For Immediate Release - January 07, 2010

Ethics Commission Alleges Conflict of Interest Law Violations by a Former a Former Plymouth County Sheriff's Department Deputy Sheriff

Mechanic Failed to Pay for a Used Vehicle Obtained from a Vendor

The Enforcement Division of the State Ethics Commission issued an Order to Show Cause ("OTSC") alleging violations of G.L. c. 268A, the conflict of interest law, by former Plymouth County Sheriff's Department ("PCSD") Deputy Sheriff Daniel Rowan ("Rowan"). Rowan was employed by the PCSD as a deputy sheriff/vehicle mechanic from January 2005 until May 2007.

According to the OTSC, as a mechanic, Rowan's duties included ensuring PCSD vehicles were operational and purchasing parts and equipment for the vehicles as needed. Beginning in October 2005, Rowan on several occasions told Municipal Headquarters, Inc. ("MHQ"), a vendor from whom he regularly bought PCSD supplies, that he was interested in purchasing from MHQ a quality, used police vehicle for his personal use. In March 2006, MHQ agreed to sell a used 1999 Ford Crown Victoria ("Crown Victoria") to Rowan for $800. Rowan visited the MHQ facility and took possession of the vehicle without paying the $800. MHQ mailed an invoice to Rowan requesting payment of the $800, but Rowan never paid for the vehicle.

The OTSC stated that in 2006, PCSD began purchasing prisoner transport cages from Adamson Industries ("Adamson"), a vendor that provides vehicle equipment to law enforcement agencies. Prisoner transport cages had been previously supplied by MHQ. According to the OTSC, after Rowan took possession of the Crown Victoria in March 2006, the MHQ official involved in the sale of the vehicle to Rowan asked Rowan about the PCSD purchases from Adamson, and whether PCSD was dissatisfied with MHQ. Rowan indicated that he had some influence over PCSD purchases from Adamson and he would, "see what I could do." Thereafter, from March 23, 2006 through May 2007, Rowan made six purchases of equipment from MHQ totaling over $3,000.

Section 23(b)(2) prohibits a public 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. The OTSC alleges that Rowan violated section 23(b)(2) by using his PCSD position to obtain and not pay for the Crown Victoria.

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, knowing all 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 or fail to act as a result of kinship, rank, position or undue influence of any party or person. The OTSC alleges that Rowan violated section 23(b)(3) by, as a PCSD employee, making equipment purchases from MHQ after obtaining the Crown Victoria. Rowan never filed a disclosure with the PCSD regarding his obtaining the Crown Victoria from MHQ.

The Commission will schedule a public hearing into this matter within 90 days.