MINUTES OF THE STATE ETHICS COMMISSION MEETING
October 14, 2011
One Ashburton Place, Room 619
Boston, MA  02108

 

PUBLIC SESSION

 

MEETING CONVENED

 

Chairman Charles B. Swartwood, III called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m.  Also in attendance were Commissioners David L. Veator, Paula Finley Mangum and Patrick J. King.  Commissioner Martin F. Murphy was absent.

 

APPROVAL OF MEETING MINUTES

 

On the motion of Commissioner Mangum, seconded by Commissioner Veator, the Commission voted 3-0 to waive the reading and to approve the public session and executive session minutes, for the September 16, 2011 meeting, with Commissioner King abstaining as he was not present at that meeting.

 

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT

 

Personnel Update

 

Executive Director Karen L. Nober informed the Commission that more than 70 applications have been received for the part-time Receptionist position.  Ms. Nober reported that nine interviews have taken place. Three finalists will be invited back for second interviews.  Ms. Nober noted that she anticipates filling the position in the near future.  Ms. Nober thanked Administrative Assistants Theresa Meli Omodei, Mary Murphy and Carolyn Teehan for covering the reception desk while Receptionist Nubia Villarroel is on leave.

 

Employment Application

 

Ms. Nober reported that the Commission’s employment application has been revised to reflect changes in the CORI law and the conflict of interest law.   The application now includes a section for applicants to disclose the names of certain family members who are state employees, pursuant to G.L. c. 268A, § 6B.  This form will be available on the Commission’s website to assist other state agencies in complying with the new disclosure requirements under § 6B.

 

Budget Update

 

Ms. Nober stated that the Commission’s spending plan for FY 12 has been submitted to the Executive Office for Administration and Finance (A&F).  A maintenance budget for FY 13 must be submitted to A&F by October 24, 2011.

 

Expiration of Commissioner Veator’s Term

 

Ms. Nober informed the Commission that Commissioner Veator’s term expired on October 11, 2011, and he is now in holdover status.  Ms. Nober has spoken with the Governor’s Office and they informed her that they are in the process of selecting a candidate.  

 

Next Meeting

 

Ms. Nober stated that the next Commission meeting is scheduled for Friday, November 18, 2011 at 9:00 a.m.  

 

PUBLIC EDUCATION DIVISION MATTERS

 

The Commission meeting materials included a memorandum from Public Education and Communications Division Chief David Giannotti reporting on public education division activities for September 2011. 

 

Chairman Swartwood thanked General Counsel Deirdre Roney; Deputy Legal Division Chief David Wilson; Senior Investigator Katherine Gallant; and Deputy Legal Division Chief/SFI Lauren Duca for handling public education seminars.

 

LEGAL DIVISION MATTERS

 

Legal Division Metrics

 

Ms. Roney presented the Legal Division’s metrics for September 2011.  The Commission had no questions.

 

Adjudicatory Matters

 

Ms. Roney presented the calendar of hearing dates and pre-hearing conferences in pending Commission adjudicatory proceedings.  The Commission had no questions.  Ms. Roney requested that the Commission appoint hearing officers in two new adjudicatory matters.  After discussion by the Commission, Chairman Swartwood was designated the hearing officer in In Re Richard Bretschneider and In Re David Landy.

 

Litigation Matters: Litigation Status Update

 

Ms. Roney provided an update on the status of pending litigation.

 

Theresa Lord Piatelli v. SEC, SUCV2010-02123-B.  Chapter 30A appeal from the Commission’s 4/26/10 decision finding that Piatelli violated §§ 17 and 23(b)(2).  Piatelli’s motion for judgment on the pleadings was argued on September 14, 2011 before Judge Giles, who reserved decision. 

 

General Counsel Roney’s Trip to Rostov-on-Don, Russia

 

Ms. Roney reported that from September 17-26, 2011, she was part of an American delegation visiting Rostov-on-Don, Russia, as part of a project funded by the U.S. State Department to encourage development of the rule of law in Russia.  She was astonished and impressed by how much work has been done in Rostov-on-Don to create a functioning legal system.  Ms. Roney has been asked by SJC Press Officer, Joan Kenney, to work on an article for Lawyers Weekly about the trip with her.  Ms. Roney also plans to make a presentation about the trip for the Commission staff. 

 

ENFORCEMENT DIVISION MATTERS

 

Proposed Amendment of Deferral Policy

 

Enforcement Division Chief Stephen P. Fauteux discussed his memorandum recommending various amendments to the Commission’s policy regarding deferring to other agency action as to G.L. c. 268A violations.  Mr. Fauteux’s recommendations include giving the Enforcement Division Chief the discretion to place complaints and cases on hold on his own initiative.  In the event that the Enforcement Division Chief puts an Enforcement Division investigation on hold or denies a request to do so, he will be required to bring that decision to the Commission’s attention at the next meeting.  In addition, the new policy will be expanded to apply to civil agency investigations in addition to criminal agency investigations.  Under the new policy, the Enforcement Division will develop an investigative plan ready to be implemented should there be a need to resume an investigation that had previously been placed on hold, and the Enforcement Division Chief will submit reports on a quarterly basis with respect to cases that have been placed on hold.  On the motion of Commissioner King, seconded by Commissioner Mangum, the Commission voted 4-0 to adopt and approve the Deferral Policy described in the October 6, 2011 memorandum, subject to changing the word “inform” on page two, line three to the word “guide.”   

 

EXECUTIVE SESSION

 

At 9:14 a.m., on the motion of Chairman Swartwood, seconded by Commissioner Veator, the Commission voted 4-0 to enter into executive session to discuss matters subject to the provisions of G.L. c. 30A, § 21, subparagraph (a)(7) and G.L. c. 268B, §§ 3 & 4.  Chairman Swartwood stated that these matters will include preliminary inquiry recommendations and reports, summons authorization requests, closing memoranda, disposition agreements, public and private education letters and advisory opinions. 

 

VOTE:            Chairman Swartwood                           yes      

                        Commissioner Veator                           yes      

                        Commissioner King                              yes      

                        Commissioner Mangum                       yes      
 

Chairman Swartwood stated that the Commission will reconvene in public session after the executive session.

 

PUBLIC SESSION

 

At 10:27 a.m., the Commission reconvened in public session to discuss the work performance of the Executive Director for purposes of preparing her performance evaluation.  Present were Chairman Swartwood, Commissioner Veator, Commissioner King, and Commissioner Mangum.  Commissioner Murphy was absent.  General Counsel Deirdre Roney was also present.

 

Executive Director Performance Evaluation

 

Commissioner Mangum stated that she and Commissioner Veator had interviewed the division chiefs to get their comments concerning the Executive Director’s performance and leadership.  The comments they received were favorable with respect to Ms. Nober’s organizational and management skills.  The Commissioners were pleased with her success with respect to the budget process.  As to the changes in personnel policies, Commissioner Mangum commented that while the staff was not overjoyed with the new policies, the Commission needed such policies.

Commissioner Veator stated that he agreed with Commissioner Mangum’s comments, and that, based on his past experience at the Commission, staff were not afraid to speak up if they had complaints, so he believed that the Commissioners would know if staff were unhappy.  He stated that in his opinion the Commission is a much cleaner operation under Ms. Nober.

Chairman Swartwood stated that his observations were consistent with what had been said already, and Commissioner King agreed.

 

EXECUTIVE SESSION

 

At 10:40 a.m., on the motion of Chairman Swartwood, seconded by Commissioner King the Commission voted 4-0 to re-enter into executive session to discuss matters subject to the provisions of G.L. c. 30A, § 21, subparagraph (a)(7) and G.L. c. 4, § 7, Clause Twenty-Sixth, exemption (c) and G.L. c. 66, § 10.  Chairman Swartwood stated that these matters will include the preparation of the Executive Director’s performance evaluation based upon the public session discussion.   

 

VOTE:            Chairman Swartwood                           yes      

                        Commissioner Veator                           yes      

                        Commissioner King                              yes      

                        Commissioner Mangum                      yes      
 

Chairman Swartwood stated that the Commission will not reconvene in public session after the executive session. 

 

LIST OF DOCUMENTS USED FOR THIS MEETING

 

  1. Meeting Agenda Memorandum dated October 7, 2011, from General Counsel, Deirdre Roney, to Commission and Executive Director, Karen L. Nober.
  1. Minutes of the State Ethics Commission Meeting for September 16, 2011 Public Session and Executive Session.
  1. Memorandum dated October 7, 2011, from Public Education and Communications Division Chief, David Giannotti, to the Commission regarding the Public Education and Communications Division report.
  1. Memorandum dated October 6, 2011, from Ms. Roney to the Commission setting forth Legal Division matters for meeting.
  1. Calendar of Hearing Dates and Pre-Hearing Conferences in pending Commission adjudicatory proceedings.
  1. Memorandum dated October 6, 2011, from Enforcement Division Chief Stephen P. Fauteux to the Commission regarding the Commission’s Deferral Policy with attachments.

 

Respectfully submitted,


Norah K. Mallam
Special Counsel, Public Education & Communications Division