For Immediate Release - March 22, 2006

Mendon-Upton Regional School District Employee David M. Lunny Fined $2,500

For Soliciting Personal Drafting Services from Contractors-Lunny pays $2,000 civil penalty, $500 forfeiture

The Massachusetts State Ethics Commission fined Mendon-Upton Regional School District employee David M. Lunny $2,500 for violating the state's conflict of interest law, M.G.L. c. 268A, by improperly soliciting services from employees of Mount Vernon Group, a private architectural firm, which served as the architect for the construction of the Memorial Elementary School in Upton. Lunny paid a $2,000 civil penalty and a $500 civil forfeiture, reflecting the value of the drafting services he received.

According to the Disposition Agreement, Lunny was hired by the school district in September 2002 as an owner's representative of the school project, responsible for reporting back to the school building committee on the progress of the project, including assessing how the architect was performing its responsibilities. While at the job site, Lunny asked Greg McIntosh, a principal of Mount Vernon Group, to review documents for a proposed garage/office Lunny planned to build at his house and to produce computer-aided drawings of the proposed structure. McIntosh worked occasionally on Lunny's project until March 2003 when he told Lunny he had no more time to spend on it. Mount Vernon Group employee Tim Sampson, the project manager, agreed to take over the project as a favor to McIntosh but told Lunny he expected to be paid for his work. In April 2003, Sampson gave Lunny the work he had produced. Sampson reminded Lunny that Lunny owed him money. Lunny never paid Sampson or McIntosh for the work they had done, which they estimated was worth $500.

Section 23(b)(2) of the conflict law prohibits a public employee from using or attempting to use his position to secure for himself or others an unwarranted privilege of substantial value not properly available to similarly situated individuals. By receiving $500 in free drafting services, Lunny used his owner's representative position to get an unwarranted privilege.

"Public officials who are hired to represent the public's interests may not use the inherently coercive authority they have as a result of their public position to get free home improvement services from those that they oversee," said Executive Director Peter Sturges.