Docket No. 387
In the Matter of William Weddleton
May 2, 1990
This Disposition Agreement (Agreement) is entered into between the State Ethics Commission (Commission) and William Weddleton (Weddleton) 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, §4(j).
On August 25, 1988, the Commission initiated, pursuant to G.L. c. 268B, §4(a), a preliminary inquiry into possible violations of the conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A, by Mr. Weddleton. The Commission has concluded that inquiry and, on June 19, 1989, found reasonable cause to believe that Mr. Weddleton violated G.L. c. 268A, §14.
The Commission and Mr. Weddleton now agree to the following facts and conclusions of law:
1. At all times here relevant, Mr. Weddleton was employed as the Assistant Deputy Superintendent of Personnel at the Norfolk County House of Correction. During the same period, Mr. Weddleton also served as an appointed Norfolk County deputy sheriff.
2. Both as the Assistant Deputy Superintendent of Personnel at the Norfolk County House of Correction and as a Norfolk County deputy sheriff, Mr. Weddleton was, at all time here relevant, a county employee as that term is defined in G.L. c. 268A, §1(d).
3. As of May, 1986, Mr. Weddleton was employed full-time at the Norfolk County House of Correction and was an appointed Norfolk County deputy sheriff. In his capacity as a deputy sheriff, Mr. Weddleton on a regular basis served civil process out of the Norfolk County Deputy Sheriffs’ Office in Dedham. On each such occasion, the attorney requesting these services was billed the appropriate fee as listed in G.L. c. 268, §8 by the Deputy Sheriffs’ office, which office then compensated Mr. Weddleton for serving the process.
4. In June, 1986, the Enforcement Division of the Commission terminated an investigation of Mr. Weddleton concerning his compensated service of civil process while also employed at the Norfolk County House of Correction, and Mr. Weddleton agreed to seek an advisory opinion from the Commission concerning his civil process serving activities. Mr. Weddleton sought the Commission’s advisory opinion and, on September 16, 1986, the Commission issued an advisory opinion (EC-COI-86-18) which advised Mr. Weddleton that he was subject to the provisions of G.L. c. 268A, in particular to §14, and could not, therefore, both be employed as an assistant deputy superintendent and also serve process for a fee as a deputy sheriff. Mr. Weddleton did not contest the Commission’s advisory opinion or seek its reconsideration by the Commission.
5. Despite the Commission’s advisory opwon, Mr. Weddleton continued to serve civil process and to receive compensation from the Norfolk County Deputy Sheriffs’ Office for those services. In 1986, Mr. Weddleton was paid $5,408 for serving civil process; in 1987, $5,505; and in 1988, $3,280. In addition, Mr. Weddleton was paid a gasoline allowance of $75 per month by the Norfolk County Deputy Sheriffs’ Office during the period he served civil process. Mr. Weddleton continued serving civil process for compensation through July, 1988, at which time he was contacted by a Commission investigator seeking to confirm information that he was still serving civil process. Upon being contacted by the Commission investigator, Mr. Weddleton ceased serving civil process.
6. Section 14 of G.L. c. 268A prohibits a county employee from knowingly having a direct or indirect financial interest in a contract made by a county agency of the same county, in which the county or a county agency of the same county is an interested party. The Norfolk County Sheriff is a county agency of Norfolk County within the meaning of G.L. c. 268A. §1(c).
7. A contract made by a county agency of Norfolk County in which Norfolk County was an interested party, within the meaning of G.L. c. 268A §14, resulted on each occasion when Mr. Weddleton accepted the opportunity offered to him by Norfolk County (through the agency of the Norfolk County Sheriff) in his appointment as deputy sheriff and served civil process for compensation.
8. By continuing to serve civil process for compensation as an appointed Norfolk County deputy sheriff after having been advised by the Commission that to do so violated G.L. c. 268A, §14, Mr. Weddleton, as Assistant Deputy Superintendent of Personnel at the Norfolk County House of Corrections, knowingly and repeatedly had a financial interest in contracts made by a Norfolk County agency in which Norfolk County or a Norfolk County agency was an interested party, thus repeatedly violating §14.
In view of the foregoing violations of G.L. c. 268A §14, 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 agreed to by Mr. Weddleton:
1. that Mr. Weddleton pay to the Commission the amount of five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) as a civil penalty for violating G.L. c. 268A, §14;
2. that Mr. Weddleton refrain from serving civil process for compensation so long as be is otherwise employed by or under contract with Norfolk County; and
3. that Mr. Weddleton waive all rights to contest the findings of fact, conclusions of law and terms and conditions contained in this agreement in this or in any related administrative or judicial proceeding in which the Commission is or may be a party.