For Immediate Release - May 02, 2007

Commission Alleges Former Lowell Regional Water Utility Executive Director Edmund F. Tarmey Violated Conflict of Interest Law

The Massachusetts State Ethics Commission's Enforcement Division issued an Order to Show Cause alleging that former Lowell Regional Water Utility Executive Director Edmund F. Tarmey violated the state's conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A, by awarding contracts to purchase furniture to Allied Office Products (Allied), a company that employed his brother Leonard as a commissioned sales person. A public hearing will be scheduled within 90 days.

According to the Order to Show Cause, in 2001 Allied sold office furniture to the Water Utility on two occasions. Tarmey participated in the bid process by developing the Requests for Quotes and selecting the winning bids. The first contract was for $15,660 and the second was for $10,410; both were for an office upgrade project. Allied was the lowest bidder both times. Allegedly, Tarmey allowed Allied to resubmit bids after the initial bids were reviewed.

Section 19 of the conflict of interest law prohibits a municipal employee from officially participating in matters in which to his knowledge an immediate family member has a financial interest. By participating in the bids, Tarmey allegedly violated § 19. 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. Section 23(b)(3) prohibits a public official from knowingly or with reason to know acting in a manner which would cause a reasonable person, having knowledge of the relevant circumstances, to conclude that anyone can improperly influence or unduly enjoy the public employee's favor in the performance of her official duties. By deviating from the standard procedure and allowing Allied to resubmit lower bids after the initial bids were received, Tarmey violated these sections of the law.