Docket No. 449
In the Matter of Guy Tardanico
August 27, 1992
This Disposition Agreement (Agreement) is entered into
between the State Ethics Commission (Commission) and Dr. Guy
Tardanico (Dr. Tardanico) pursuant to Section S 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 March 12, 1992, the Commission initiated, pursuant to
G.L. c. 268B, s.4(a), a preliminary inquiry into possible
violations of conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A, by Dr.
Tardanico. The Commission has concluded its inquiry and, on June
16, 1992, found reasonable cause to believe that Dr. Tardanico
violated G.L. c. 268A.
The Commission and Dr. Tardanico now agree to the following
findings of facts and conclusions of law:
1. Dr. Tardanico was, during the time here relevant, the
Stoughton School Committee (School Committee) chairman. As such,
Dr. Tardanico was a municipal employee as that term is defined in
G.L. c. 268A, s.1.
2. As an elected member of the School Committee, Dr.
Tardanico had the responsibility for, among other matters,
establishing the policies of the Stoughton School Department
(School Department), reviewing and approving its annual budget,
and negotiating and approving contracts with School Department
3. The School Department employees are represented by six
different bargaining units, each unit representing a certain type
of employee. Unit A represents the school teachers.
4. The School Committee designates a subcommittee consisting
of certain members of the School Committee to negotiate with each
5. In or about late 1989 the School Committee designated
three of its members to serve on a subcommittee to negotiate a
new contract with Unit A. (The prior three-year contract was to
end in the spring of 1990.) Dr. Tardanico was not a member of
this subcommittee. The Stoughton Teachers Association (STA)
represented the teachers regarding the Unit A negotiations.
6. At all relevant times, Dr. Tardanico's spouse was a
Stoughton teacher and member of the Unit A bargaining unit.
7. Between the fall of 1989 and April 4, 1990, the
subcommittee met on numerous occasions with Unit A
representatives to negotiate the new contract. On April 4, 1990,
the subcommittee and STA reached a tentative agreement.
Basically, the agreement provided for a three year extension of
the existing contract with two percent across-the-board salary
increases in each of the first two years and a six percent
increase in the third year.
8. By a memorandum of understanding dated June 4, 1990, the
School Committee approved the actions of the subcommittee. Dr.
Tardanico signed the memorandum as School Committee chairman.
9. At or about the same time, the Stoughton Town Meeting
declined to fund the new contract.
10. At the October 2, 1990 School Committee meeting, Dr.
Tardanico voted with the other School Committee members to
petition the Board of Selectmen to call for a special town
meeting for the purpose of funding the Unit A contract. Dr.
Tardanico stated at that meeting that his colleagues who had
negotiated with the Unit A negotiating team had done so in good
faith and assured those present that, one way or another, what
had been negotiated would happen, that the School Committee was
obligated to meet the Unit A negotiated contract.
11. At the January 28, 1991 special town meeting, Dr.
Tardanico moved as School Committee chairman to transfer $350,406
from free cash to implement the collective bargaining agreement
between the School Committee and Unit A. The motion was defeated.
12. At the February 5, 1991 School Committee special
meeting, Dr. Tardanico, as chairman, encouraged the School
Committee members to join with the STA in filing for arbitration.
13. At the March 5, 1991 School Committee meeting, Dr.
Tardanico informed the other School Committee members that the
STA was concerned about the School Committee's failure to sit
down and negotiate regarding the Unit A contract. Dr. Tardanico
encouraged the School Committee to resume negotiations before a
March 21, 1991 arbitration hearing took place. He asked that
someone make a motion to this effect. The School Committee then
voted that "legal counsel be contacted and advised of the desire
of the School Committee to sit down with the [STA] negotiating
team to discuss and, hopefully, resolve problems with regard to
teachers' contracts prior to the matter going to arbitration on
March 21, 1991." Dr. Tardanico voted in favor of that motion.
14. By a memo dated March 7, 1991, Dr. Tardanico, on behalf
of the School Committee, wrote to the STA stating, "It is the
Committee's desire to meet with the bargaining team of the STA
and discuss the ongoing situation involving the successor
collective bargaining agreement between the School Committee and
15. On or about March 21, 1991, an arbitration hearing was
held. The arbitrator directed the parties to resume negotiating.
The parties did so.
16. At the May 9, 1991 School Committee executive session,
such negotiations continued. The School Committee caucused
several times. During one of those caucuses, Dr. Tardanico
advocated that the teachers be given the increases that had been
previously agreed to for years one and two of the three year
17. On June 17, 1991, the School Committee made a written
proposal to the STA. Dr. Tardanico did not sign that offer. The
STA accepted the offer on June 19, 1991.
Shortly thereafter, the School Committee, with Dr. Tardanico not
participating, ratified the agreement. A written memorandum of
understanding was entered into between the School Committee and
the STA on or about June 25, 1991. Dr. Tardanico refrained from
voting on or signing that memo of understanding, citing a
conflict of interest.
18. Except as otherwise permitted in that section, G.L. c.
268A, s.19 prohibits a municipal employee from participating
as such in a particular matter in which to his knowledge a
member of his immediate family has a financial interest.
19. As set forth above, the new Unit A contract was a
particular matter. In addition, the various decisions and
determinations by the School Committee regarding the new Unit A
contract were particular matters. Moreover, the ongoing
controversy regarding whether and to what extent a new contract
would be funded was also a particular matter.
20. Dr. Tardanico participated in those particular matters
by his involvement in signing the June 4, 1990 memorandum of
understanding, and thereafter advocating that certain action be
taken regarding funding the contract, resuming negotiations,
agreeing to salary increases, voting on those actions. and so
21. At the time he so acted, he was aware that his wife was
a Stoughton teacher and member of the Unit A bargaining unit.
Therefore, he knew that she had a financial interest in these
22. Therefore, by participating, as described above, in the
process by which the Unit A 1990-1993 contract was approved, Dr.
Tardanico participated as a municipal employee in particular
matters in which to his knowledge an immediate family member
had a financial interest, thereby violating s.19.
23. The Commission is unaware of any evidence to suggest
that Dr. Tardanico, in his actions as described above, acted
other than on the merits, or was improperly influenced by virtue
of his wife being a member of the bargaining unit.
In view of the foregoing violations of G.L. c. 268A by Dr.
Tardanico, 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 Dr. Tardanico:
1. that Dr. Tardanico pay to the Commission the sum of one
thousand dollars ($1,000.00) as a civil penalty for violating
G.L. c. 268A, s.19; and
2. that Dr. Tardanico 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.
 In May 1991, a fellow School Committee member raised a
concern about Dr. Tardanico being in conflict of interest by his
advocating that the School Committee negotiate with the STA and
that it grant certain salary increases. Consequently, counsel for
the School Committee contacted the Commission regarding the issue
of whether Dr. Tardanico could remain in the room when contract
issues were being discussed, if he did not take part in those
discussions. A Commission staff attorney advised counsel, who in
turn advised Dr. Tardanico, that the best course was for him to
leave the room when contract issues were discussed.
 "Participate," participate in agency action or m 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).
 "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).
 A spouse is an immediate family member. G.L. c. 268A,