For Immediate Release - November 21, 2006

Abington Elected Assessor Paul Zakrzewski Fined $1,000 for Participating in Matters Involving His Partner

The Massachusetts State Ethics Commission issued a Disposition Agreement in which Abington Assessor Paul Zakrzewski admitted violating the state's conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A by participating in matters involving his partner, Roger Woods, also of Abington, and paid a civil penalty of $1,000.

According to the Disposition Agreement, Zakrzewski, an elected Assessor, voted to approve four abatement applications filed by Woods. The abatements resulted in first-year tax savings to Woods of over $5,600. At the time of each of these votes, Zakrzewski and Woods were real estate partners, although they were not partners in the properties that were subjects of the abatement applications and Zakrzewski himself had no interest in any of these applications.

Section 19 of the conflict of interest law generally prohibits a public employee from officially participating in matters in which a partner has a financial interest. By participating in the abatement applications of his partner, Zakrzewski violated section 19.

This case marks the first time that the Commission has fined a public employee for participating in a matter involving a partner's financial interest where the public employee did not also have a financial interest and was not a partner in the matter before the public employee.

"When a matter involves an immediate family member or a business partner, the rules are the same - public employees may not participate in matters that affect their financial interests," said Executive Director Peter Sturges. "This is true even when the public employee has no interest in the matter."