For Immediate Release - January 12, 2009

Rowley Board of Water Commissioners Chair Scott Martin Allegedly Violated the Conflict of Interest Law

The Ethics Commission's Enforcement Division, in an Order to Show Cause ("OTSC") alleges that Rowley Board of Water Commissioners Chair Scott Martin violated sections 23(b)(2) and 23(b)(3) of G. L. c. 268A, the state's conflict of interest law, by arranging for Water Department employees to drive Martin on various occasions to accommodate Martin's personal transportation needs after Martin's driver's license was revoked. A public hearing will be scheduled within 90 days.

According to the OTSC, Martin was convicted in 2005 of driving under the influence of alcohol. The Registry of Motor Vehicles revoked Martin's driver's license for at least four years. On numerous occasions between March 2005 and January 2007, Martin arranged for two Water Department employees, using town vehicles, to each drive Martin from his place of private employment to the Water Department offices, and then, on some occasions, from the Water Department to his home, using either town or personal vehicles. On one such occasion, in February 2006, Martin had one of the employees, using a town vehicle, pick Martin up at his private work location, drive him to a drug testing facility in Salisbury, and then to the Water Department offices.

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 which are of substantial value and which are not properly available to similarly situated individuals. By using his official position as the Board chair to arrange to have Water Department employees provide for his personal transportation needs while his driver's license was under revocation, Martin knowingly or with reason to know used his official position to obtain an unwarranted privilege of substantial value not properly available to other similarly situated individuals. In so doing, Martin repeatedly violated § 23(b)(2).

Section 23(b)(3) prohibits a public employee 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 any person can improperly influence or unduly enjoy his favor in the performance of his official duties, or that he is likely to act as a result of kinship, rank, position or undue influence of any party or person. By supervising these two Water Department employees and by signing the payroll records by which the employees received compensation after the employees had provided Martin with transportation services while Martin's license was under revocation, Martin acted in a manner that would cause a reasonable person, having knowledge of the relevant circumstances, to conclude that the employees could improperly influence or unduly enjoy Martin's favor in the performance of his official duties, or that Martin was likely to act or fail to act as a result of rank, position or undue influence of the employees.