IN THE MATTER OF JOHN J. WILLIS, SR.
Date: November 8, 1984
This Disposition Agreement (Agreement) is entered into between
the State Ethics Commission (Commission) and John J. Willis, Sr.
(Mr. Willis) pursuant to section 11 of the Commission's Enforcement
Procedures. This Agreement constitutes an assented to final
Commission order enforceable in Superior Court pursuant to General
Laws chapter 268B, s.4(d).
On July 17, 1984, the Commission initiated a preliminary inquiry
pursuant to G.L. c. 268B, s.4(d), into possible violations of the
conflict of interest law, G. L. c. 268A, involving Mr. Willis,
former North Andover town counsel. The Commission concluded that
preliminary inquiry and, on August 14, 1984, found reasonable cause
to believe that Mr. Willis had violated c. 268A.
The parties now agree to the following findings of fact and
conclusions of law:
1. Mr. Willis was North Andover town counsel from 1978 until he
resigned, effective on June 30,1984.
2. Mr. Willis is an insurance agent and has operated the
Hand'sel Insurance Agency in North Andover since 1956.
3. Since 1959, Mr. Willis has been a member of the North Andover
Agents Association (Association). The Association is made up of
insurance agents who reside in North Andover and was formed to
advise the town on its insurance and to provide the recommended
coverage. The commissions generated from these policies are
distributed among all the members of the Association whether or not
an individual actually wrote any policies for the town. Any agent
who does place a town policy retains one-third of the commission
earned and contributes the remainder for distribution among the
4. Mr. Willis has received $1500-$2000 annually as his share of
the Association's distributions. In January. 1984, he received
approximately $2000 for town insurance policies in effect in 1983.
5. Mr. Willis has no role in town actions or decisions regarding
insurance as town counsel. He has not written any town insurance
policies at any time during his tenure as town counsel.
6. Section 20 of G.L. c. 268A prohibits a municipal employee
from having a direct or indirect financial interest in a contract
made by the town in which he is employed. The funds distributed to
members of the Association resulted from commissions paid in
connection with the town's insurance policies. Those insurance
policies are contracts within the meaning of that term in s.20.
Therefore, by sharing in the Association's distribution of funds
resulting from town insurance contracts, Mr. Willis had an indirect
financial interest in those contracts in violation of s.20.
Based on the foregoing facts, 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. Willis:
1. that he pay to the Commission the sum of two thousand
dollars ($2000.00) as a civil penalty for violating G.L. c.
268A, s.20, the amount of the penalty reflecting the amount
received by Mr. Willis from the Association in January. 1984;
2. that he waive all rights to contest the fmdings of
fact, conclusions of law and terms and conditions contained
in this Agreement in this or any other related administrative
or judicial proceeding in which the Commission is a party.
End Of Decision