October 29, 2008
The State Ethics Commission and Joseph Slattery enter into this Disposition Agreement pursuant to Section 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 December 14, 2006, pursuant to G.L. c. 268B, s. 4(a), the Commission initiated a preliminary inquiry into possible violations of the conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A, by Slattery. The Commission has concluded its inquiry and, on January 16, 2008, found reasonable cause to believe that Slattery violated G.L. c. 268A, sections 20 & 21A.
The Commission and Slattery now agree to the following findings of fact and conclusions of law:
Findings of Fact
1. Slattery has been the paid full-time Southampton Water Department Superintendent since his appointment in or about 1996.
2. Slattery also served as an unpaid elected member of the Southampton Board of Health ("BOH") from in or about 1999 until his resignation on or about January 14, 2008. The Town of Southampton has designated BOH members as special municipal employees for purposes of G.L. c. 268A.
3. In January 2005, the BOH appointed Slattery as the paid BOH health agent. Slattery served as health agent until his resignation on or about January 14, 2008.
4. The BOH health agent is responsible for conducting on site tests and inspections for BOH purposes. The health agent is supervised by the BOH.
5. At no time did the Southampton town meeting approve Slattery's appointment as health agent.
Conclusions of Law
6. As the Water Department Superintendent, Slattery is a municipal employee as that term is defined in G.L. c. 268A, s. 1(g).
7. As a BOH member, Slattery was a special municipal employee as that term is defined in G.L. c. 268A, s.1(n).
8. Section 20 of G.L. c. 268A prohibits a municipal employee from having a financial interest, directly or indirectly, in a contract made by a municipal agency of the same city or town, in which the same city or town is an interested party of which financial interest the employee has knowledge or reason to know.
9. Slattery's agreement with the BOH to serve as paid health agent was a contract made by the BOH, a Southampton municipal agency, in which the Town of Southampton was an interested party and in which Slattery had a direct financial interest.
10. Slattery knew of his financial interest in the contract.
11. There are exemptions from section 20's restrictions, however, Slattery did not comply with the requirements of any of those exemptions.
12. Therefore, by agreeing to serve and by serving as the paid BOH health agent in addition to his other municipal positions, Slattery violated s. 20.
13. Section 21A of G.L. c. 268A provides that a member of a municipal board is not eligible to be appointed to a position under the supervision of that board, unless an appointment has first been approved at an annual town meeting.
14. In January 2005, while Slattery was a member of the BOH, the BOH appointed Slattery to the health agent position.
15. The health agent is under the supervision of the BOH.
16. At no time did the Southampton town meeting approve Slattery's appointment as health agent.
17. Therefore, by accepting the appointment as BOH health agent while serving on the BOH, Slattery violated s. 21A.
In view of the foregoing violations of G.L. c. 268A by Slattery, 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 Slattery:
- that Slattery pay to the Commission the sum of $4,000 as a civil penalty for violating G.L. c. 268A, sections 20 and 21A; and
- that Slattery waive all rights to contest, in this or any other administrative or judicial proceeding to which the Commission is or may be a party, the findings of fact, conclusions of law and terms and conditions contained in this Agreement.