For Immediate Release - May 01, 2007

Commission Authorizes Public Education Letter to Massachusetts Convention Center Authority Employee David Aragona

Aragona used MCCA resources to attend Electricians Board meetings

The Massachusetts State Ethics Commission found reasonable cause to believe that Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) sound technician David Aragona violated the code of conduct section of M.G.L. c. 268A, the state's conflict of interest law, by attending meetings of the Board of State Examiners of Electricians while he was on MCCA time and receiving MCCA compensation. The Commission concluded its review of this matter with the issuance of a Public Education Letter.

According to the letter released today, beginning in 2002, Aragona, who is scheduled to work from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., attended meetings of the Electricians Board during those hours. The Electricians Board meets once a month from approximately 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Aragona did not receive written approval from his appointing authority to attend the Electrician Board meetings on MCCA time.

Section 23(b)(2) of G.L. c. 268A prohibits a municipal employee from using his position to secure an unwarranted privilege of substantial value for himself or others. In 1998, the Commission ruled that a public official would not violate § 23(b)(2) by using state time and resources to perform duties for a private non-profit association provided that the public official's appointing authority approved the arrangement in writing and specified that the following three conditions were met: (1) the duties were in furtherance of the public interest; (2) the duties were interconnected with the public official's duties and (3) the duties were not used toward partisan political ends. The Public Education Letter notes that the same three conditions must be met when a public official is using state time and resources for another public position and emphasizes the importance of written approval.

"A public official who has been asked to devote time to a non-profit or another state agency may do so if it is consistent with the mission of the agency that employs him and he has obtained written approval from his appointing authority," said Executive Director Peter Sturges. "Such approval ensures that agency funds, as appropriated by the legislature, are used properly to support the agency's mission."

The Commission issues a Public Education Letter to provide public notice and education about conduct that the Commission has not previously addressed and has concluded violates the conflict law.