Docket.: 691
Date: November 12, 2003


This Disposition Agreement is entered into between the State

Ethics Commission and Suzanne Traini pursuant to Section 5 of the

Commission's Enforcement Procedures. This Agreement constitutes a

consented-to final order enforceable in Superior Court, pursuant to

G.L. c. 268B, s. 4(j).

On June 25, 2002, 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 Traini. The

Commission has concluded its inquiry and, on November 26, 2002,

found reasonable cause to believe that Traini violated G.L. c.

268A, s. 19.

The Commission and Traini now agree to the following findings

of fact and conclusions of law:

Findings of Fact

1. Traini is a Southborough Board of Health member.

2. On or about September 18, 2000, Traini signed offers to

purchase property at 26 Lynbrook Road (the "Property") and

surrounding land for a total of $575,000. Her offers were

contingent on zoning, septic and conservation commission approvals,

and were secured with a $500 deposit.

3. At its October 10, 2000 meeting, the Board of Health

approved and signed septic permits for two lots on the Property.

At that meeting, Traini verbally disclosed her financial interest

in these permits and recused herself from the board's actions on

the permits.

4. Sometime prior to January 23, 2001, both the

Massachusetts Water Resources Authority and the Massachusetts

District Commission, at the urging of an abutter, contacted

Southborough's Public Health Director to discuss concerns as to

whether the Property's setback from a nearby waterway was

sufficient. The agencies' position at that time was that the

setback from the waterway should be 400 feet. The Southborough

Board of Health's longstanding position was that the setback need

only be 200 feet. The Property's setback was more than the 200

feet required by the Board of Health, but less than the 400 feet

that the state agencies believed was appropriate.

5. At the January 23, 2001 Board of Health meeting, the

Public Health Director, based on the calls he had received from the

MWRA and the MDC, said that the Board of Health should rescind the

Property's permits and instead hold a public hearing with an eye

toward granting a variance for the Property.

6. At that January 23, 2001 meeting, although advised to

abstain by a fellow board member, Traini recommended that the board

to adhere to its longstanding position that the setback only needed

to be 200 feet. Traini also stated that the board could not under

Title V rescind a septic permit once a construction permit had been


7. The Board of Health took no action on the Property at its

January 23, 2001 meeting. The permits remained in effect.

8. In March 2001, Traini executed a purchase and sale

agreement for the Property at a reduced price of $507,500, secured

with a $25,000 deposit.

9. Traini's purchase of the Property fell through after the

Board of Health at its March 27, 2001 meeting suspended its septic

permits for the Property. (The suspension was unrelated to the

setback issue discussed at the January 23, 2001 meeting.) Traini

forfeited $5,000 of her deposit.

10. Traini cooperated with the Commission's investigation of

this matter.

Conclusions of Law

11. Except as otherwise permitted in that section, s. 19

prohibits a municipal employee from participating as such in a

particular matter in which she has a financial interest. None of

the exemptions apply.

12. As a Board of Health member, Traini is a municipal

employee as that term is defined in G.L. c. 268A, s. 1(g).

13. The Board of Health's decision to maintain its policy of

setback distances from the Sudbury River Aqueduct, and not to

consider rescinding the Property's permits, was a particular


14. Because Traini had outstanding a written offer to

purchase the Property, which was contingent on obtaining all

necessary town permits, she, to her knowledge, had a financial

interest in this particular matter.

15. At the January 23, 2001 meeting of the Board of Health,

by discussing the propriety of the Board changing its policy and

considering rescinding the Property's permits, Traini participated

in her capacity as a Board of Health member, thereby violating s.



In view of the foregoing violation of G.L. c. 268A by Traini,

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 Traini:

(1) that Traini pay to the Commission the sum of $1,500.00 as

a civil penalty for violating G.L. c. 268A, s. 19; 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 this or any other related administrative or

judicial proceedings to which the Commission is or may be

a party.



/s/Peter Sturges, Executive Director

Dated: November 12, 2003

/s/Suzanne Traini

Dated: October 27, 2003

I, Suzanne Traini, have personally read the above Disposition

Agreement. I understand that it is a public document and that by

signing it, I will have agreed to all of the terms and conditions

therein including payment of $1,500.00 to the State Ethics


/s/Suzanne Traini

Dated: October 27, 2003


[1] According to Traini, her intention was to point out that

the board's rescission of the permits would be improper under Title

V. While one's intentions may be a mitigating factor, the

application of s. 19 is triggered by any participation in a

particular matter in which a municipal employee has a financial

interest, regardless of motivation or intention. In this case,

moreover, had the board decided to change its setback policy and

consider rescinding the Property's permits - and it is impossible

to say what they would have done had Traini recused herself - such

a step would have at the very least delayed her acquisition of the

property, always a matter of critical importance in real estate


End Of Decision