For Immediate Release - September 11, 2008

Former Waltham Police Chief Edward Drew Fined $1000

The Ethics Commission fined former Waltham Police Chief Edward Drew $1000 for violating the state conflict of interest law by involving himself in an internal police department selection process to appoint three background investigators while his daughter, Officer Jennifer Vadnais, was an applicant for one of the positions.

According to the Disposition Agreement, the selection process took place in the fall of 2005 under the direction of Deputy Police Chief Paul Juliano. Officer Vadnais was not chosen for any of the three positions. On November 23, 2005, once the applicants chosen for the three positions were notified that they had been selected, Drew contacted Juliano to express concerns about the selection process. Drew questioned why applicants not selected, including his daughter, were told they had insufficient seniority, while other officers with the same seniority had been solicited to apply for the positions. Drew also questioned why an officer solicited to apply for a position received an assurance that the officer would be selected, even though the officer had not submitted an application. Drew also pointed out to Juliano that some officers who were solicited to apply for the positions had not submitted significant reports or been involved in noteworthy investigations, whereas some of the officers not selected had such experience.

The Disposition Agreement notes that Drew did not direct Juliano to take any specific action regarding the background investigator appointments, but that Juliano told Drew at the end of their conversation that he planned to eliminate one of the positions and therefore rescind one of the appointments.

Section 23(b)(2) of G.L. c. 268A prohibits a municipal employee from knowingly, or with reason to know, using or attempting to use his official position to secure for himself or others unwarranted privileges or exemptions of substantial value not properly available to similarly situated individuals. By contacting the deputy police chief to express concerns about the selection process in which Drew's daughter was an applicant, Drew attempted to use his official position to secure a benefit of substantial value for his daughter. That benefit was unwarranted because the conversation with the deputy police chief could have had the effect of having the deputy police chief select the chief's daughter for a position even though the selection decisions had already been made. Therefore, according to the Disposition Agreement, Drew violated §23(b)(2).

"While members of the same family can work in the same department without violating the conflict of interest law, public employees must steer clear of matters involving their immediate family members, even if they feel that the family member has been treated unfairly," stated Commission Executive Director Karen L. Nober.