IN THE MATTER OF RITA WALSH-TOMASINI
Date: December 20, 1984
This Disposition Agreement (Agreement) is entered into between
the State Ethics Commission (Commission) and Rita Walsh-Tomasini
(Mrs. Walsh-Tomasini) 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(d).
On September 11,1984, the Commission initiated a preliminary
inquiry into whether Mrs. Walsh-Tomasini, Boston School Committee
president, violated the conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A. The
Commission has concluded the preliminary inquiry and, on November
8, 1984, found reasonable cause to believe that Mrs. Walsh-Tomasini
violated G.L. c. 268A, s.19.
The parties now agree to the following findings of fact and
conclusions of law:
1. Mrs. Walsh-Tomasini is a member and president of the Boston
School Committee. She has been a member since 1982, and president
since January 1984. As such, she was and is a municipal employee
within the meaning of G.L. c. 268A, s.1(g).
2. Pursuant to St. 1964, c. 465, Boston School Committee members
may appoint an administrative staff which is exempt from civil
requirements. Each member is allotted a specific sum of money for
these salaries and exercises sole discretion as to how many persons
will be hired, whom they will be and their salaries.
3. On August 11, 1983, Mrs. Walsh-Tomasini appointed her son,
Mark Tomasini, to her staff in the position of clerk/typist at a
yearly salary of $14,199.96, effective August 15, 1983. At that
time, each member's staff allotment was $40,000.
4. On December 1,1983, Mrs. Walsh-Tomasini requested an advisory
opinion under G.L. c. 268B from the Commission on the question of
whether G.L. c. 268A permits school committee members to hire
members of their immediate family to serve on their personal
staffs. The request did not indicate that Mrs. Walsh-Tomasini had
already hired her son.
5. On December 28, 1983, the Commission issued a confidential
conflict of interest opinion to Mrs. Walsh-Tomasini, advising her
that G.L. c. 268A, s.19 prohibits her from hiring a member of her
immediate family. or otherwise participating as a school committee
member in any particular matter in which a member of her immediate
family has a financial interest. At the time of this opinion. the
Commission, relying on the information provided by Mrs. Walsh-
Tomasini, was still unaware that Mark Tomasini was on her
6. At a Boston School Committee meeting on June 12,1984, Mrs.
Walsh-Tomasini voted for an order (which passed by an 8-5 vote) to
increase the staff allocation for each member from $40,000 to
7. On August 20, 1984, Mrs. Walsh-Tomasini signed a personnel
action report to the school committee personnel office increasing
Mark Tomasini's salary by $1,500 per year, retroactive to January
8. On August 24, 1984, Mrs. Walsh-Tomasini authorized Mark
Tomasini's lay-off, effective September 14,1984.
9. Section 19 of G.L. c. 268A prohibits a municipal official
from participating as such in a particular matter in which a member
of her immediate family has a financial interest. By appointing
and retaining her son on her administrative staff, by voting to
increase the staff salary allotment and by authorizing her son's
salary increase, Mrs. Walsh-Tomasini violated G.L. c. 268A, s.19.
WHEREFORE, 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
conditions agreed to by Mrs. Walsh-Tomasini:
1. that she pay to the Commission the sum of $1,000.00
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 conditions contained in this
Agreement in this or any related administrative or judicial
proceeding in which the Commission is a party.
 G.L c. 268A. s.1(e) defines "immediate family." as "the
employee and his spouse, and their parents, children, brothers and
End Of Decision