing permits and inspected
the work done in connection with nine of those permits.
Address Permit No. Date of Permit
119 Lovell Street 0171 1/17/90
30 Dolly Drive 0172 1/17/90
325 Pleasant Street 0170 1/17/90
64 Sandra Drive 0166 1/17/90
31 Dolly Drive 0548 3/21/90
33 Dolly Drive 0818 5/3/90
12 Edlin Street 0819 5/3/90
18 Dolly Drive 0900 5/21/90
28 Dolly Drive 1415 8/14/90
17 Dolly Drive 1609 9/14/90
27 Dolly Drive 1954 11/3/90
29 Dolly Drive 1955 11/13/90
64 Gold Star Blvd. 2099 12/7/90
25 Dolly Drive 0062 1/8/91
21 Dolly Drive 0179 1/31/91
23 Dolly Drive 0309 2/25/91
5. Each of the above permits involved work done by Ruffo's
son through K&N Plumbing & Supply.
6. Section 19 of G.L. c. 268A, except as permitted by
paragraph (b), prohibits a municipal employee from
participating as such an employee in a particular matter in which
to his knowledge he or his immediate family has a financial
7. The decisions to issue the plumbing permits described
in paragraph three above and the determinations as to code
compliance (which occurred when the work was inspected) were
8. As set forth in paragraph 3 above, Ruffo
participated as a plumbing inspector in those particular
matters by issuing the permits and inspecting the work.
9. Ruffo's son had a financial interest in each of the
foregoing particular matters.
10. By issuing the plumbing permits to his son and by
inspecting his son's work, as set forth in paragraph 3, Ruffo
participated in his official capacity in particular matters in
which he knew an immediate family member had a financial
interest, thereby violating G.L. c. 268A, s.19.
In view of the foregoing violations of G.L. c. 268A by
Ruffo, 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 Ruffo:
(1) that Ruffo pay to the Commission the sum of two
thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500)
as a civil penalty for violating G.L. c. 268A, s.19 as
stated above; and
(2) that Ruffo 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.
 Ruffo was so employed from January 1, 1987, to May 13,
1992, when he retired.
 Numbers 0166, 0179, 0309, 0548, 0818, 1415, 1954, 1955,
 None of the exemptions applies here.
 "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).
 "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).