MINUTES OF THE STATE ETHICS COMMISSION MEETING
March 16, 2012
One Ashburton Place, Room 619
Boston, MA 02108
Chairman Charles B. Swartwood, III called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m. Also in attendance were Commissioners Patrick J. King, Paula Finley Mangum, Martin F. Murphy and William J. Trach.
APPROVAL OF MEETING MINUTES
On the motion of Commissioner Murphy, seconded by Commissioner King, the Commission voted 5-0 to waive the reading and to approve the public session and executive session minutes of the February 17, 2012 meeting.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S REPORT
Executive Director Karen L. Nober stated that in light of the upcoming retirement of SFI Financial Analyst David Mesquita, the position was posted and 70 applications were received. The applications will be reviewed, and if a sufficient number of qualified candidates are not in the candidate pool, we will look to reopen the application period and expand advertising for the position.
Ms. Nober said that she and CFO Michael Memmolo attended a Joint Committee on Ways and Means budget hearing in Springfield on February 28, 2012, and Ms. Nober testified on behalf of the Commission. Ms. Nober said she requested a maintenance budget, which would call for a $45,000 increase over the Commission’s FY12 budget to cover collective bargaining increases. Committee members asked what control the Commission had over collective bargaining costs, and were told we had none. We have since learned that the Governor’s proposed budget contains a couple of line items to fund collective bargaining increases, and we are discussing with Administration and Finance staff how these line items are intended to work.
Ms. Nober said that she also requested that the Joint Committee consider additional funding for the Public Education and Communications Division. The House budget is usually issued in April.
SFI Electronic Filing Application
Ms. Nober stated that technical issues involving the SFI Electronic Filing application are affecting the rollover from 2010 to 2011. The vendor has been contacted and Legal Division Deputy Chief/SFI Lauren Duca, IT Specialist/Investigator Tony Webb and Mr. Mesquita have been working non-stop on the issue. Ms. Duca, Mr. Webb and General Counsel Deirdre Roney worked on Sunday to enable the rollover to occur as it should. The issue should be resolved shortly. Once the rollover is successfully completed, the 2011 SFI filing period will begin.
Enforcement Committee Meeting
Ms. Nober said that the Enforcement Committee meeting scheduled for today has been canceled and will be rescheduled for April.
Commissioner Veator Gathering
Ms. Nober said that Commissioners and staff are invited to a gathering for former Commissioner Veator and provided scheduling details.
Ms. Nober stated that the next Commission meeting is scheduled for Friday, April 20, 2012, at 9:00 a.m.
PUBLIC EDUCATION DIVISION MATTERS
Public Education and Communications Division Chief David Giannotti presented his monthly report of public education division activities for February 2012. Mr. Giannotti also stated that development of the municipal online program is almost complete. There is one remaining deliverable, and then the program will be tested.
LEGAL DIVISION MATTERS
Presiding Officer Assignment
General Counsel Deirdre Roney requested that the Commission assign a hearing officer for In Re Cheryl Jacques. After discussion by the Commission, Commissioner Trach was assigned as the hearing officer.
Ms. Roney stated that the SJC is sponsoring a program for visiting judges from Russia next month. Ms. Roney will present information on the conflict law at the SJC on April 23, 2012 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. When Ms. Roney visited Rostov, Russia last year, judges there expressed an interest in judicial ethics and conflict of interest rules for all public employees. Ms. Roney invited Commissioners to participate in the program. Commissioner King expressed an interest in participating in the program.
Disclosures by Commission Members and Staff
Legal Division Deputy Chief David Wilson presented a memorandum concerning disclosures under c. 268A made by Commissioners and staff. After discussion by the Commission, the Commission agreed by consensus with the recommendations detailed in the memo.
Proposed Revisions to Regulations
Ms. Roney stated that no public comment has been received on proposed revisions to the regulations. Ms. Roney will present the revised regulations, with any comments received by the end of the comment period, at the April Commission meeting.
Legal Division Metrics
General Counsel and Legal Division Chief Deirdre Roney presented the Legal Division’s metrics for February 2012 and for the first half of FY 2012. The Commission had no questions.
Ms. Roney presented the calendar of hearing dates and pre-hearing conferences in pending Commission adjudicatory proceedings. The Commission had no questions.
Ms. Roney reported on the status of a pending litigation matter, Theresa Lord Piatelli v. SEC, SUCV2010-02123-B. Ms. Piatelli has filed a notice of appeal from Judge Giles’ October 19, 2011 Decision and Order upholding the Commission’s decision. The Appeals Court has requested that the Superior Court assemble the record.
At 9:23 a.m., on the motion of Chairman Swartwood, seconded by Commissioner Trach, the Commission voted 5-0 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 and 4. Chairman Swartwood stated that these matters will include deferred cases, 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 King yes
Commissioner Mangum yes
Commissioner Murphy yes
Commissioner Trach yes
Chairman Swartwood stated that the Commission would not reconvene in public session after the executive session.
LIST OF DOCUMENTS USED FOR THIS MEETING
- Meeting Agenda Memorandum, dated March 9, 2012, from Executive Director Karen L. Nober.
- Minutes of the State Ethics Commission Meeting of February 17, 2012, Public Session and Executive Session.
- Memorandum dated March 9, 2012, from Public Education and Communications Division Chief David Giannotti reviewing Public Education and Communications Division activities for February 2012.
- Memorandum dated March 8, 2012, from General Counsel Deirdre Roney to the Commission setting forth Legal Division matters for meeting.
- Memorandum dated March 8, 2012 from Legal Division Deputy Chief David Wilson concerning disclosures under c.268A by Commissioners and staff.
- Memorandum dated March 8, 2012 from General Counsel Deirdre Roney concerning the regulatory process for amended Commission regulations.
- Calendar of Hearing Dates and Pre-Hearing Conferences in pending Commission adjudicatory proceedings.
Public Education and Communications Division Chief