Allegedly, Abington Treasurer/Collector Paul Donlan Violated Conflict of Interest Law
The Massachusetts State Ethics Commission's Enforcement Division issued an Order to Show Cause alleging that Abington Treasurer/Collector Paul Donlan violated the state's conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A. A public hearing will be scheduled within 90 days.
According to the Order to Show Cause, then Treasurer/Collector Thomas Connolly was friends with Donlan and had supported Donlan's run for selectman in 1996 and 2002. When Donlan announced his candidacy for Treasurer/Collector position in 2003, they were no longer friendly. After Donlan defeated Connolly and became Treasurer/Collector, Connolly applied for unemployment benefits. Donlan completed and/or signed forms that allowed Connolly to collect these benefits. According to state law, Connolly was not eligible to collect unemployment benefits because he lost re-election. Donlan also prepared and certified monthly vouchers to reimburse the state for paying Connolly's unemployment benefits.
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) of the conflict law 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 his official duties.
By completing the forms that allowed Connolly, a former friend, to collect unemployment benefits, Donlan allegedly violated G.L. c. 268A, § 23(b)(2) and (b)(3).