Former Plymouth Development Corporation Board of Directors Member Jeffrey Fischer Fined $2,000 for Violating the Conflict of Interest Law
Board Member Failed to Wait Until He Had Been Off of the Board for 30 Days Before He Was Appointed to a Position Under the Supervision of the Board
The State Ethics Commission approved a Disposition Agreement ("Agreement") in which former Plymouth Development Corporation board of directors ("PDC") member Jeffrey Fischer ("Fischer") admitted to violating G.L. c. 268A, the conflict of interest law. Pursuant to the Agreement, Fischer paid a $2,000 civil penalty.
According to the Agreement, in May 2007 the PDC voted not to renew a contract with a vendor to manage the town's parking program, and also to investigate whether it could hire a PDC board member to manage the parking program. In June 2007, PDC legal counsel sought an opinion from the Ethics Commission as to whether the PDC could appoint a board member to a temporary position under the supervision of the PDC. The Ethics Commission advised that, under section 21A of the conflict of interest law, a board member was ineligible for such an appointment until at least 30 days after the board member had resigned from the PDC. Fischer resigned from the PDC on June 27, 2007. The PDC entered into a written agreement to appoint Fischer as the parking manager of the parking program from July 1, 2007, until September 30, 2007, and pay him a total amount of $30,000 for his services, payable in monthly installments of $10,000. At some point after July 1, 2007, Fischer crossed out the July 1, 2007 date in the interim agreement, and wrote in August 1, 2007. Fischer served as the interim parking manager from July 1, 2007 until September 30, 2007. He was paid $30,000 for serving as interim parking manager.
Section 21A of the conflict of interest law prohibits a former member of a board from being eligible for appointment by such board to any position under the board's supervision until at least 30 days after the termination of his service as a board member. Fischer did not resign from the PDC board until June 27, 2007, and, therefore, he was ineligible to be appointed the interim parking manager until July 27, 2007, at the earliest. By serving as interim parking manager beginning on July 1, 2007, Fischer violated section 21A.
"The conflict of interest law prohibits municipal board members from being appointed by their board to positions supervised by their own board," stated Commission Executive Director Karen L. Nober. "The law prescribes a 30 day cooling off period to prevent any self-dealing in such situations as well as avoid any impression of an inside track, which is likely to arise in a situation where board members are appointing one of their own."Disposition Agreement