For Immediate Release - November 20, 2006

Former Oak Bluffs Zoning Board of Appeals Member William Sullivan Fined $3,000 for Representing Clients before the Committee

Sullivan also forfeits $600

The Massachusetts State Ethics Commission issued a Disposition Agreement in which former Oak Bluffs Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) member William Sullivan admitted violating the state's conflict of interest law by representing clients on six occasions before the ZBA and agreed to pay a civil penalty of $3,000. Sullivan also agreed to forfeit $600, the compensation he had received for work done in relation to matters involving the ZBA.

According to the Disposition Agreement, Sullivan, a residential designer, violated G.L. c. 268A, § 17(a) and (c) by representing clients for compensation on six special permits before the ZBA. Sullivan's actions included answering questions, presenting his plan designs and advocating the granting of special permits.

Section 17(a) of the conflict law prohibits a municipal employee from receiving compensation from anyone other than the town in relation to particular matters in which the town has an interest. Section 17(c) prohibits a municipal employee from acting as an attorney for anyone other than the town in connection with a particular matter in which the town is a party or has a direct and substantial interest. By acting on behalf of his clients for compensation in matters before the ZBA, Sullivan violated section 17(a) and 17(c).

"A town official owes undivided loyalty to the town," said Executive Director Peter Sturges. "He cannot step out of his official role and move to the other side of the table to represent clients before the board he serves."